March 28th, 2021


Idol Survivor: "Mouse Tales"

Mouse Tales
idol survivor | daily-fic challenge, day 9, | 1470 words


About a year and a half ago, HalfshellHusband (HSH) was diagnosed with arthritis in his knees. That, by the way, is the kind of crap your body pulls as you get older and it starts thinking about breaking up with you. It doesn't want the drama of a big, ugly discussion, so it goes the passive-aggressive route instead of talking things over like a grown-up.

The treatment for HSH's knees is to ice them for about 20 minutes after exercising. Since that left him stuck in the kitchen listening to music that whole time, I suggested he "mouse" the cat then too, since Kasha loves having someone work the catnip mouse for him and he never gets enough playtime.

(That last part isn't because we don't play with the cat, it's because he's never ready to be finished playing.)

The arrangement seemed to go pretty well for the two of them, although I found the mouse and its stick in the diet-soda cupboard in the pantry one day, and had to ask what that was about. HSH said the cat loved the mouse too much, so he hid it between play sessions to keep the cat from destroying it.

Meanwhile, the cat had gotten smarter about how the whole routine worked. When HSH returned from a bike ride, Kashka sometimes hopped up on the counter under the toy mouse's cupboard, just to make sure playtime would not be forgotten. After a couple of weeks, he skipped that part and just waited by the table for HSH to sit down. Soon after, he was able to wait without howling at HSH over and over to start playtime now. \o?

That was what I saw on the weekends, anyway. Then, the COVID pandemic started.

Suddenly, I was at home during playtime every day, getting a much closer look at some of the weirdness that had been going on when I wasn't around.

I would overhear snatches of conversation from the kitchen, things like, "Come on… No, you're not even trying. Do I have to take it away?"

If I went into the kitchen, HSH would complain that the cat was "hardly working the mouse at all." Sometimes, he would attach different toys to the elastic on the end of the stick, but then complain that the cat was mostly ignoring them because they weren't the mouse. Which I could understand, since the mouse was Kashka's favorite—obsessively so.

Between all that and keeping the mouse hidden in the cupboard, it started to seem as if HSH was involved in some kind of weird power struggle with the cat over that toy. Good grief!

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