A creature was stirring…

Last night as I walked through the dining room toward the kitchen, out of the corner of my eye I spied our cat Star staring underneath the cabinet. Ah, shit. This could only mean one thing: there’s a critter under there.

I grab the flashlight, a plastic glove, and a small box, anticipating what lies ahead. I put the cat in a bedroom and closed the door. All I needed was for her get ahold of it before I did. Back to the task at hand, I moved a box aside to reveal the furry beast. He didn’t seem to mind being discovered. I assumed at this point that he was either petrified or maimed from Star having had her way with the little nugget for a few minutes before he was able to limp off to safety. Not the case. By the time I bent down with the box at the ready, he was gone. Dammit.

Currently, my dining room is a makeshift workshop for various simultaneously ongoing DIY projects. The fur nugget could be hiding in any number of places: in my toolbox, in my “tool shed” (built-in cabinet where I keep a small cache of tools), an empty box (of which there are several), or even in the adjacent sun room. I looked all over and could not locate him. Crap. Literally. Under the dining room table was a small, petrified CAT TURD. Wtf. With my gloved hand, I picked it up and disposed of it. I tried not to think about how there was a piece of poop in our dining room long enough to dry out without us smelling it. How could that even be?? Seriously. Poop. In the dining room.

Then I did what any sane, logical person would do: I let the cat out of the bedroom and went to Walgreen’s for chocolate.

When I returned, Star’s gaze was fixed under a bookcase in the sun room. She was like a statue. Great. I turned my back on the situation to let nature take its course. In the back of my mind, I rallied for the mouse to make his escape to the great outdoors from where he’d come, hoping his life would be spared. I sat down at the computer, facing the opposite direction, replaying Tom & Jerry episodes in my head. Jerry always gets away.

Within minutes, I heard the “eek eek eek” of the nugget, quickly followed by the cat racing into another room. I quickly turned around in my chair. Nothing. Neither was in sight. Where the hell? No signs in the sun room, dining room, living room, or hallway. Oh God. Please not in the kitchen.

Yes. In the kitchen. I turned on the light to find Star peering under the stove. Double dammit. I took her back to the bedroom and locked her away. Pulled the stove out and sure enough, there was the little beast, huddled in the corner, either dead or playing opossum. He looked enormous. Even with all the racket of moving the oven out, he didn’t budge. Maybe he wasn’t dead and he was just hoping to be rescued. Never fear, little dude. I’m definitely nicer than the cat.

I grabbed a new plastic glove, the box, and a Ziploc baggie. I had the thought that it’s cold out and he’s about to have a rude awakening to the frosty outdoors, so I cut off a little piece of pumpkin bread and put it in the baggie, along with a napkin, which he could use for bedding after he wiped his paws from his snack.

I bent down and put the box over him. He still didn’t move, but I could tell that he wasn’t dead. He was probably grateful. I slid a piece of cardboard under the box then guided him into the baggie. Once he was in, I zippered it shut and took it in to show my daughter how cute he was. “You’re ridiculous. Get that thing out of here.” Well, how rude.

I inspected him to see if he had any obvious injuries – not that it would have made any difference because I certainly wasn’t keeping him as a pet. There didn’t appear to be any blood. Out into the cold we went. I put the baggie down by the smashed pumpkins under the maple tree and opened it up. “If you know what’s good for you, you won’t come back.” I left him with his food and shelter and went back to the house.

Once inside, I scrubbed my hands, pushed the oven back, and went to bed. Peace and quiet.

This morning I went out to get the baggie and napkin out of the yard. My delicious pumpkin bread was still there. Ingrate.

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