As I write this, there is another mottage that I just remembered about.
In a trap.
I wonder what it looks like by now. I suppose I really should have taken care of it before now….but I went on a trip, and then I came back, and then I got busy, and then I forgot about it.
And now, I am too tired and lazy to go get up and dispose of it. Poor mottage. To lie there, rotting and forgotten, its head and breathing passages pinched shut by a trap that some vicious monster set in anticipation of some unsuspecting mottage coming by and being hungry for a bit of peanut butter.
Anyway, this little story today has nothing to do with that particular mottage; I just happened to remember it as I sat down to write about another mottage that was scurrying about the cottage late one evening not so very long ago.
It wuz a dark and stormee night, and all through the cottage, nothing was scurrying, except for a mottage.
That particular mottage’s name was Uncle Bob. He was actually christened that later….after, well…….anyway…….
Now Uncle Bob had been watching the occupier of the cottage for some time. At present he was on the couch, under a blanket, watching a movie. Except for the light from the screen, the room was dark.
Uncle Bob figured it was safe enough that he could maybe get out and find something to take home to his family of six with seven more on the way. It was that seven more on the way that worried Uncle Bob.
Pickings had been slim for several days, out on his rounds, so he had decided to stick close to home tonight and see if the cottage bachelor had anything lying around that he wouldn’t miss, or mind sharing with five hungry little mice and a very pregnant mother.
So, he grabbed his pickings bag, said goodbye to the children, kissed his wife, assured her he’d be back in an hour or so and not to worry.
And with a flick of his tail, he resolutely turned around and disappeared out the mouse hole just like that.
It was the last time his family would see Uncle Bob.
Peering around the corner, he saw that the bachelor was still watching his movie. And so he hurried out and started sniffing, in a desperate search for something to eat.
Meanwhile, the bachelor’s eyes, half-bored with the movie, had caught some movement over on the floor.
And between interesting parts in the movie, I watched the mouse run here and there, behind piles of clothes, over various bits of paper, and around under the table and chairs.
What was a mottage doing in my cottage?
I was comfortable.
I did not want to get up.
I was busy.
I ignored Uncle Bob. Maybe, I figured, he might get tired, or he might find what he needed, and then he could just be gone and once he was out of my sight, I could forget him.
How much could one mouse eat anyway? I watched him for a bit, mildly amused, somewhat bored, and not a little tired. He scurried some more and I threw a pillow at him, hoping he would go home.
He just ran around some more and tried to appear invisible.
Eventually I returned my attention to the movie, although not entirely forgetting that Uncle Bob was out and about.
The cottage was quiet for a bit. The rain continued falling outside, the wind continued blowing, and, over on the other side of the world, the sun continued moving across China.
And then I felt something trotting around on my blanket, right around where my legs happened to be.
“Well now,” I thought. “The dear fellow has taken it up a notch.”
I paused the movie, finally realizing that I would have to do something about the mottage in the cottage. Being careful to not move my legs at all, as I could feel that he was still hanging out on top of them, I leaned over and switched on the light. I set aside the computer and started poking around for him.
Suddenly, there he was! He emerged on top of a pillow at the end of the couch and crouched on top of it, sniffing me.
I looked at him.
He looked at me.
And in an odd sort of way, a bit of kinship was felt. I mean, the little thing was so cute, and its whiskers twitched and its nose moved around and its bright black eyes gazed up at mine, and for one wild second I thought I was meeting Ralph S. Mouse, in the fur himself.
And then the story of when Pa Ingalls grabbed the mouse that was cutting his hair and threw it against the wall, where it splatted and died, crowded my mind; and then I wasn’t sure what to do!
For a minute longer we stared at each other, and I thought maybe I would name him, and catch him, and put him in a little cage and we would be friends.
But then, Uncle Bob realized that he was facing the very object he was trying to avoid, and in a panic, he disappeared over the edge of the pillow.
A sudden caveman-like instinct in me awakened and I followed close behind, pausing only long enough to cast my eyes around the cottage to see what I could use to help Uncle Bob remember not to stick around here anymore.
I grabbed a sturdy cardboard box as the best option and dashed around the cottage chasing poor Uncle Bob. Food particles bounced out of his sack as he careened around the chair legs and then he lost the sack altogether as it got snagged on a suspender hooker gizmo that was lying on the carpet.
He disappeared under a mountain of clothes and I tore away at them with one hand, box in the other.
Just as I lifted the last piece, out he came.
And I whomped him.
With the box.
I whomped hard, pressing my lips together tightly, my face fixed in a terrible glare.
It hit the mouse right on, and he fell over on his side, legs kicking painfully. I whomped again, harder, hoping to end its pain as quickly as possible.
After the second whomp, I lifted the box to see if he was still alive, and he was, but barely.
Largely flattened and elongated, his legs were still kicking, whiskers still twitching, although the brightness was gone from his little black eyes and his mouth was open, gasping for breath.
I gritted my teeth, lifted the box high, and whomped a third time, as hard as I could, without crushing the cardboard.
And then a fourth time I whomped him, and when I lifted the box that time, I could see that Uncle Bob had gone on to the Big Mousehole in the Sky.
He had gone without so much as a squeak, and soberly I lifted his flattened remains by his cute little tail and went to the cottage door.
It was dark outside. Cold and windy and rainy.
An hour passed.
Two hours passed.
Aunt Martha began to worry.
Where was Uncle Bob??
The children had been put to bed, and still he had not come home. Aunt Martha heaved her pregant body up, went down to the mouse hole and looked out.
All she could see was someone on the couch, watching a movie.
Nothing else stirred throughout the cottage, not even the remnants of a crushed little mottage.
Aunt Martha peered out the mouse hole again. Should she go try to find her husband??
Part Two coming soon….