SOLC Day 15: What the heck was that!?

March 2022 SOLC–Day 15
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A loud squawk reverberated through the house.

“What was that!?” Lydia asked from the kitchen.

“I don’t know! It sounded like a chicken,” I said, more than slightly alarmed, “but it came from the living room.”

“Was it the cats?” Kurt asked.

Lydia, the intrepid sort, walked through on her way to investigate. I followed at a safe distance behind.

We flipped the lights on in the living room. We looked around. There, in the middle of the rug was Squirrel, one of our four household cats. 

“Squirrel, was that you?” Lydia asked. We both looked at her suspiciously.

Then, as our eyes adjusted to the light, we both added, “Oh….”

There, in the middle of the the rug in front of Squirrel, was a little mouse body.

I bent over to scoop up Squirrel. “Is it still alive?”

We peered at the mouse.

“I think it’s dead,” I said, while Lydia simultaneously responded, “I’m not sure.” 

“Could a mouse have possibly made that large of a noise?” I asked, looking at the mouse with concern.

“I don’t think so,” Lydia answered doubtfully.

We looked at the mouse.

We looked at the cat.

Neither gave anything away.

“Well, do you want to keep the cats away or deal with the mouse?” I finally asked, nudging another curious cat away from the carpet with my foot while struggling to hold a squirming Squirrel.

“I’ll deal with the mouse,” Lydia decided and went off to the kitchen.

A moment or two passed. Another cat slunk around the edges of the room.

“Lydia, what’s taking so long?” I yelled.

“I’m trying to figure out something to put it in.”

“Just grab the broom and a dustbin,” I called back, “It’s getting tough to keep the cats away.”

“But I’m not sure it’s dead,” she said, walking in the room with a small Tupperware container. “I needed something to slip under it, too.” She held a stiff piece of paper in her other hand.

We both bent down to look more closely at the mouse. 

Was it alive? It was hard to tell. The little body was in the exact position we’d found it in, but the eyes were suspiciously bright still. It looked hooked into the rug with its little paws. Was it literally petrified?

No novice at this operation, Lydia deftly dropped the container over the mouse and slipped the flyer underneath, trying to get the mouse on top of it. It didn’t alter its stance, and the pushing flyer merely moved it up against the side of the container.

This wasn’t looking promising for the mouse.

Lydia tried again.

“Wait! I think it moved!” she said, as she successfully slipped the flyer under the mouse and simultaneously lifted her now-inhabited Tupperware trap contraption.

Holding it gingerly in front of her, she left the room.

I put Squirrel down and let the other cats approach the carpet, which they sniffed enthusiastically, while eyeing me balefully. I could almost hear their little unspoken cat curses.

Lydia came back inside a few minutes later.

“It was definitely alive,” she reported. “I felt bad. I’m not sure if I was saving it or dooming it, putting it out in the cold.” She paused. “So, I decided to let it out right by Dad’s outdoor office so it might be able to slip underneath and stay warm.”

We’re just not going to mention that to Kurt.

28 thoughts on “SOLC Day 15: What the heck was that!?

  1. Greg&Linda says:

    I enjoyed reading this peek into your life. We have two cats, and they do make all kinds of noises, so you never know if that was a cat or not. One cat likes the way the steps to the lower level echo, so she walks around yodeling, for lack of a better word. It can be startling!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was riveted to the action, Molly. Poor little guy. I hope he makes it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tim Gels says:

    What a story! I love how your story unfolded through the dialog The discussion and the decision making brought us along for the ride. I hope the little guy made it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amy Ellerman says:

    I love the way you used a balance of dialogue and those one sentence paragraphs to draw out the drama of the situation. This slice is so intentionally crafted!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amanda Potts says:

    The way this slice develops is *just right* – from the squawk to the funny ending. I feel like I could use this to show my students what I mean when I talk about story arc, but they’d probably freak out about the mouse.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. kd0602 says:

    Love that zinger of an ending! I’m still wondering who made that squawk…

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      It was crazy loud! I can’t imagine a mouse could make that much noise, but I have definitely never heard a cat make that sound before. I guess it will remain one of life’s unsolved mysteries!

      Like

  7. Morgan says:

    This captivated me from the very beginning. Your mix of active narration with dialogue, the mystery of how Lydia knew chose the mouse and was no novice at the Tupperware trap maneuver, the cat curses, and the “don’t tell Kurt” all built to a hilarious crescendo that literally made me LOL! Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Such a great slice, so much clever details in the interactions plus cat behaviours and reactions! Who knows where that squawk came from?!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. gailaldousmsncom says:

    You had me hooked from the first line. I resonated with this piece because I’ve had a lot of cats and have dealt with a lot of rodents. I noticed how you stayed behind Lydia, (your daughter?), the pro with mice. Were you scared of the mouse, Molly? I must say they are easier to deal with when there outside, but our cats have killed a few in the house. I loved the suspense and everything in your entertaining story. The ending was LOL! I did laugh right out loud! We have a lot of chipmunks around here because we have oak trees. Lovee, our huntress is 19, now so she really doesn’t hunt unless they walk right up to her, which sometimes they do when she’s under a bush. She will give this big MRRROW! And you know she has something in her mouth. Then, she plops it at your feet and waits for the “You’re such a good girl. Thank you for protecting us.” I look at the chipmunk up close and I know it’s playing dead. I push it with my foot, and it takes off with Lovee behind it. I tell her I don’t want it unless you kill it. Thank you for sharing. I loved it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Gail. I am actually not afraid of mice at all, I just wasn’t as motivated as Lydia–or as protective of the cats. I think she thought something might have happened to one of them. Cats definitely make a different delivery noise when they’re presenting their rodent gifts. I’m really still unsure which animal made the sound in this case.

      Like

  10. Kurt doesn’t need to know. So the Squirrel made the huge squawk (a redundant adjective)? Hannah is the mouse trapper in our house. Our cat Sadie is no mouser. Brings them into the house alive, plays with them briefly, and when they scurry off somewhere in the house looks at us with a “It’s not problem.”

    Liked by 1 person

  11. jaclynfre says:

    Compelling!! Thanks for sharing! I have dealt with mice in the house before and you handled the situation much more humanely. Beautifully told.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. margaretsmn says:

    You are such a good story teller keeping the suspense going throughout. I was not so calm when I had the same experience. I distinctly remember running outside with the dustbin screaming and tossing the poor mouse as far away as I could. Eek!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      We’re all old hands at dealing with mice in the house. It comes with the old farmhouse territory. We can hear them in the walls at night in the winter! lol

      Like

  13. […] comes to us from Molly Hogan, who blogs at Nix the Comfort Zone. In her slice entitled, “What the Heck was That?” Molly skillfully uses dialogue and detailed description of the action to bring a small, […]

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Shaista says:

    Whoa! I have a cat too, and the first time I saw it dig into a mouse, I threw up.
    I loved the pace at which your story moved!

    Like

  15. evarkaplan says:

    You told this story with suspense and a bit of humor! My dog once came to the screen door with a squirrel in his mouth and boy, was I surprised! You brought back fond memories of a crazy experience!

    Like

  16. Georgia says:

    I loved this suspenseful story so much that I read it aloud during dinner tonight. You definitely provided my family with a wonderful read aloud! We had so much fun adding the cats’ curses!

    Like

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