Musophobia – a tragicomedy
500 Words: Right here, Right now
On a Saturday morning not so long ago, I was sitting on the steps in our kitchen putting my runners on. I have a bad habit of leaving my shoes wherever I happen to take them off and the night before I had chucked them off in the kitchen, where they’d been patiently waiting for me ever since. My cat was in the kitchen too, having just come through the cat flap. He seemed extremely interested in my shoe-putting-on procedure.
My first runner went on fine. When I put the second one on and stood up and walked around for a bit, my foot felt uncomfortable. My toes were cramped and the shoe didn’t feel right. Perhaps I’d left yesterday’s sock in that shoe, I thought, another bad habit of mine. So I sat back down on the step, undid the laces and pulled that shoe off.
I confidently reached inside, quickly grabbed at the toe of my runner and pulled my hand out, expecting to see a scrunched up sock. When my hand came out with a live mouse, which might have been playing dead while I walked around in my shoe and then began wriggling madly when I pulled it out, I let out the loudest, most ear-piercing scream of my entire life!
Well, I actually indulged in two screaming sessions a few minutes apart. The first screaming session comprised of sheer disbelief – had I really just put my foot into a shoe with a live mouse in it? Had I really just walked around with a live mouse in my shoe? And then had I actually pulled that slippery sucker out? The second screaming session involved sheer terror at the realisation of what had just happened. Once again, bad memories of my encounters with vermin came flooding back. High school biology classes, pet mice, rescued mice – what is it with mice and me? Will these furry fiends continue to scuttle into my life uninvited, always scaring the bejesus out of me? Am I destined to be a victim of vermin for the rest of my days?
Of course, the answer to the last two questions is probably yes – and why wouldn’t it be? I live in the country on acres and I have two pet cats who love to catch mice and release them. Near me. Sometimes even in the vicinity of my shoes!
So my musophobia of right here, right now is alive and kicking. But maybe it’s time for me to get to work on putting it down, gently.
And maybe if I’m successful, my life with mice won’t be such a tragicomedy. But then again, it might not be half as exciting!