Bottoms up, or a forest of mouse butts

June 2, 2009

I never could figure out if the mouse butts were a gift or a punishment.

I’d come home in the wee hours and hunker through the wintery air, open the trailer door, and there they’d be, from one to as many as 10, little hineys poking up out of the dog-vomit-green shag carpet, nothing left of the little Mickeys but hindquarters and stiff little tails, pointing they-went-thataway every whichaway.

And there would be Phyllis, curled up contentedly in my late Aunt Audrene’s former favorite overstuffed chair, staring at me the way that cats stare at their humans.

I never did figure out if my reactions were the right ones. I’d pluck the miserable little mementoes out of the shag and toss them out the back door, by way of warning to future mice “All hope abandon ye who enter here.”

Apparently, none of the mice had read “Divine Comedy,” because they kept coming.

Phyllis took a long time to adjust to the move from the suburbs of the Georgia university town to a trailer on the edge of a cornfield in the wilds of Pennsylvania. I wasn’t sure if the furry little fannies were a snub for disrupting her life or a grateful sharing of the bounty.

Phyllis Killer was my cat for 17 years all together. Sleek, quick, black and white, with a white blaze shaped like Italy across her nose. She was a one-man cat, and didn’t cotton to anybody else, or any other cats.

In her youth, when I still let her roam outside, she rarely came home without some near-dead critter hanging from her teeth. This she would drop in the middle of the floor and watch while I caught and disposed of it. I think she was attempting to train me to hunt. She always looked vaguely disappointed.

The source of the mice was no secret. It was a cold winter, colder than most. The cornfield, a regular field mouse metropolis, came up to within 20 feet of the trailer, which was a lot warmer than the iron ground of the field. The mice found their way in, attracted to the warmth of the wood stove and gas furnace and, to be honest, my less-than-immaculate kitchen houskeeping skills.

But Phyllis was good at her job. Typically, she ate her prey from the head back to the hams and then, for reasons known only to her, stuck them on the carpet.

Typically, after a day at work, I’d find one or two of them. Once away for a week, I returned to find the food I’d left for her mostly gone and a grim forest of wiry little tails in the coleslaw-colored carpet.

And Phyllis, of course, curled in her chair, watching my reaction.

I think she had finally given up on training me to hunt. The mouse butts were handouts.
© 2009 Marsh Creek Media, Gettysburg, Pa.
“Burger to Go” is a product of me and my company, Marsh Creek Media and, as such, I am solely responsible for its content.
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One Response to “Bottoms up, or a forest of mouse butts”

  1. tour said

    I guess this things do happen but what can i say, i do have a sence of humor and i’m glad i do. Sometimes things go wrong sometimes things go funny but everytime i have time i search the net for new stuff and i like what i see here. Thks for the nice read.

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