Lying in bed during one of those precious moments of in between, not asleep but not quite fully awake, I sensed a movement next to the bed. As I began to get my bearings, I realized that it was none other than Jesse the Cat. At 5:45 in the morning. Full-on psycho mode, bounding around our room.
Like most cats, our furry feline companion has a knack for doing what he wants, when he wants. The little jerk has zero consideration for the other family members. He sleeps on my head, meows loudly until his food and water dishes are topped off, will barf on the edge of the rug as opposed to the hardwood floor. He meows to be let outside, but when you open the door for him, he then contemplates whether or not he wants to go out. He shits in my garden boxes. Our cat is a grade ‘A’ asshole.
Although, in the midst of the pounces and crashes… a squeak. I flipped on the bedside lamp. Illuminated by the soft glow stood Jesse the Cat, batting a mouse around our bedroom.
“Mouse!” I screamed, propelling Martin out of bed as fast as I could jump on top of it. Jesse snatched the mouse up and sauntered to the corner of the room, the tiny body hanging limply from his jaws.
Now let me tell you a thing or two about the mouse population in our home. There is none. For the past eight years, we have never had a mouse cross the threshold. Until today, that is. The garage? Completely different story. Jesse has presented numerous dead mice over the years. Early one morning, Martin opened the door to the garage, only to find Jesse sitting there, a mouse in his mouth and a bored look on his face. Almost as if he had been waiting for Martin all night, he threw the dead rodent at his feet, turned heel and stalked off. Martin said he could almost hear Jesse’s thoughts, “stupid hoo-man, here is your mouse”.
But this morning, we quickly realized that Jesse the Cat wasn’t trying to kill anything. The visitor to our home was a toy. Jesse dropped the mouse, which took off running, right before he snatched it up again. And he did this over and over and over.
I admit, I was reduced to nothing more than the stereotypical “woman standing on top of the chair”. It was purely instinctual, and something that I will have to unpack at a later time. I’m not scared of mice, per say. I think they are cute, in a burrowing, dirty, disease-ridden sort of way. It was almost Pavlovian: the cat dropped the mouse and I involuntarily screamed. Still, I pleaded with Mr. Cat to end this game, kill the mouse, take it outside, anything to get the creature out of my bedroom.
Jesse ignored me. In response, Martin started towards the cat, his intention to disarm the situation, challenge the cat, corral the mouse, anything to get his wife to shut up. Apparently startled by Martin’s advances, Jesse again dropped the mouse but this time didn’t snatch it back up again.
The little mouse took off, zig-zagging through our room, Jesse in hot pursuit. It ran under the bed, Jesse following closely behind. Again, stereotypical, the banging of “cat versus mouse” reverberated through the bedframe. Finally, the mouse emerged from under the bed and scurried out the bedroom door…
… At the exact moment that our nine-year old, who had been awoken by the commotion, meandered into our room. Her little eyes were barely open. She could not see her little sleepy legs drag her little sleepy feet in the direct path of the mouse.
The mouse flew forward into the path of Kenzie’s other foot.
At this point, our daughter became aware that she kicked a mouse, not once but twice!
“It touched my foot!!” Kenzie screamed, joining me on top of the bed. We wailed in unison, Mackenzie and I clutching each other in sheer agony. Martin doubled over in laughter, the mouse chase abandoned.
“She punted the mouse! Twice!” Martin got out, in between bouts of laughter.
The little mouse, most likely cursing itself for stepping foot into our house at this point, ran into the hallway bathroom. Wiping tears from his eyes, Martin resumed the task at hand and flipped on the light. Two beady black eyes peered at him from around the base of the toilet. Martin grabbed Jesse, threw him into the bathroom, and shut the door.
I wish I had a happy ending to this story. Or really, any ending. The little mouse disappeared without a trace. There was no crime scene, no body, only speculation.
Jesse has been sauntering around the house all day, a smug look plastered on his face. Did he vanquish the mouse after it begged and pleaded for his life? Did he <gulp> kill and eat the mouse? Did the little mouse outsmart our pompous Jesse?
I guess only time will tell.
<picture courtesy of BCCL, Tom and Jerry Animated >