"The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!"
~Robert Burns, 1785
It's ironic that the poem about destroyed plans is about a mouse. Because part of the reason my nanowrimo is a no-no is because of a mouse. Well...mice, specifically.
My mother told me this last spring, when I mentioned I'd seen a mouse in my garage (which is attached to the house). "The thing about mice is...they breed."
She's right. We're overrun. Not only did that cute little mouse find her way into my house, she and her progeny have set up residence. They're turning up in interesting places...in my daughter's bedroom, where uneaten Halloween candy resides spread out on her desk, under the stove, in the silverware drawer and even in the toy box where they leave their dark bits of evidence behind. I've found a mouse in my recycle bin, in the dog's food bin (it had fallen in and spent the night there, probably trying to eat it's way out), and even, in my three-year-old's shoe.
That poor little mouse met with an unfortunate end; the dogs knew he was in the place by the door where we put our shoes when we come in from outside, and they pursued the tiny creature relentlessly until the hound caught him. The terrier took it from there; only after a struggle was I able to wrest the minute carcass away.
The thing is...I don't like to kill anything. Even spiders, one of the oogiest creepy-crawlies on earth, are caught and placed outside. So I purchased some live catch mouse traps, baited them with peanut butter as per the instructions and placed them around the house.
So far, I've caught five mice; two of them in the same trap at the same time. Once captured, they must be released--and that means taking them someplace where they won't come back. Which involves driving. Of course, being the softie I am, I take them someplace where they can find shelter and hopefully food--like by the barn where my daughter rides--to continue their mousie lives in relative mouse prosperity. Unless, of course, they're eaten by coyotes.
Anyhow, all this mouse catching has distracted me from my Nano. I've managed to write seven pages. Woo-hoo! Titled, Your Wish is My Command, it tells the story of a museum curator who finds a genie in a bottle while going through the unused inventory. Or it would, if I'd ever get her off the ladder and into the box where the bottle is...
Since it's possible no one will ever read this story, I might as well share the first page with you:
Only Dara's life could come to an end with a memo. And she only had a month to save it.
"Due to the recent economic downturn as well as the loss of donations and, more importantly, the downturn in family and group memberships, the Board has decided that the Heffenpuffer Museum will close its doors, effective the last day of February of this year."
She clutched the memo until her fingers cramped. Close? The museum was going to close? "But…what about the exhibits? The artwork? The fossils? The Native American crafts?" A horrific thought struck her. "What about the mummy? He'll deteriorate if he's not kept in the correct climate. What's going to happen to Hachepcet?"
"Forget him. He's already dead. What about us?" said Francie, her friend and gift shop manager extraordinaire.
"What about us?" Dara looked up from the memo.
"We'll be out of a job. That's what." Francie flung a bat puppet onto the display rack; it fell to the floor. She looked at it but didn't pick it up.
Dara had never seen Francie not care about the placement of merchandise. The reality of the situation slowly occurred to her. "But where I am going to go? I love this museum."
"I love my paycheck. Whoopedy-doo." Francie spun her index finger in the air.
"But…but this museum…it's…it's…" Home. She'd grown up here among the exhibits. Daddy had been curator then, and so proud of each of the museum's items. He'd inspired her love of all things historical and beautiful and she, in turn, had committed her life to them. Each item in the museum's catalogue was a friend to her. Family,even. But now…
"I have no where to go."
Poor Dara. She's sort of like my mice, come to think of it. About to be displaced. If I ever finish her story.
I plan to...unless something else goes aft agley.