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It was a sound like someone pulling the nails out of the floorboards under the bed.  It was a sound like a ghost in the attic.  It was a sound like someone trying not to make a sound.         

-John Irving

 The Blackberry that was assigned to me on my new job went off on Saturday morning at 5:00 am. 

 “What is that?  Is that your phone going off?” 

 Oh, how I hate being woken early on a weekend.  It’s bad enough the alarm goes off every other day of the week when no one else in my neighborhood is up.  Even the paper doesn’t get delivered until after I leave the house.  So, I got up and powered the thing off.  No more buzzzzzzz on the dresser on a Saturday morning.  However, twenty minutes and some sound sleeping later:

 “Did you hear that?” 

 “You mean the rain,” I said.  “Yes, it’s raining.” 

 “No, no there’s something in the walls.  I think we have mice again.” 

 “What?”  Of course, now I was awake again, w-i-d-e awake.  We had had a mouse or two in the house before-nothing big, pretty easy to manage.  But living in Washington, D.C. I had numerous rat encounters–in the parks, walking through the neighborhood, in the front yard, and inside the house.  Even the desk that they gave me in my last job had rat droppings in the drawers (so you can understand my recent excitement about changing jobs).  The rat thing just makes me shudder.  I can still remember the scratching–scurry inside the walls at night in one of the places we lived.  So the idea that something was in the walls on the second floor of our beautiful house was pretty disturbing. 

I paused to listen.

“You don’t hear that.” 

“I hear rain, lots of rain,” I replied.

“No, I mean the scratching.” 

Pause again, nothing but water. 

“I can’t believe you can’t hear that.” 

Pause some more, drips, drops, no scratching.

So finally I think I had had it.  My beloved had pushed me over the edge.  First the phone, now the sound trying not to make a sound.  I decided that the mouse was not only in the wall but he was behind the headboard too.  I slowly reached my hand around to the back and with my fingernail began to quietly, but clearly scratch against the wood grain.

“Did you hear that, there it is!”

“I hear rain,” I responded trying not to bust out laughing.

“No, no, now I can really hear it.”

Now I’m desperately trying not to laugh.  “Nothing, I don’t hear anything.”

“It sounds like…it’s in the head board!”

“It does, in the head board?”

“Yes, it is right behind us!”

“In the headboard?  Does it sound like this?”  And I took my fingernail and scratched it close to his head.  He rolled over in disgust while I laughed quietly so as not to wake the little guy.

It was one of my best pranks ever.  I love my partner dearly.  I love that he is funny and he also appreciates my humor even if at times begrudgingly.  I love also that when I get him good, while he may not laugh he will give me credit even if I have to coax it out of him.

And yes, the book is about a little boy who wakes up his father and brother, but it’s because he thinks he hears a monster when it really turns out to be a mouse.

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