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Rated: E · Short Story · Comedy · #2313010
This is nothing like Steinbeck's revered novel.
         Paul stopped to hitch up his jeans and swipe the beads of sweat from his eyes. Gawd, he really had to gasp for every breath and was that his own frenzied wheezing whistling in his ears? What was he doing? He knew he had better things to do like channel surfing. The armchair seemed so far from the counter holding him up. With a grunt he reached for the television remote near his feet. Thank goodness it was still intact. Throwing it had been a mindless reflex and only after it had left his hand did he worry about its possible wreck.
          Paul's eyes narrowed and his spine stiffened. Unmistakable scratching sounds taunted him once again. Was that the scrabbling of nails echoing in the kitchen? Had the cheeky bugger not been frightened off? What was it trying to prove? Paul pushed himself upright and cracked his neck. Something scurried across his bare feet and the sudden tickle of warmth caused him to shiver.
          A scream cut through the air. "I see it! It's in here. Get it Papa!"
         Heart pounding, Paul raced to the spare bedroom. Emily stood on a chair pointing at the rumble of toys scattered on the floor.
         "It's in there."
         His first sweep of the room revealed no lurking danger. It was a wily one. How had it known to hide in this mess?
         Sydney kicked aside a few Barbie dolls and over turned one empty box.
         Something quick and grey scampered to a new spot, a pile of stuffed animals.
         From her safe advantage atop the chair Emily wiggled and repeated herself. "Get it Papa!"
         "That's what I'm trying to do."
         Paul marveled to himself. It's a quick little bugger, I'll give him that.
         "Where did it come from?" asked a wide-eyed Sydney.
         "Well, I didn't invite him in," huffed her Grandad.
         Emily hollered. "I see him! Look, it's his tail. Do ya see it?"
         Paul, not wearing the eyeglasses he hated, squinted. Realizing he needed a plan, a better plan of action, he sprinted back to the kitchen and grabbed a piece of Tupperware which he promptly replaced when his wife objected. Spying an empty plastic margarine tub he hustled back to the girls.
         Exhaling a grunt with his effort, Paul lunged into the mismash of coloured fur. Soft bodies cushioned his dive somewhat and the intruder streaked out of reach.
         Dark beady eyes and a twitching tangle of whiskers taunted its would be hunter. As Paul flexed for another attempt a tiny tail flicked a farewell. Was this fleet fellow enjoying this game of hide and seek? Where had it chosen to burrow this time?
         Emily the Spotter sussed out the new cover. "It's in the bin with the dishes. Hurry!"
         Holding his breath and tip-toeing, Paul crept to the hodge-podge of plastic plates and tiny teapots. Was that miniature cardboard replica of a cereal box breathing? Sure enough it seemed to be pulsating. Paul didn't hesitate. He scooped the container into the tub and squeezed it tight.
         Aw, it's so cute," cooed Sydney. Her perspiring grandfather just glared at her.
         Running for the exit door to the cheers from Emily and Sydney Paul snuck a quick peek at his quarry. Nope, not in the least bit cute he thought.
         Returning to the house he faced a barrage of questions. "Where's the mouse, Papa? Did you kill him?"
         The successful mouse trapper shook his head.
          "Nope. That rascal just had a snow bath. I chucked him into that huge snowbank across the street. You should've seen the poof when he disappeared. He likes to hide, doesn't he?"
         ( 605 words )
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