I staggered outside with that blank look on my face.
“You found another one, didn’t you?” Cool-guy asked, turning the salmon he was grilling.
I looked at him, numbly.
“COOL! What was this one named?”
Named? Did they have names? I sank into the chair.
“Let’s see.” He said, turning the salmon over. “Think you named the last one, AAAAHHHHHH! Was this the same one, or a different one?”
Slowly, very slowly I registered what he was saying. “You mean. You didn’t hear my screams?”
“Nope. Missed it. Why don’t you go back down to the basement and give me another chance?”
I gave him a hard stare.
“Holly. Don’t give up on me. I’ll listen for your screams this time. Go on. Go back down there.”
I leaned back in the chair. “You mean. I could get carried away by a man-eating-woman-eating Monster Mouse and you’d never hear a thing? You wouldn’t even know I was gone.”
“Honey. Of course I would know, eventually. When the brown rice rotted I’d know for SURE you were gone.”
I lifted my legs up onto the chair and looked around for more mice. “You REALLY didn’t hear me?”
He laughed. “No. Come on.” He reached for my hand. “Let’s go down to the basement right now. You can show me where he went.”
Yeah. No. The last time I showed him where the mouse had run, we’d discovered a large stash of dog food in an old pair of his shoes. I know. That may not have been a big deal for someone else, but he doesn’t have a dog. And. He doesn’t have houseguests with dogs either. Which means the mouse must have been stealing dog food from a neighbor’s house and carrying it over hill and dale to hide it in that shoe.
I think that’d be pretty hard to explain to the neighbors. How their dog food ended up in his basement. But. Cool-guy thinks it’s great and refuses to kill that mouse, hoping it might graduate to lifting more interesting items from his neighbors.
“He escaped, again.” I tattled. “He squeezed out a little hole next to the door. That must be how they’re getting in.”
“Honey! You scared him out? That’s why I love you so much. You’re better than a cat.” He gave me a big, smacking kiss on the mouth.
Why this man is willing to co-exist with mice, I’ll never understand. The only place that’s off limits to rodents in his house is the kitchen where he sets one trap. It’s enough to keep me from eating for a whole week if and when the trap does its job.
“Did you have a seizure?” He asked.
I stared at him, open mouthed. Good? For me to have a seizure? Good? GOOD?
He laughed. “These mice are really medicine testers. I’m convinced that your neurologist has sprinkled them throughout my house to test the effects of the Topamax. To see if it’s working.
I walked into the house and slumped on the couch.
He followed me inside. “What was your visual hallucination, honey. During the seizure. What was it?”
I ignored him. He thinks it’s good that I have seizures? GOOD?
“A mouse?” He laughed. “Did you see a mouse then have a seizure with a mouse? That would make two mice.” He laughed harder.
I waited a moment. “A train.”
“A “choo-choo” train?” He asked.
“Did the mouse hop on the train? Is that how he got out of the house? He hopped on the Mouse Train?” He laughed hysterically, holding his chest and rocking back and forth on the couch. “That’s hysterical. A Mouse Train.”
I sat up. “Is that why you won’t get rid of the mice? Because you’re so entertained by their seizure starting techniques?”
“No, honey.” He said. “No. Not at all.” He tried to stop his laughter. “But you have to admit. It’s a good thing that I’m not the only one scaring you into seizures… or you might want to get rid of me too…”
“You know…” I said, laying down on the couch. “If I ditched you, I’d get rid of two pests with one stone.”
He lost the laughter. “Two pests?”
“The mice and YOU.”
“Oh.” He said, nodding his head. “I was afraid you’d get rid of the mice and the mouse train.”
I stared at him. Open mouthed. What? Making fun of the seizure? What? So this WAS entertainment for him…
“I know.” He giggled. “That’s what I was worried about too. How will the mouse get out of the house if you get rid of his train?” He collapsed into laughter, rolling back and forth while little tears welled up in his eyes.
As for me… I’m tough. I can take it. And besides… I have power too.
aI decided not to mention the salmon that that he had clearly forgotten. It had certainly burned to a crisp on the grill by now. There is nothing that will dampen a chef’s mood more than burning an expensive slab of fish.