Friday, September 10, 2010

THE MOUSE, THE BAT AND THE NOTE ~ By Absolutely*Kate of Harbinger*33 ~ #FlashFiction

Not a game! Not a game!   pic by unloveablesteve

By ~

Russell rustled the lady in bed awake at quarter past 8. The rustle of Russell was loud and she thought her man was back in the house. It was the sound of a rustle he might hustle up.

Alas. The comely lass awoke with the awakening that even with the VICTORY sign painted on mouse traps, a better one is not built until it catches the critter causing the consternation. This was evidently ~ rustle, rustle ~ not the closed case it coulda shoulda been.

rustling grew louder. A bold varmint it be. The lady out of bed in a deep green coloured tee made it quietly (much more quietly than the muscle of Russell's rustle). She armed herself. You read it coming in the title. A baseball bat conveniently tucked in the corner behind the table where the rolled up towels lingered peacefully. No rustle there. It was coming from the bottom of the stairs. She was headed there.

The Louisville Slugger meant business. Would she use it? If she had to. A gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do. Defense stops for no squeamishness, no yelps, no fear. She stomped the bat hard on the next to the last stair when her soft footed barefeet silently got her there.

Russell rustled. Big time. He gave up his hidey-hole and she took that hole and the bag that came with it and the ripped piercings' piecings within it and the larger popcorn bag with the hole Russell had rustled himself into and she carried it -- quickly, mind you quickly -- outside. Where to put it? Was she carrying Russell about to rustle again or had he crunched outta lunch? This was Smart Popcorn after all.

She made it to the porch. Well, let's call this lady Kate. It's not to late in our tale of the tailed tail to tell it to you this way. Kate looked to the right and to the left and further down the porch and
-- quickly, mind you quickly -- made up her mind. She raised the lid of the kettle grill, (she had to put down her Slugger weapon to do so - but within reach -- Kate needs no popcorn to keep her smarts up) and bagged the bag within. Yes, 'grillin' takes on a whole new dimension now. Russell is either happy in his man of a mouse cave or he's - - - - - -

Yep. He's rustling still. Kate heard him. Kate made coffee and swore at him. Kate swore big time. She scorned him, she did. Not that that did anything. So Kate did what she's never done in her life before. (Kate's life before has had a Dad and numerous brothers and a husband and a son and numerous menfolk to do such a thing. Kate makes fun of sexism but not when it comes to touching a mousetrap.) After moving the unvictorious
V-trap gingerly with the Louisville maple swisher, she picked up the death-contraption by the outside edges for the very first time she's ever touched a deathtrap. She placed it up on the pantry shelf where the bag that held the rustle of the Russell had previously been. Change of venue? Kate thought she'd outfox a mouse, she did. Returning to the food-source scene is what every good criminal mouse should do. Kate's a writer. I mention that or did you figure it out for yourself?


The note that was on the blue placemat on the white hutch in the kitchen found during the coffee making routines of usual great joy bade Kate to "Enjoy the creative wonder of your writing and the pleasure of doing what you love and dream to accomplish." She recognized the scrawl of his charm, or is that the charm of his scrawl? No! Not Russell's, Matthew's.

It's no dream. My accomplishment list includes the reality-desire of killing ... the mouse that's in my house.

Back to creative wonder and wondering if a note should be taken at face value or if it has multi-layers of meaning. Irony that.



The noise was loud. The noise was sudden. Out of the reverie writing implores, Kate snapped. "Ah, that stupid mouse is rustling again clear across 3 rooms."

"WAIT! Clear across 3 rooms!??? That was no rustle. THAT WAS A SNAP!" A most definite SNAP! Not even a Harry B Sanderford tale of a SNAP that got away was keepin the curiosity of this Kat away.

Well the more curiosity wrestled against grossness, the more Kate had a concern with really ~ should she look? But what if she had to go upstairs - to change clothes or use the bathroom or get to her garret and think or something? What would she do then? She had to be braver than the grossness of the splat of a rat in a deathtrap marked Victory.

So -- still with the constant companion Louisville in her clean clutches, she made it (soft as sandals could foot it) across the old gold carpet of the living room/study, across the Modrian rug design of the dining room/library/gallery, realizing once again how many slash/rooms it takes to make a peaceful home from the 1860's do all the jobs that rooms should do in such a place of peace and inspiration. They just shouldn't have a mouse in 'em. That's not peaceful at all.

She's in the kitchen now. Blue beckons on the white floor. This is such a cheery place. The classic Van Gogh irises framed above the sink make all things seem above any suspicions, any time. Yet, she creeps slower now. Past the hutch and the coffee pot (almost empty). Past the frig with the multi-magnets. Ooh Oh - she's at the corner now. Will she do it? Will Kate be courageous? Will she look Victory's death in the eye -- or at least a peek at a dead tail to end this tale?

She did.

She looked.

But from afar. Kate's not that courageous. Hell, what if Russell the rat rustler was only half dead or ten-percent dead? What would that do her? She'd get bit and there'd be a disease that took her out of commission when she has been trying so valiantly to get back on track ... That just wouldn't do. That wouldn't do at all. Besides, gettin' bit would hurt. Not as much as what the unsaintly Saints did to Brett's bruised places which now match in uniformity his purpled uniform colours but . . .

Kate's procrastinating.

Kate's deliberating.

But Kate had to know. Was he dead? Was she the one who got the dread to go?

She leaned 'round the side of the frig, she did. She saw the trap. The trap had gone snap. There was no cheese. There was no mouse.

Russell the rustler was still the louse of a mouse loose in her house. There was no
VICTORY in Derbytowne.

Mighty Katie had struck out.


The mouse story is terrific.  It is entertaining in all the best ways:  witty, pithy, subtly suspenseful, and simply a pleasure to read.  You should consider putting it on AT THE BIJOU when you return for those readers and  those Friday Flash people you are really enjoying.  Others should have the chance to read it.  You should also consider having it published as a short story in a magazine. 



PS  I'll try to set up a better trap.


Anonymous said...

You get 'em Kate! Give 'em heck! Or is that "write me a check"? Hm. Best of luck with the rodentia dementia, and here's hoping they don't beat a path to your pantry door.

Harry said...

"Mighty Katie had struck out"

This time.

At least you went down swingin'

Love this tale of your tussle with the popcorn rustling rat named Russell....(you know you can't really kill 'em once you name 'em) :)