A doubtful guest arrived just before those invited

Saturday evening, perhaps twenty minutes before the arrival of some friends, as I sat on the Queen Anne, a shadow shape limped into my peripheral. I said Mouse! And then my tone changed immediately as I saw him slump to a stop on the floor just a few feet from me, and close his eyes. …Mouse?

I thought he may have perished before me in that instant, as he did not move when I interrogated him, nor when I stood up.

My mind searched for what I might do about his limp body. I fetched a wooden drawer that I’d just come across the day before, folded a paper towel in, and used a second to pick the poor thing up. He did not so much as blink when I approached, so I knew he must be feeling very poorly, but he was not yet dead..

I set the box on the kitchen table, and put a tiny butter-pat dish of water and some few pieces of granola in, and left him. He moved around a few times, perhaps trying to get comfortable. I’d warned my guests of his presence, and we left him in there while we gathered in the living room.

Hours later after they’d gone, I went in to check on my new charge, and found the box empty, without so much as a thank you. He clearly had recovered, with speed. Lord knows where he is now, but the insolence! Such rudeness!

Next morning after relaying this new to one of my visitors, I could only joke on the disappearance, “Just like a man!”  And then there’s me— always taking in broken things.

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