Feb 5, 2005

Scenes of the Surreal

There's no real way to preface this one, I'm just going to have to jump right in. If you're a real soft heart, or don't like the water you might want to gird yourself.

Woke up this morning all full of glee, because today is the day I get to play spotter for my daughter's 4-H float in the Kid's Mardi Gras parade downtown. I've got my purple green and gold clothes all laid out, my top hat dusted, and boxes and boxes of throws for both of us. Eager for the morning's festivities, I crawled out of bed, got the heat turned on, washed my face and brushed my teeth, and came in here to see what was happening in the world. Checked a few emails, did a little blog surfing, and my bowels stirred.

Got up, went to the master bath, and not wanting to disturb my still-sleeping wife and daughter across the hall, I closed the door.

Now ordinarily this is no big deal, but sometimes in the morning Egan, the baby cat of the family, wants to be in the room when the shower is going, so I was sort of ready for a yowling or feet at the door or something to that effect, since the door was closed and the bathroom was occupied.

I didn't get it, as such.

Sitting down, relaxing, enjoying the bite of the cold temp and the promise of heat coming soon, I hear a tiny noise at the door. It was the noise of a cat at play. Not unusual in a household of 5 felines. I heard some soft scuffles, a few quiet scrapes, the sussurus of fur across the door, just the usual noise a cat makes when playing with one of the innumerable toys in the house. I was ready for a bump when someone rolled over, or a tail to come thru the slot under the door, or even a yowl as someone got in the way of playing claws.

I was NOT ready to see a three-inch long dead house mouse shoot under the door sideways and come to rest on the bathmat.

Seeing this strange gray inert thing stumped me. What was I to do? I couldn't stop nature, the mouse definitely wasn't showing signs of life, and so I thought I'd just finish what I had started and then, somehow, deal with this little grey thanopic package. Little did I know that the cats had other plans.

Staring at this snuffed-out, fur-covered piece of necros resting comfortably (?) on my bathroom floor, a familiar tortoise-shell foot came furtively creeping under the crack of the door. At first rather hesitant, it soon gained confidence and began actively searching for it's missing dearly departed (in more ways than one) prize.

*pat pat grope claw pat grope pat*

I had an insane desire to shove the ex-rodent into her clutches, but honestly I was having too much ghoulish fun watching her search for it. After what seemed like ten minutes of groping and patting she encountered it with an almost comical double-take. Brushing it with one toe she continued on for a moment searching, then returned almost immediately to it, hooked it carefully, then began swatting and patting it back toward the egress. She got it close to the slot, and with both paws suddenly thrust under the door Babel seized it and whipped it away back into the bedroom and her waiting clutches. Only to shove it back under about a foot further along.

It was at this point that I was starting to feel a shade queasy.

She continued batting and moving it for another few minutes, then for some inexplicable reason, she left. Simply left. Prize forgotten, no other cat to come claim it, just abandoned. Abandoned like a...well, like a dead mouse in the bathroom.

Flushing it, I'll freely admit, was the ickiest part. Deciding that however nice it would be to the cats to let them keep it and disposing of it anyway was easy. Having to pick it up was no big deal. The thing that got me was this--somehow hydrodynamics decided that this spiritless, torpid rodentia vulgaris needed to move with the water as if it were swimming with the current. That is to say head-first and tail out behind like a thin banner, so it sort of breast stroked around and around at the top of the swirling water looking for all the world like a tiny extinct Jacques Costeau wearing a mouse-skin diving suit until there was no water left for it to paddle in, so it performed a lovely mortified half-gainer and went down the pipes.

I'm scarred for life.

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