Fate: The Practical Joker

Fate seems to think I need a surprise every now and then to keep me on my toes.  Last month’s dough snake certainly succeeded in that, and now Fate’s twisted sense of humour has struck again.  The setup for its latest practical joke was elaborate, going back more than two years.

My vehicle was only a couple of years old at the time and still had its ‘new-car’ scent, but one day I hopped in and got a whiff of… something else.

A really gross ‘something else’.  As if meat juice had been wiped up with sweaty gym socks, then sealed in a plastic bag and left to ferment for a month.  Fortunately it wasn’t terribly strong, but it was definitely pungent.  So I took it to the dealer for a warranty repair. 

When I picked up the vehicle, the service manager gave me a patronizing smile and assured me the smell had just been a bit of stale moisture in the cabin filter:  “It’s all fixed now, so don’t you worry your pretty head about it, little lady.”  (Okay, he didn’t actually say that — if he had, he’d still be nursing the scars; but that was the gist of his attitude.)

They’d ‘fixed’ it, all right. Or rather, fixed me:  They’d poured some vile air freshener into the cabin air intake.  For the next several weeks I had to drive with my windows down, surrounded by a stench like a half-rotted zombie drenched in cheap perfume.  At last the foul miasma faded, and I heaved a sigh of relief. 

Fast-forward to a couple of weeks ago.  (Fate is nothing if not patient.)

I was doing some routine vehicle maintenance, changing the oil and replacing the air filter.  Hubby wandered over and peeked under the hood. 

“What’s this?” he inquired, tugging at a small stick protruding from the air intake.  A moment later he recoiled.  “Ugh!  You can take that out of there — you’re wearing gloves!” 

As he stomped off to wash his hands, I investigated.

Sure enough, the ‘stick’ was the stiffened tail of a mouse that had crawled into the intake and died two years ago.  (Clearly the service department had investigated the problem thoroughly… NOT.)  Anyway, by now the mouse was desiccated and odorless, and when I extracted the little corpse it was feather-light and perfectly preserved.  I’m sure Fate was doubled over, laughing so hard it peed its pants. 

I’m afraid to contemplate what its next prank will be, but I’m bracing myself…

*

P.S. Thanks to everyone who expressed concern for our safety during the recent catastrophic flooding and mudslides.  (Last week’s news report here:  https://www.accuweather.com/en/severe-weather/death-toll-climbs-following-catastrophic-flooding-in-british-columbia/1049096)   

We’re fine – we missed the worst of the rain, and our creek didn’t overflow.  But our hearts go out to all the people who lost their lives, livestock, and/or homes.  On top of COVID and the summer forest fires, it’s another devastating blow.

Book 17 update: Plotting is going well, and I’ll likely start putting words on the page this week. It’s good to be off and running! 🙂

Of Mice, Men, And Smellograms

Ever since we moved into our new house I’ve been waging war against mice.

Some men might be worried if they woke in the middle of the night to find their wife sneaking around the bed with a flashlight, but Hubby greeted the sight with his usual resigned tolerance:

Him:  “What are you doing?”

Me:  “There’s a mouse in here.”

Him:  “Can’t be.”

Me:  “There is.  I heard it.  It woke me up.”

He knows I’m a light sleeper, but he didn’t really believe there were mice in the house; and even if there were, he doubted that I could be woken by the pitter-patter of their tiny feet.  So he observed with skepticism while I bought mousetraps and set them under our bed.

Imagine the scene:

We’re lying in bed in the dark.  He’s snoozing.  I’m staring tensely at the ceiling, clutching a flashlight under the covers.

And then… I hear the little bastard skittering across the floor.

I bolt up in bed, yanking the covers off Hubby and jabbing my flashlight in the direction of the sound.

Hubby:  “What the…?”

Me:  “I saw him!  I saw the little shit!  He ran under the bed!”

Hubby:  “Yes, dear.  Please turn off the flashlight and lie down.  And give back my blanket.”

So we settled down again…

SNAP!

I rocketed out of bed, flashlight blazing.  “I got him!  Ha!”

When I held up the trap containing the still-twitching body, Hubby had to admit that there actually had been a mouse in the bedroom.  But he thought the excitement was over and he’d finally get some sleep.  Poor deluded man.

I got up and disposed of the body (the mouse’s, not Hubby’s); then reset the trap and went back to bed to stare at the ceiling some more.

SNAP!

Once more Hubby jolts awake to find his wife doing a pagan victory dance around the bed, stark naked and waving a dead mouse.

Did I mention he’s a very tolerant guy?

After I’d caught several mice, the traps on the main floor remained untouched.  I still caught one in the crawl space every day or two, but after a while my catch dwindled and I stopped checking the traps every day… until I got my first whiff of rotting mouse and went down to find a bloated corpse leaking malodorous body fluids.

Eeuwww!

Needless to say, I check my trap lines daily now; and I’m working at closing every tiny aperture around the foundation to stop the invaders.

So when Hubby suggested mice for today’s topic, he added, “Make sure you mention the swollen one.  Maybe you could include a smellogram.”

Me (laughing):  “Is that even a thing?  ‘Cause if it’s not, it should be!  Imagine a knock at your door, and some uniformed guy holds out a jar and says, ‘Smellogram for you.  Please sniff here.”

I did find the word listed in Urban Dictionary, but the definition insists it’s specifically related to farts.  So no smellograms for you today, dear readers.

But if you’re haunted by the recurring image of a naked middle-aged woman dancing around brandishing a dead mouse in the middle of the night, then my work here is done.

Have a good week, and sleep tight…

P.S. I finished the draft of Book 12, woohoo!  It’s with the beta readers now.  Stay tuned for a title announcement and a release date!