Beware of the Peanut Butter

‘Twas a night in mid June, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring… except Larry, the mouse.  This is Larry’s side of the story…

As I approached the house I noticed a plump, ripe mango laying on the grassy floor. I’d never seen one so big! Three small beads of fresh sap had just hardened on the surface of it’s green and purple flesh. They glistened in the moonlight, almost calling my name. I looked around to see if anyone else was watching. And then I made my move.

I dashed across the fence like lightening, striking each post with poise and agility, gripping the wooden surface with my padded feet. I picked up more speed and made a giant leap into the mango tree. The leaves of the branches shook ferociously, echoing throughout the night sky. I stopped. I’ve made too much noise.

My heart was beating frantically. My whole chest was pumping up and down like a steam engine. I steadied myself on the branch and assessed my surroundings. It was still safe. I climbed down the tree quietly, carefully. As my toes hit the ground I ran my tongue over my whiskers and rubbed my hands together. The mango is mine. I devoured the sweet, juicy fruit and with fresh pulp still on my face, I set off for home.

My family and I had been living in this neighborhood for some time now. But this house was new for us. It had a nice, flat, aluminum roof with gutter space that had a small hole in the metal mesh. It was just big enough for me to squeeze my plump belly through – or so I thought. The wires bent forward as I pushed with all my might to slither my way inside. I wish I knew then, what I know now. Those wires prevented me from getting back out.

So there I was, stuck inside the house. The attic air was stuffy and warm. I scurried across the attic floor, checking out the view from the a/c vents and eventually finding a cozy spot to relax.  By the third day, I was bored and the hunger pains in my ravenous belly were unbearable. I had to make my escape.

I was so hungry I began imagining that delicious mango I had the other night. I began biting and scratching the thin wall, tunneling my way through the house. Just when I was ready to give up, tired and defeated, I saw a dull white light beaming through a small hole… and I was free. I looked around. This must be the kitchen. And then I noticed the window. I could see the outside! I tip toed across the counter tops and as I made my way to the outside a piercing bright light shined above me. I stopped and sought refuge under a small pot in the sink.

I could hear the girl human shouting. I think she was talking to the boy human. As her voice grew louder, so did my heartbeat. I scrunched my body up as tight as possible and braced for take off. And as my worst fear predicted, she lifted the pot I was hiding under. I bolted for the back of the stove. It took her a while to see me. I know this, because I was just inches from the stove before I heard her scream out in terror.

I could’t understand why she was so scared of me. She’s one hundred times my size! The nerve. Annoyed and still quite hungry, I decided to stay put behind the stove until everyone settled back down.

The last of the sunlight had vanished from the sky and the dark of night illuminated the house. The humans had just shut the last light off and I knew they had settled into bed. I was sitting there wondering if I should try to escape again when it hit me. I recognized that smell. The sweet nutty aroma of peanut butter tickled my nose. And I thought to myself, they must have forgotten to put some food away.

I peeked my whiskers over the top of the stove and took a look.  I could see a wooden block on the counter with a slab of peanut butter smeared carelessly on top. And as cliche as it may sound, I crept ‘as quiet as a mouse’, over to the delicious smell. I was so hungry that I forgot that I was still in the house. I began to devour the meal. I can remember thinking to myself how careless these humans were, leaving food on the counter.

As I shoved the last paw full of lovely spread I noticed what a mess I made. I lick my hands feverishly trying to clean up my mess. My stomach grumbled at me, thankful to finally have a meal again.

I stepped off the block of wood and as I head for the window I heard a loud “SMACK!” The wooden block flew high into the air before crashing down right next to me. I leaped into the air in fright and ran back to the safety of the stove. I burrowed back into the wall and stayed in the darkness until the next day.

The next day, I awoke to the familiar smell of peanut butter again. It was early afternoon and I had a rumbling in my stomach that wouldn’t let up. Upon climbing out from the back of the stove, I noticed there were two wooden blocks this time – both with peanut butter smears on them. After the last time I was around a block like this, I knew I had to be careful. I gently pawed at the food, scooping heaps of yummy smooth peanut butter and devouring them one after the other.

I decided to take a look around the kitchen for some water. Peanut butter sure makes you thirsty. I walked over to the sink, but it was dry. Maybe on the other side of the stove. I hadn’t been there yet. I let my guard down a bit and started to hustle to the other side when… “SMACK!” “SMACK!”

I opened my eyes and looked around. One of the wooden blocks fell on the floor. The other was clear across the stove. Why do they keep doing that? I thought to myself, I better get back inside where it’s safe. And so I did. Until the next day.

By now I had grown tired of these peanut butter meals. I really wanted to find a way out of the house, but I kept hitting dead ends. I dreamed of the mouth watering mangoes outside and the fresh night air in my face. Now, I was stuck in a perpetual loop of playing Russian Roulette with wooden blocks and peanut butter. But no matter how dangerous it had gotten, I still needed to eat. So when I saw three peanut butter stations out the next day, I had to go for it.

I emerged as stealth as possible. One foot in front of the other, I sauntered across the cool Formica counter. I began to gently graze at the thick spread, confident in my poise, but also vigilant. I was almost finished. I stretched my body deep into the wooden board to reach the last of the peanut butter. My paws were shaky as I steady my balance. SMACK!

I tried to run away, but there was a piercing pain radiating through my front foot. I was bogged down by something. I looked  closer. I was stuck. There was a metal beam clamped down on my foot, trapping me to the wooden block. I shook my leg vigorously, screeching in pain as my flesh tore.  I used the last of my strength to pull one more time. My leg freed itself and I toppled over, rolling closer to the edge. I struggled to gather myself together. But as I took a step further, my foot gave out and I fell backward, over the counter, free falling out of control to the tile below. THUD.

I was dreaming about a field of cheese and my family all together running freely through the field. My brothers and I were roughhousing. He would push me. I would fall. We would laugh. Then someone pushed me for real! I woke up and there they were… the humans!

The boy human was pushing me with a broom. The girl human was running outside opening all the doors. The more he pushed me, the more it hurt. My paw throbbed and I tried to hobble quickly out the door. Once we were on the patio, everyone stopped. The humans were talking back and forth. The girl looked upset. She had a worried look on her face. The boy looked angry. “I hope he’s not angry with me”, I thought.

I lifted my injured paw to my mouth and began licking my wounds. The girl was watching me. She bent down closer to me and we locked eyes. I stopped, mid lick, and examined her. She was kind, gentle, soft spoken. I know she was trying to tell me something. But I couldn’t understand what she was saying.

The girl put a bucket on the ground and the boy pushed me closer to it with the broom. I limped my way into the bucket. I think they were trying to help me. He rolled his eyes and walked the other way. It’s clear now that he was annoyed with the girl. Thank God. I thought it was me.

They put some plastic wrapping stuff over the bucket and poked a few holes so that I could breathe. I was curious as I watched them work. I circled the bucket looking for an exit. It was big, yellow and round. There was no where to go. But I kept pacing, trailing droplets of blood every so often from my mangled leg.

We began moving. I wasn’t sure how we were moving, but I could still see the girl. She was talking to the boy. I was still in the bucket. I could feel it vibrating as we move. I think we were in one of those car things I see in the street all the time. I always wanted to ride in a car.

We stop and I watched the boy get out. The bucket moved quickly and I lost my grip. I slid to one side. Then, as the bucket slid the other way, I realized I was falling again. I slip and slide down the side until “KIRPLUNK” I was on the grass again. Oh, the beautiful green, fresh, warm, safe grass.

I was so excited to see the grass that I din’t even notice that the humans had walked away. I could see them faintly from the jungle of grass as they got back in the red car. I don’t know if they saw me wave to them. I don’t think they heard me squeak “Thank You”. I hope they know how thankful I am that they saved me from that mean block of wood and found me a new home. What would I have done without them?

This story is based on an actual event that took place when we had a mouse in our house.  

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