All up in my grill

Tonight I had planned to grill some chicken. It didn’t happen. Here’s why:

It all started out so innocently. I marinated the chicken. I made my merry way out onto the deck and pulled the cover off of the grill. I popped open the lid and—something caught my eye. Underneath the grates was a whole mess of grass. I looked more closely. It was a whole mess of grass in the shape of a circle.

Hmm, I thought, I guess I haven’t used the grill in a few weeks thanks to our jaunt around the South. A little bird must have found a nice, safe home for its nest in there.

I went around the back of the grill and pulled the bottom tray out so I could remove the nest. And here’s where it got crazy.

Something moved. Actually, scurried. Out from the grill and along the deck. In a split second it occurred to me—birds don’t scurry. But I know something that does. A MOUSE.

I watched this blur scurry along and disappear. I screamed. Not a short, “Oh!” I screamed like a LITTLE GIRL. Shrill and loud and embarrassing. I immediately looked around to see if my neighbor just happened to be outside. Because then it would be even more humiliating. Fortunately she wasn’t.

I slowly made my way down the stairs of the deck and peeked underneath it to see where the mouse/rat/terrifying thing that scurries went. I squinted into the darkness, looking for any movement. I saw a twitch in the far right corner. And then another twitch a few inches away. I started seeing lots of twitches. Soon I realized there was a SWARM of mice underneath the deck.

But something strange happened. I didn’t scream like a little girl this time. Instead, I locked eyes with a white mouse that stood motionless smack in the center of his little mice friends. Without thinking, I spoke.

“Hi, Socrates.” For some reason, he just looked like a Socrates. He nodded in acknowledgement. Then he let out a little squeak, and all his little mice friends answered him in unison with one, high-pitched squeal.

It was immediately clear that Socrates was some kind of leader here. That gave me an idea.

I was conveniently holding the day’s newspaper. I looked down at it, shot a glance over at Socrates, and then lowered the paper down to the ground.

“Tear it.” I said it firmly and with no nonsense. Socrates understood immediately and scurried on over. His little teeth started munching on the end of the newspaper.

“Tear it!” I said again, this time with a snarl on my lips. Socrates squeaked, and a few of his little mice friends came on over and started ripping the paper to shreds along with him.

“You teach them,” I whispered. “They listen to you, Socrates.” Suddenly, I let out a maniacal laugh that filled the whole backyard.

All I could think was, this is brilliant! I wonder…

In minutes, I had set up a little obstacle course in the backyard. There were ropes hanging every which way. I commanded Socrates, and thus the mice, to crawl up and down them based on my commands. I even set up tiny ladders for them. It was the cutest. Yet oh so creepy.

“Up. Rope. Speed. SPEED!”

I grew more and more excited. And my laugh grew more maniacal. I dug out two super old-fashioned suitcases and with a single command (“In”) taught them to crawl inside and be still.

My plan was so close to being successful I could taste it. With old-fashioned suitcases in hand, I walked all the way up the street and to the traffic light. Earlier that day a construction worker was directing traffic since the light had gone out. He had screamed at me for not moving quickly enough.

My breath quickened when I saw that the traffic light was still out. And he was still there.

I walked swiftly towards the construction guy and stopped a few feet away.

“What the hell are you doing?” he screamed at me. Without answering, I calmly set down my suitcases and tipped them onto their sides.

Firmly, I yelled, “Out!” and all my little mice scurried out, Socrates in the lead. A sea of mice moved closer and closer to the construction guy. He just stared down at them, shaking his fist at me, screaming.

Without getting too graphic, let’s just say that things did not end well for the construction guy.

“Revenge! SWEET REVENGE!” I cackled. My mouse army squeaked with delight.

And that’s why I didn’t get a chance to grill the chicken.

[Disclaimer: I realize I might have tricked some of you again. This did not actually happen. Well, some of it did. I actually did find a mouse’s nest in the grill and screamed like a little girl. I refused to use it to cook the chicken because it totally grossed me out. AND a guy did yell at me for driving too slowly when the traffic light went out today. It really hurt my feelings. But the rest of it is based loosely on the film Willard starring Crispin (Mcfly, anybody home?) Glover. Love him.


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