You may officially call yourself “screwed” when your four-year-old daughter marches right up in the middle of a bunch of kids of the male persuasion, puts her hands on her hips, and says, “Hey, Boys!”
I just shook my head, and Mr. Jenn put his head in his hands and began to moan. Our journey to screwed-dom accelerated as she began to relate the latest Worrell Family Adventure that transpired on our spring camping trip. We trembled as we watched the whole thing unfold on the camp playground.
“Boys, have I got a story for you!” she paused and eyed each of them to make sure their eyes rested on her. Said boys kept playing in the sand. One ate a handful and grinned at his brother with sand pebbles in his teeth. Undeterred, Lil’ K. continued her story.
“We-e-e-e-lll,” she said. “It all started when there was a mouse in our camper. We kept stepping on mouse poop, and it was everywhere.” She took one hand off her hip and gestured around her head to make her point. “Everywhere,” she added.
The boy with sand in his teeth perked up at the mention of poop. He faced her.
“Daddy set traps all over the pwace!” she said. “And then we heard a SNAP from under the couch! Daddy was so excited! He looked under the couch, but he didn’t catched the mouse!”
She lowered her voice and leaned in to the older boys whose heads were still buried in their sand creations. Pebble Teeth watched her with rapt attention.
“All the traps were empty. The mouses got away!” She jabbed her finger in the air for emphasis. Mr. Jenn growled next to me in recollection of his lost rodent battle. “Damnable little bastards,” he muttered quietly to me.
Lil’ K. continued, “And then, Daddy said lots of funny words. You know I can’t say them, but Hoooooo-wwwwwweeeeeeee, they were really funny.”
Mr. Jenn rolled his eyes, and I stifled a snort. A few mice got in our camper and had sex while we stored it during the unusually balmy winter. We thought we had gotten the rodents before we left, but the mouse crap everywhere proved we were still under infestation.
Mr. Jenn looked at me. “Is she going to tell everything we do?” he asked.
“Duh,” I said. “I mean, we’re kind of a storyworthy family. Look!”
I pointed discretely to the little boys who now gaped at Lil’ K. with raised eyebrows.
“She owns them,” I said.
“I must admit, her timing is impeccable,” nodded Mr. Jenn.
“Just what did he say?” one of the older boys asked with a naughty grin.
“Oh, I can’t tell you,” Lil’ K. answered with folded arms, “but it was really hi-war-i-ous. It started with…”
“Okay, that’s enough,” I told her. “Time to move on.”
Disappointed, the boys all went back to their sand creations.
“You forgot to tell them that I did catch the mouse on the sticky stuff,” said Mr. Jenn, so as not to leave the impression with these preadolescent boys that a wily man such as himself could possibly be defeated by a lowly mouse.
“Yeah,” said Lil’ K. nodding vigorously, “and Daddy squished him in the sticky stuff, and I bet he exploded.”
Again, all eyes turned to her.
“Were there guts?” the oldest inquired.
“Probably,” Lil’ K. answered. “Daddy folded him up and put him in the trash can. Daddy said, `I gotcha you Son–“
“Enough!” I interrupted. Mr. Jenn’s head again descended into his hands.
“Time to go!” I said.
As I was collecting our things, I heard Lil’ K. say, “My daddy may not have catched a lot of mouses, but he sure is funny.”
“Well, that counts for something,” I nudged Mr. Jenn encouragingly. He just snorted, his mouse-catching manliness called in question in the sandbox.
Anyone could have predicted what happened next. That night, Mr. Jenn launched a mouse campaign so murderous and sinister that it could have caused the extinction of the entire species. He even changed the kind of cheese he used because he thought that a heavier brand might insure proper trap deployment.
The next morning, we had one mouse in a sticky trap, and two in snap traps. Mr. Jenn danced around the camper, lording his victory over the rodent kingdom.
“Congratulations,” I said, patting him on the back. “I’m very happy for you.”
“We need to get right and go to the playground,” he said. “we need to find those boys…”
I just linked this post to Yeah Write #53. Check them out!