:: short stories ::
The days of an undergraduate student are plentiful but no where near infinite. In retrospect I find myself struggling to remember all but a handful of days among the years I spent in college, and the task grows ever more difficult with each passing season. All the weekends, classes, and events have blended seamlessly into one indistinguishable and continuous collage of memory. People are a different story however. I can remember clearly someone who I spent no longer than an afternoon beneath the sun discussing random thoughts and never saw again as clearly as I can see the person who passed me five minutes ago. It is the people who enriched my life, the ones who made those days worth living that I remember. I choose to write these stories so as not to forget the events that have shaped my life with their humor, their tragedy, and their cast of players; some who still have large roles in the play of my life at present.
The Slaying of the Beast
It was a day like any other, outstanding only in its ordinariness. I have a hard time recalling whether or not it was a Friday but since we were all indoors and not like to go anywhere, it must have been a weekday night. In those days the weekend was something which we all highly anticipated and planned accordingly. What event was going on where? What crew was throwing what? Which crew was going to be there? The cell phones rang and text messages beamed out across the networks reporting, confirming, and retorting every little tidbit that might weigh into consideration as we determined where we might venture forth each Friday and Saturday, and sometimes Thursday, night in search of new adventure and of course drunken amusement. But the phones were all silent, it was probably a Wednesday.
I remember our current distraction though some would say obsession at the time was Virtual Tennis on the Dreamcast. We'd spend hours around the sad little excuse Ted and Josh had for a TV playing against each other, hours meant for school, study, and sleep. Though I guess I shouldn't complain when we were much worse when we discovered Grand Tourismo later on. And it was around that tiny television on that very ordinary day my story begins.
Josh and Ted were going head to head as usual when suddenly I thought I saw moment from the corner of my eye. I turned my head to investigate but discovered nothing. It must have been a figment of my imagination I told myself and turn back my attention to the game at hand. But then I saw it again and this time I knew for sure I saw something white streak under the couch. I placed my ear to the ground to get a better vantage and staring back at me were the two beady eyes of a little white mouse. I informed Josh and Ted who immediately gather around, their game quickly forgotten, to witness our tiny guest.
At first Ted pondered how a mouse could have gotten into his living room but we quickly deduced it most likely came by way of his garage downstairs. The doors were often left open and it would be an easy task for a mouse to traverse the stairs leading to his house proper. But now the question remained what were we to do with the little fellow? It was high unlikely that he'd be able to find his way back out again and Ted wasn't about to let a rodent take up residence in his house. The only solution that presented itself was to catch it and release it, a feat easier said then done as we too quickly discovered. But at the onset of our hunt, we figured three college educated men against one tiny mouse, how could we possibly fail?
The mouse was probably to fast to catch by hand so we would need a net. Nets obviously lacking, we made do with what we had available, namely plastic bags. We would also need weapons of a sort as well, but the only things we could come up with were tennis racquets. So as we each equipped ourselves with some plastic bags from Albertsons and a tennis racquet, Ted attempted to rouse the rodent from his hiding place from underneath the couch into our waiting nets or bags as it were. Unfortunately the mouse was hardly accommodating to our plans. You know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men. While it did bestir itself, all it did was to move from underneath one couch to underneath the other. So we switched our game plan a bit.
Our new idea was to scare it out from underneath both couches simultaneously. Once in the open it would be an easy matter to corner and catch it between the three of us. And so we climbed up onto the couches and began jumping up and down while banging the back of the couch with our racquets. In the midst of this performance I stopped and looked at the scene before me. Three grown men with tennis racquets in one hand and plastic bags over the other jumping up and down on two couches, it was absolutely ridiculous, but those are the kinds of friends I have. If someone came walking by the window just then, I'm sure they would have thought we were crazy and I'm not entirely certain we weren't. Needless to say this plan proved fruitless as well. It was obviously going to require a bit more forethought than we initially anticipated.
Things I learned that night, some vacuum cleaners can't reach completely underneath couches, mice aren't afraid of flashlights and other bright shiny objects, and sometimes David has the advantage over Goliath. So after several futile minutes spent trying to capture, corral, and cajole this pesky critter out of his den we came up with THE plan, the coup de gras. We would lift both couches at a 45 degree angle and lean them against the wall, thus taking away all cover away from our adversary. He would then be completely at our mercy. But when we carried out this masterful plan, there was not a sign of the little guy anywhere. As we stood there, dumbfounded and wondering how this little white devil pulled a Houdini level escape act, one of the couches slipped off the wall and fell over on its side. Resigned and dismayed, we gave up and surrendered to our own failure.
As we were rearranging the living room, which was in a state of utter chaos after our mouse hunt, we lifted up the big couch, the one that had slipped off the wall only to find the squished lifeless body of the mouse that had eluded us the entire night. In the end the couch had done what we could not. Oh well, one of those little quirks of life I suppose, but the end result was the same nonetheless. The beast was slain and warriors rejoiced. It was back to Virtual Tennis and another ordinary night.