attack on the home-front

she stood in the living room. he got on his hands and knees in the kitchen. the tile was cold on his hands. pointing at the cabinet doors beneath the sink he said, ‘in here?’

‘that’s where he was. i saw him go in there,’ she said.

‘ok. we’ll get him,’ he said.

he took a flashlight in his right hand. he gripped a tennis shoe in his left. he pulled the cabinet open with his light-holding hand. the tennis shoe he held cocked.

he aimed the light through to the back of the cabinet. he saw sponges and bottles of 409 and cans of lysol and rubber gloves still wrapped in plastic, but he didn’t see it.

‘i don’t see it.’

‘is there a hole or something? i saw him get in there, i’m sure of it.’

‘i don’t see a hole.’ he leaned in further. still on all fours, he was up to his armpits in the cabinet. ‘wait,’ he said. ‘yeah.”

she held her breath. she cupped her hands over her mouth. she said, ‘oh my god.’

she tried to ignore his exposed butt-crack as he said, ‘yeah, i see some poop down here.’

‘that’s so gross,’ she said.

‘hand me some paper towel,’ he said. he waved his arm back towards her.

‘i’m not going in there.’

‘what?’ he pulled himself back out.

‘i’m sorry,’ she said. ‘i just hate this.’

‘i understand,’ he said. ‘you did the right thing calling me.’

‘yes. thank you SO much for coming. you have no idea what this means,’ she said. ‘you’re like my hero.’

‘yeah,’ he said. ‘well what are neighbors for?’

‘right?’ she said.

from the floor, he saw the roll of paper towels on the counter.

he reached for the roll from his knees, but came up short and his torso tipped forward into the counter. his stomach and chest crashed into the cabinets. next he braced himself with his arms over the counter like indiana jones hanging from a cliff. he reached out and took the paper towels with a grunt. then he shoved off of the counter and was back where he started but breathing heavy.

still in the living room, she watched.

he went back under the sink. ‘whew,’ he said. ‘lotta poop in here.’

one by one he started setting the bottles of cleaner out behind him onto the tile. he’d cleared the cabinet except for the box of garbage bags. he grabbed the box. he shone the light at the box and saw a nibbled hole.

‘i know where he went!’ he called.

‘seriously? WHERE?’

he tipped the box into the light. all he saw were white plastic garbage bags still rolled.

‘well maybe i do,’ he said.

he looked back at the nibbled hole and then tilted the box towards him again. ‘where are you?’ he said to the box.

when the light shone into the box, this time he saw the black eyes of the mouse. the mouse bolted up and out of the box. the mouse scurried over his hand. the man yelped, then recoiled. the back of his head met the garbage disposal with a thunderous clang. his body went limp and then he laid like a dead worm.

the mouse ran out.

she’d heard her neighbor say something about finding the mouse when she heard him scream and jump. there came a noise like a monster banging at the castle gate. the entire counter shook. that’s when the mouse streaked out from under the sink and ran towards her in the living room.

she ran screaming towards the bedroom and locked herself inside. she left the man there under the sink while she cried alone in her room.

the mouse went under the sofa to hide from these large and dangerous beings.


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