2011-02-19

Musical Chairs Blog Chain

This month is the Say Something New challenge, where we write in a different POV than we usually do. My normal POV is third person and I’ve been assigned first person. Let me know what you think! And don’t forget to check out the other links in the chain at the end of my piece.

I apologize for the length but I just couldn't seem to pare it down any more.

Aunt Mae Gets a Cat

It was Thanksgiving. Jeff and Mike were home from college and I was taking a holiday from the insurance firm I worked for as a secretary. No sooner had we all arrived and taken our coats off than Jeff and Mike were sent outside to rake leaves and I was muffled in a large frilly apron, firmly ensconced in the kitchen.

I was just opening the oven door to check on the pies when there was a shriek behind me and the clatter of baking dishes being dropped.

“What is it?” I asked, whirling around so fast I barked my shin on the oven door.

“Close that door!” Aunt Mae demanded. She stooped down to pick up the pans she’d dropped. “It was nothing but a mouse. Just startled me, that’s all.”

“A mouse?” I glance around the kitchen and edged closer to one of the chairs.

“A mouse. And in my kitchen too. Nervy little beggar.”

Suicidal little beggar, I thought.

The mouse wisely choose to stay hidden the rest of the day and supper went on the table with no further incidents.

“Aunt Mae has a mouse,” I announced after grace had been said and everyone had a full plate.

“A mouse?” Mike and Jeff asked at the same time.

“We never had a problem with mice when Buttons was around,” Uncle Sam said. Buttons was Aunt Mae’s tabby that died several years ago. She liked to pretend he hadn’t meant that much to her, but she refused to get another cat.

“Esther Holland has kittens,” I told her. “She stopped me on the street yesterday to see if I’d be interested in one.”

“You always said, where there’s one pest there’s bound to be more,” said Mike. “If the house is getting overrun with mice you’ll have to get a cat.”

“No I won’t, Sam will set a trap for it,” Aunt Mae said calmly.

My brothers and I stared at each other. Sam? As in Uncle Sam? The man who rewired a toaster and blew out the kitchen window? The man who cut the brake lines on the car when he was trying to change the oil? The man who was not let near a hedge or garden with the clippers?

Sam, at the head of the table, smiled slowly. “I’d be right happy to get rid of that critter for you, Mae. I have just the thing for it.”

Aunt Mae’s determined look faltered just a little, but she rallied. “You can get to it right after the dishes are done.”

Uncle Sam was true to his word. He did have just the thing for that mouse - a trap.

“Won’t that make a bit of a mess?” Mike asked. “I mean, that thing’s for a rat, and you’re only going after a mouse.”

“That’s the biggest rat trap I’ve ever seen.” said Jeff.

It took Uncle Sam two hours to set the trap. There’d be silence, then a rattle, then a sudden snap and a curse. When he finally came out he seemed surprised to see us standing there.

“Uh, get the trap set, Uncle Sam?” Jeff asked.

“Course I did. No trouble at all.” He pushed by us. “I’m going to bed.”

The next morning I made my way blearily to the kitchen for my morning coffee. Jeff and Mike were there already, which should have warned me.

“I wouldn’t go in there if I were you,” Jeff said.

“Why not?” I glared at them. “You two drink all the coffee again?”

“Don’t have a conniption,” Mike said, “But you really don’t want to go in there.”

I looked from one to the other, finally starting to understand. I lowered my voice. “Did Uncle Sam’s trap work?”

“And how!” Jeff said. I was spared the details as Aunt Mae came bustling down the hallway.

“I don’t know what possessed me to oversleep,” she was muttering. She stopped when she saw us standing there. “What’s the matter, forget how to make your own coffee?”

“I really don’t’ feel like coffee this morning,” I said.

“Aunt Mae,” said Jeff with his winning smile, “Maybe we should go out for breakfast this morning.”

Mike was a little less subtle. “You don’t want to go in there. Uncle Sam caught the mouse.”

“It’ll take more than a dead mouse to keep me out of my own kitchen,” she said, and pushed open the door.

I never did find out how bad it was in there. Aunt Mae couldn’t have been in there for more than a few seconds before she was back, white-faced and wild-eyed. She took a couple of deep breaths and then for the first time in my life I heard her raise her voice at Uncle Sam.

“Samuel Eugene Atkinson, get down here this minute!”

Uncle Sam rushed down the stairs, bathrobe askew and shaving cream over half his face. We backed away to give him room.

“I am going out,” said Aunt Mae in a firm tone of voice. “I want every trace of that mouse removed from my kitchen before I get back.”

She didn’t wait for an answer, just picked up her purse and coat, and slapped her hat on her head. She actually shuddered as she glanced at the kitchen door before leaving. She didn’t return until lunch time.

“Discovered a hole where that mouse of yours got into the kitchen,” Sam said cheerfully. “Bet there’s more of the little critters. I’ll need to get me some more traps.”

A shudder went through Aunt Mae.

“That won’t be necessary, Sam.” She set the brown paper shopping bag she was carrying onto the floor. Out scampered a lively, orange-striped kitten. We watched as it explored every inch of the kitchen.

“What are you going to name him, Aunt Mae?” Jeff asked. He always was the brave one.

“His name is Killer.” You could see the dare in her eye as she said it.

No one even cracked a smile.



Week 1:
Big Words writing in the omniscient POV
Jamiekswriter writing in the third person POV
Ralfast writing in the second person POV

Week 2:
ReganLeigh writing in the omniscient POV
Yours truly, Lady Cat, writing in the first person POV
Orion mk3 writing in the first person POV

Week 3:
Abielle Rose
Lady Mage
xcomplex writing in the second person POV

6 comments:

ralfast said...

That Aunt Mae is a tough one. Nicely done!

C R Ward said...

Thank you! I once had visions of a series of Aunt Mae stories, but they never got past the idea stage. :-)

Nofretiri said...

It was fun reading Aunt Mae's story! :-) Please MORE!!!

Besides that, I'm wondering, what was so horrific in that rat trap? I mean, if she had a cat before, I guess, that cat had brought mice for her: alive mice, dead mice, half eaten mice ... and every cat's owner knows, now and then they even vomit mice! *double-yuck!* I try to imagine what's worse than THAT?!?

bigwords88 said...

I like this so much. The little touches (shaving cream, the shudder, the very last line) add so much to the story, and the length is perfect for the story. The only thing which took me a moment to register was the use of 'barked' - did you mean 'banged' or is there a colloquialism I am ignorant of?

We need more Aunt Mae stories. This is so, so entertaining. :)

graceunderpressure said...

Rat-tastic! This is a book, srsly. Write it!

C R Ward said...

Thank you for all your wonderful comments!