Because I am a good and careful mother and I make sure I feed my children (and their friends) a balanced, nutritious diet, I ordered in Pizza a couple of nights ago. Well, I have my excuses. I was due to go out with a couple of girlfriends who are known to my kids as ‘the usual suspects’ because they are the people I see most of for GNOs (Girls’ Nights Out in case you hadn’t managed to figure that one out).
We had decided to go and see A Single Man, the film for which Colin Firth was Oscar-nominated, on the grounds that the chances of any of our husbands taking us to see a film with gay men in it were - well - what can I say but oink, oink, flap, flap... I had arranged all this, cheerfully forgetting that TD wanted to come home with a friend, tart themselves up, grab a bite to eat and then be transported back to school to watch their mates in a Gymnastic display. I had also forgotten that the Shah had headed off to the Midlands somewhere on a business trip (for which read ‘Getting Smashed in the Hotel Bar’ Trip). Not that the culinary welfare of my children would have been much different if the Shah had been in residence – it would have been Pizza out of the freezer as opposed to Pizza out of the Delivery Man’s scooter box. But I digress.
So....the pizza man rings the doorbell, the girls are upstairs and I hear TS coming in through the back door from his hockey practice. As I open the front door Paddy, the ASBO cat, has obviously come up behind me and shoots past and out into the front garden. Nothing unusual in that – Paddy is obsessed with the front door, spending many happy hours staring at it, willing it to open. I pay the nice man, take the boxes and shut the door again. I turn and yell out to the girls (by now half way down the stairs)and TS that Pizza’s up. Then I take one step forward in the direction of the kitchen and land fatefully on something soft and yielding. Of course I jumped a mile, thinking that I had stepped on the other cat’s tail or something, but he hadn’t yowled so that didn’t quite ring true. Holding the pizza boxes flat in front of me meant that I couldn’t actually see my feet, so I lifted the boxes up to look at what I had stepped on.
There, supine on the hall rug, lay a very large, very mauled and very dead squirrel.
(Cue voice over from Keifer Sutherland...) What follows takes place between 6pm and 6.22pm last Tuesday evening...
Actually, what follows is a bit of a blur. I do believe I shrieked “FUUUUUUUUCK” at the top of my lungs and ran into the sitting room. The girls screamed in unison and shot back up the stairs. Big beardy TS also bawled something beginning with ‘F’ and ran through the house, driven by a morbid fascination, to have a look at the corpse. I also have a vague memory of yelling “where’s your (expletive deleted) father when I need him?” as it dawned on me that TS’s rodent phobia (see previous posting entitled A Tale of Two Kitties...) meant that he was going to be feck-all use in clearing away the carcass. I was so utterly repulsed by the sight of this giant rat-with-a-furry-tail spread-eagled on my favourite rug that I could hardly bring myself to go near it, and I’m not the squeamish type (well not really). Then, of course, I managed to convince myself that it wasn’t dead, merely unconscious which actually made me want to retch as I got close to it.
Eventually, I had to grab the coal tongs and two carrier bags, one inside the other for safety, and then gingerly, and at arm’s length, pick it up and bag it, tying the ends in a double knot. Meanwhile, the girls had kept up a stream of squeals and “like ewwww, grrrrooossssss, Mum” from halfway up the stairs where they remained, gazing horrified through the banisters until the coast was clear.
So, being the kind of good and careful mother I really am, I then spent a happy ten minutes chasing TS round the house with dead squirrel in a bag to get him back for leaving me with the cadaver.
As I left for my GNO, his voice drifted after me down the garden path...”You are a bad, bad person!”
He loves me really. Honest.