There was a shrew in our house a few years back. And no, I’m not talking about my younger self – I shall ne’er be tamed! We were finding coffee grains around the kitchen, and nobody drinks coffee in our house. So either Juan Valdez and his donkey were sneaking around while we slept, or we had a rodent.
We concluded he had to be coming up from the basement, so before bed we put a delicious crouton in a mousetrap at the top of the stairs. The next morning, we checked the trap. Whoa — the crouton was gone, but the trap hadn’t been set off. We had a clever little bugger on our hands.
The next night, we set another trap at the top of the stairs, baited with another scrumptious crouton. This time, we sprinkled flour all around the trap so we’d see the proof if Ratatouille came by. We also set a second trap at the bottom of the stairs.
The next morning, we walked out into the kitchen and by god, the wee wizard had done it again. The crouton was gone. The trap was intact. And we could see his itsy-bitsy footprints in the flour. Holy shit, Splinter was living in the basement. A goddamn ninja. I imagined him doing a super bendy Matrix move over the trap, wielding a chopstick like a bow staff to remove the majestic crouton.
So then we walked down the stairs to check the trap at the bottom. And there he was. A shrew, cute as a mouse and dead as a doornail. Frozen with rigor mortis in the trap, the crouton firmly held between his tiny hands. The story of his tragic end was crystal clear: his arms were so short and the crouton was so big, the chunk of bread had obscured his vision as he tore down the stairs with his prize. Bam. Lights out, Mr. Jingles.
Today, I was walking down those same stairs with a basket of dirty laundry. My belly is so big now, there’s nowhere for me to comfortably lodge the basket. It just sticks out there atop the ol’ kegger with my arms fully extended, inhibiting my vision as I gingerly creep down the stairs. I couldn’t see my feet anyway, but now I couldn’t see the stairs either. Prego peril. I know there’s no trap at the bottom, but there might be a Lego, or one of the trillion things in our home with bloody wheels. So, as much as I’d like to see myself as a beautiful pod growing a brand new human, I’m sorry — I just don’t. I am the Penguin from Batman. I am Humpty Dumpty. I am a shrew with a motherfuckin’ big ass crouton.