Thursday, August 23, 2007


Every morning I awaken to the sound of innumerable tiny feet and claws scrabbling back and forth across the ceiling overhead. There is a colony of deer mice harbored above the tiles, and they apparently take great joy in holding early-morning races directly over where I sleep. I picture them scurrying around up there, their diseased little tails flicking around behind them. One of these mornings I'll inadvertently inhale the airborne hantavirus from their droppings. By noon, my lungs will liquify. By dusk, my ashen head will regain the pillow never to rise again. My tearful mother will go on Oprah, who will dramatically announce how deadly the disease is, and offer--after the commercial break--to share the methods of prevention.

This morning, however, was not that morning. Instead, I awakened to the typical scrabble of tiny claws, and, listenning intently, could make out my mother's half of a conversation upstairs. She was most likely talking to Fran, our neighbor from across the street, who is well over eighty years old and is frequently seen on her front lawn wearing a cowboy hat, tank top, and moon boots. Fran has a knack for climbing atop high things (a rock, a stepladder) and then finding herself unable to get down. Sometimes she stands for many minutes, yelling and flailing her arms, waiting to be rescued. As I climbed the stairs, however, it was not the toes of Fran's moon boots I saw at the front door. Instead, my mother's audience was comprised of a family of deer, who listened attentively for a moment before continuing to devour the new grass on the lawn. My mother finished her thought, said "I wish you'd just eat the weeds and leave the grass alone," and came inside.


James said...

Hey Mabby,
Did you ever read The Hot Zone. Maybe I asked you that before. It's about Ebola, but reads like a very scary zombie story. Until my 20s, sleeping in houses in the woods always made me afraid Bigfoot would come peeking in at the window.

Aaron said...

Great write. I love your writing. Make sure to inform us once you are writing for a sit-com. We'll be sure to tune in.
-A and P