It was morning, and the boys and I had just finished reading back-to-back Curious George stories when Delilah, our cat, came in.
Flap, flap, flap went the plastic doggie door flap, a trick she has just learned. I look up and the words, “Good morning, Delilah,” die on my lips. In her mouth is a limp chipmunk.
She drops her catch in the middle of the living room floor and stands there, a proud huntress. The chipmunk sees his opportunity and takes it. He scampers around the couch and darts under my computer desk.
Delilah follows the chipmunk. I follow Delilah.
For a moment it appeared that the chipmunk is trapped in the corner. Leaving Delilah as lookout (and the boys who were peering over the back of the couch), I run for the kitchen and grab a large Tupperware container. Nope, no knock-off brand plastic storage container for this job.
Back in a flash, I start moving various cords and computer whatnots out of the way. No chipmunk. I pick up Delilah and move her over.
The chipmunk materializes from out of nowhere. He leaps into the air, elegantly executing a backwards triple flip, lands on my keyboard, does a Google search for “How to Get out of a People House” (the never-written and rarely talked about sequel to Dr. Seuss’ “A People House”), quickly updates his Facebook status to read “Yuck! I am trapped in some woman’s house who apparently doesn’t know how to dust her keyboard,” then drops down from the edge of my desk and disappears behind a bookcase.
OK, that last bit about Googling and Facebooking may be a bit of an exaggeration, but the tiny rodent footprints in the dust on my keyboard speak volumes about my neglect in the dusting department.
While all this is taking place, I can hear Cody and Carter clapping and cheering. I cannot tell if they are cheering for me, Delilah or the chipmunk.
I pick up Delilah and toss her out the front door. I grab our emergency flashlight from the kitchen counter (for I believe this constitutes an emergency) and shine it behind the bookshelf hoping to catch a view of the varmint. I do not see him but now know that he is a master of camouflage, reminiscent of Peeta from “The Hunger Games.”
I block one side of the bookcase, giving him only one exit, warn the boys for the thousandth time to stay on the couch, and then start whapping the bookshelf and making a racket. My half-baked plan works, for he bolts from his hiding place and runs.
He is standing by the front door. Alas, it is closed. I creep up to him, staying low, my Tupperware container at the ready. He darts under the entryway table. Then, in a move that should not have worked, I make blind scooping motions under the table with my container.
When I pull it out it has a small, frightened chipmunk curled up in the bottom. I have no lid. It takes me about two seconds to swing wide the door and hurdle both chipmunk and container outside. I think at this point I may have screamed.
The freed chipmunk takes cover behind our recycle bin under the watchful eye of Delilah. I turn to go back in the house but stop, unwilling to leave him to a fate of certain mauling. As I head towards cat and chipmunk, I see from the corner of my eye that the boys are about to open the front screen door.
The chipmunk, possibly disoriented by his experience or perhaps looking for further hospitality, runs past me and directly towards the soon-to-be-open door.
I shriek out orders: Do not open the door!
The chipmunk clears the three steps to our front door in one bound, stands for a moment as if he has rung the doorbell and is waiting to be let back in, and then plops down into the bushes beside our house and is gone.
And who says you need a cup of coffee to wake up in the morning?Nancy Magnusson is one of five reader columnists whose work appears on this page. She lives with her husband and their two young sons just outside of Gig Harbor. They enjoy focusing on the simple things in life and taking the road less traveled. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.