Death by a thousand words

I’m typing away on the laptop when I realize I need to print something out, so down to the basement office I go, crazy cat alongside.

words 700 x 500 px

I’ve been printing out pages for a while when I hear a tiny squeak behind me. I figure it’s the cat but I look around anyway and there she is, a chair’s width behind me, absolutely fascinated by the baby mouse she’s batted into near-death submission.

The victim

Soon I am standing in my bare feet, six inches from the rodent’s flat little body when I hear a faint squeak coming from a cardboard box near the door. There are more of them! Any one of them could scrabble across my feet and up my bare legs. And where is their mother? She’ll be even bigger!

This from the same tenderhearted animal lover who as a kid, fed cheese to a baby mouse with one hand, while restraining the family feline with the other. But those mice lived in an unused chimney and I was wearing pjs and slippers.

This is completely different. The cat, a street shark gone soft, has lost interest and wandered away. I am alone, all appendages bare.

The weapon

I start looking around for a weapon. Anything will do but all I can see are stacks of paper, file folders and my own frantic reflection in the computer monitor. It’s an office; the only other thing here is books, tons of them and—the Oxford English Dictionary, hardcover edition.

I’m the house bug killer. I smack bugs of all kinds, including centipedes, with the flat of my hand. You must strike quickly or you’ll have hundreds of tiny legs crawling all over your skin.

I took the same approach to the task at hand. It was not my finest hour, but it was humane and quick. DOA by the OED.

c 2013 Kathy Barthel

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