There I am in the paper #50

Here you go, another of my articles from the Irish Examiner’s Feelgood and beware you might not sleep well after reading!

Don’t you love this time of year when children return to school healthy and within days come down with the plague. But I wonder is that worse than when they come home and say,

“Mum I’ve a note for you.”

After five minutes rummaging and the removal of at least two apples with one bite out of them, you’re handed a crumpled note with the heart-stopping text,
Head lice have been reported in your child’s class. Please check your child’s hair thoroughly.

Within seconds you’ve begun to scratch.

Yes, it’s a fact, imagined head lice are more deadly than the real thing. However, believe it or not there is something even worse… imagined mice!
I can testify to this as I sit here exhausted after a night filled with sleep, punctuated by imaginings.

It began over a week ago when I went to Dublin for a few days. Asleep in the bedroom of my childhood my phone beeped at 5am. I leapt out of bed and dressed in world record time, all ready for action until reality kicked in. That was not an alarm.

I reached for my phone to see a message from my daughter,

“Mum, there’s a mouse in my room, by the door, looking at me.”

Oh, what joy to be hundreds of kilometres from home!

“Shout for your dad,” I texted.

“I did, he can’t hear me.”

“Shout louder,” I suggested.

“I can’t, I don’t want the mouse to hear me,” she replied.

As I burst my sides laughing she texted again.

“I think I’ll make a run for it. He won’t go for me will he?”

“It’s a mouse, not a Rottweiler,” I replied from my very safe distance.

The following morning, having established she was alive, I rather cruelly suggested he might have been attracted to her messy bedroom.

“Maybe tidy it?” I texted.

“What? Go into my room? Who do you think I am, Jackie Chan?” she replied.

“You saw I’m a celebrity get me out of here, the rats were harmless,” I texted.

“Ye, well I’m so not entering that this year,” she replied.

Yer man was on the case and assured me he had it all under control. Traps were set and our daughter moved out of her room, possibly for life!

Next morning I was awoken yet again by an early text, this time I stayed in bed.

“Can’t sleep. I can hear mice walking all over the house.”

“It’s your imagination. Go back to sleep.”

But neither of us were convinced. The following day I rang yer man for a report.

“Well,” he said, “this is a whole class of different mouse to the one we had years ago. I put down three traps. In two of them the chocolate is missing but there’s no mouse. However, the third trap’s a mystery.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s gone. I’ve searched everywhere. There’s no sign of it. Either this mouse is laughing at us or he’s running around with a trap behind him and I’m nearly out of chocolate.”

I updated my mum on the situation.

“I’ll just warn you now, “she said, “there’s never only one.” I ignored her.
The following day,

“Confidential update… Found missing trap in suitcase, but no mouse! Have discovered a hole. Will update further tomorrow. Regards, Mousecatcher…almost.”

The following day I returned home just in time to see yer man walking down the stairs with a bag in his hands.

“Got him, “he said grinning like a big game hunter.

A full week has passed since then and the body count remains at one. Yer man assures me it’s over. But every night I lie awake listening as something real or imagined snuffles under my bed, and I remember my mothers words,

“There’s never only one.”

London Irish Graduate Network
photo credit: ChezMummy The dreaded school head lice letter via photopin (license)
photo credit: DaPuglet Field Mouse Gets A Reprieve via photopin (license)
photo credit: jaci XIII Risk and reward via photopin (license)

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