One summer I was engaged as a decoy, foil and shield by a local general contractor. I detailed some of my adventures on that job in an August 2007 post. (If you want to see why I describe my job that summer as decoy, foil and shield instead of 'laborer,' you'd have to read that post.)
These were mostly young couples moving into this subdivision still under construction. Which means the wives were young enough, or I was old enough, that I couldn't help but be very aware of these facts.
When I would get to work, one of the things I would do would be to check out all the various houses under construction -- just quickly -- making sure that nothing terrible had happened overnight -- you know, checking for vandalism, that sort of thing.
One morning, whilst in the course of these rounds, I was hailed from the driveway of one of the few finished houses.
By a young housewife.
In a nightgown.
Well, that got my attention.
Her husband, she told me, was out of town. Would I be so kind, she asked, as to step into the house for awhile?
Would I? Me?
Yes! she said. And quickly, she added, and she turned back toward the house, bidding me to follow.
I can see you're getting a little overheated. Maybe I shouldn't tell this story.
Maybe I should finish it.... tomorrow? No? You want me to finish the story now?
If this were a book, this is where I'd tell you to turn the page.......
Well, I followed her in of course.
It would have been horribly ungallant for me to do otherwise, don't you think?
And as soon as I caught up with her, she practically pushed me...
...into her family room.
There, by the fireplace, was a mousetrap. In the mousetrap was a mouse who had somehow positioned his shoulder between the business end of the mousetrap and his neck, which would otherwise have been broken. Thus, this mouse was very much alive.
And the excited young housewife? She wanted me to remove the mouse and the mousetrap and set the mouse free.
It was quite one thing for this woman to kill a mouse by leaving a trap... but if the trap didn't kill the mouse she was not going to kill it with her hands. Or a broom. Nor was I to kill it, she said.
So I picked up the trap and it's wriggling content, went out into the field behind the house, pulled out a screwdriver and opened the trap. All along, of course, I was talking to the mouse, explaining what I was doing. He might have been small, but I still didn't want him to bite me.
I was successful in my mission to liberate the mouse. How the mouse coped with his injuries thereafter is beyond the scope of this narrative.
I returned my attention to the young housewife who had been hovering nearby, observing carefully my every move... but at a distance where she could quickly retreat to the house if the mouse decided to avenge itself on her.
The lady was quite grateful for my assistance.
She was, in fact, so grateful...
... that she said 'thank you.'