The phone rang on my desk. I knew who it was from the Caller ID. “Hello Dear,” I said.
“Hon, there’s a mouse in the house! You have to come home!” She was speaking so fast I could barely make out what she was saying.
“I can’t right now, Dear. You’re not scared of a mouse are you?” We had been married only a few years and I had not seen this side of her before.
“Yes, I am!” she screamed. “I’m petrified of it. Vic, you must come home! You’re got to get rid of it. I can’t do anything. I’m standing on a chair right now. I don’t dare get down.”
“Oh Honey,” I protested. “I’m at work. I can’t just get up and come home! Can’t you scare it away? It’s probably more afraid of you than you are of it.”
Cindy was adamant. She would not accept a no answer. I explained to my supervisor, as best I could, there was an emergency at home, and began the homeward jaunt. It was summer. About twenty minutes later, I arrived at our house, a small white Cape Cod starter home. I understood why Cindy wasn’t waiting for me at the door as usual. When I let myself in, I saw her standing on a chair in the kitchen with a broom in her hand.
I hastened to where she was, kissed her while she remained frozen in place. I felt her relax in my arms. “Why the broom?” I asked. “I’ve been banging on the floor to keep it away,” she responded. She shivered. I felt like laughing but didn’t because I knew this was no joke to her.
“Where is it?” I asked.
She pointed to the basement door. “Down there! Take it away. I don’t care what you do with it.”
“Keep tapping,” I said. “It won’t dare come near you. I’ll check the basement.”
I left her side and went down the stairs to the unfinished basement. I looked near the washer and dryer, under the sink, around the furnace. There was no trace of the mouse. It had probably gone outdoors. I needed to be back at work. I had promised to return as soon as I could. I could hear Cindy’s tapping and realized that this hunt might take all afternoon.
On the workbench was a small box that had once held matches and an idea occurred to me. I picked it up and cradled it in my hand. “I’ve got it!” I yelled at the top of my voice and rushed up the stairs. Cindy stared at the box with eyes as large as saucers. “Take it away!” she screamed. “Take it out of this house.” “I will, I will”, I hollered back. “It’s alive and cute, wanna look?” “No!” Her shriek must have been heard across the street.
“I’ll drop it off in a field on the way back to work,” I said.
“As far away as you can!” she cried. “Hurry!”
There was no good bye kiss while that box was in my hand. I left immediately.
After I had been back at work half an hour, there was another call from Cindy. “Thank you for what you did,” she said. I had placed the empty box on my desk. I picked it up and flipped it into the waste paper basket. I smiled feeling happy to have been a hero in her eyes.