Carol Jane Remsburg
Once upon a Saturday morning, I rolled out from beneath my warm covers in a rush. It was one of those mornings when I thought it was a weekday-workday and the alarm hadn't sounded. It took a few moments to realize it was Saturday morning and the aroma of fresh coffee was teasing me.
I wanted my coffee straight away without the detour of my morning shower. The morning was chilly and the heat was set low. I had put on my robe but my feet were cold so I went to grab my socks. Groggily stumbling around I realized that my socks weren't where I left them. One was in the middle of the living room floor. Moreover, Pyewacket was sitting on it.
This was an odd occurrence because I usually don't leave my socks lying about—not like other family members I might mention, yet the night before I'd come home freezing and taken a steaming shower to warm up and put on a pair of warm socks. Before going to bed, I'd been lazy and shucked them off leaving them by my chair. Saturday is cleaning day, so one more pair of socks to pick up isn't hard.
I put on the one and reached for the other a few feet away. To my surprise little Pye growled at me before moving off. Had I been fully awake, I might have known. But I wasn't awake. I was wandering about on full autopilot with eyelids that mustered only to half-mast. I needed my caffeine.
I don't do anything in half-measure when doing things by rote from childhood. Shrugging, I snared the sock and pulled it on. When my toes didn't meet the cottony toe of the sock but encountered a furry obstacle, I became totally awake. Being tossed into the Artic Ocean could have had the same effect—with only one difference. The shock of the frigid temps can stop your heart, breathing, and most other involuntary acts, the only thing still working was my brain. No longer sluggish and sleep-dim, my brain's response was blindingly quick.
"Off!!!" shouted the brain.
The body responded, "Huh?"
"Reverse! Off! Sock! Something's in it! GET-IT-OFF-NOW!!"
What seemed like eons to the brain was only a few seconds, give or take by the body. More likely it didn't even take that, but with the brain screaming so, the body tends to lock up in shock. The adrenaline in a sudden dither didn't know which way to go.
The third party in all this wasn't the base brain but the conscious working awareness that walks and talks with us throughout our waking lives. It only had one reaction, "Omigod!"
At that point it didn't take a rocket scientist at the 6:03 AM it was to figure out that I had a mouse in my sock. And because it hadn't bitten me when I'd shoved my foot inside fully invading the space, I assumed it was dead. That was why little Pye was guarding it.
Now that my foot was out of the sock, I was sitting there looking at it rather dumbly. I've got a dead mouse in my sock. What now? I could drop the sock into the trash, but it was new and my chintzy side wouldn't allow that. My other option was to retrieve said mouse from sock, dispose of dead mouse and launder sock, heavy on the bleach.
While I've never been the screamy sort over mice, don't try me with snakes. Mice, generally, are pretty clean creatures. Living in a rural area surrounded by fields and living in an older home, mice come and go around here. Mostly they go because my kitties get them. Most in the mouse clans here about know to steer clear of this house—but there are always a brave few. This was one of those unlucky fellows.
There I sat with a mouse in my sock, my feet, or one foot, still cold. I peered in the sock. The mouse had gravitated back to the 'heel' of the sock and I could see its tail. I reached in to pull the poor, bugger out.
Did I say the mouse was dead? Well, I thought he was. The mouse-tail wiggled between my fingers and his little paws and feet must have dug into the cotton because he wasn't budging. Turns out that Pyewacket wasn't quite finished tormenting him yet and was now thoroughly disgusted with me. She stalked off.
I gave momentary thought to releasing the mouse back into the wild figuring he'd both deserved it and could take back the message about invading my home. To be realistic, I knew the mouse didn't stand a chance after being mortally wounded by little Pye—a witchy cat if there ever was one. I didn't want to walk outside in the cold barefoot, but I didn't want the mouse to suffer a harder death—and he would have too. There was no point in prolonging it.
I strolled into the kitchen where my commercially tall trashcan with a lovely wooden lid stands. The sock was folded over, me holding the top of the sock and the toe, while Mr. Mouse lay suffering in the heel. I whapped the top corner of the wooden trashcan top with the sock-heel as hard as I could. The mouse was officially dead without any bleeding onto my still-new sock.
I dropped him into the trash, headed for the shower and put on fresh socks afterwards. I dropped my 'yesterday's' socks into a heavy-on-the-bleach load of whites I started before ever getting my coffee. Then I took the trash out.
What did I learn from all of this? I learned that on Saturday mornings not to deviate from my morning showers and if I do, to get my slippers and not yesterday's socks. I also learned that Saturday's are not necessarily dull days. Pyewacket has yet to forgive me but Stinky thinks it's a thrill to see her in such a bad mood while Spike is still wondering what happened. Poor old Spike, he never was one quick on the uptake.
So, to those of you who might drop a sock onto the floor, think again before pulling it on. You might do better to drop it in the hamper and grab a pair fresh from all those that have been freshly laundered—again and again. A surprise in your sock is not necessarily the way you want to begin any day.