"Dad, Dad blah blah blah blah blah", the voice went. I managed to open my now perfectly lasered eyes and look at some kind of orange light being shone in my face.
"Aaah" I replied, in perfect Sinhala. I became aware of an orange stick of light that was talking.
"Dad, the cats have mmm blah nnn zz" said the stick.
"Aaaah" I repeated. As consciousness hit me I realised that the light came from one of those glow stick things, the ones you bend and they then emit some sort of light. I also realised that the voice was coming from the 12 year old daughter that was holding the stick. I also realised it was about 3 in the morning.
"What?" I said, instantly forgetting my Sinhala.
"Dad, I think the cats have got a mouse in our bathroom".
"Oh ok I'm coming". I get out of bed, rearrange my Barefoot sarong and follow the fully awake daughter towards her and her sister's bathroom.
Every Sri Lankan man knows that sarongs are one of man's greatest inventions, yet every year I mourn the fact that British fashion has not decreed that they are cool and trendy and acceptable for men to wear in public. David Beckham made a valiant attempt to change this but the public weren't ready. When they are, I will be one of the first "new men" down the pub in my Sarong. But, in the meantime, I shall continue to wear one only at night.
So, I am now almost awake, standing in my daughters' bathroom looking at our 2 cats. I have no fondness or affection for these cats. They hang around our house sneering at people, they lie in the sun and get their stomach stroked, they get fed at my expense and they catch birds, mice, rats and leopards and bring them into the house at 3 in the morning. But these 2 ignorant felines were crouched, as aggressively as they could manage, around a piece of floor. They looked about as mean as Ronald Macdonald on laughing gas and were a bit less scary.
On the floor was nothing. No mice, no birds, no leopard. Just the inner tube thing from a toilet roll. I picked it up to find a little mouse crouched inside it. At this point I must ask you, no beg you, to consider all the facts before you pass judgement:
- It was about 3 am and I had been in deep sleep
- It was a "school night" and I had to wake up about 3 hours later
- My previous track record with animals is actually quite good. I have only killed a few, things like mice and rats and stuff and usually it was a case of him or me.
- I am quite a good drummer
Now you have considered all the facts you will undoubtedly fully understand why I then proceeded to tip the chap into the toilet. He (or she) plopped into the water, probably in more ways than one, and then swam around for a bit and clawed desperately at the sides to try to climb out. For those of you that are not parents I must tell you that 12 year old girls are at that stage in life when they are fond of nature and animals. They also have little sympathy for Dads who are woken up to clear the house of wild animals.
So, at this point, I am faced with a mouse trying to escape, albeit unsuccessfully, from a toilet and a 12 year old almost in tears and shouting at me because I have performed such a cruel act.
Even if I say it myself I am blessed with a quick and calm mind. I thrive on pressure and in times of crisis I am your man. I thought quickly, sharply and efficiently, I said to my daughter
"Don't worry I'll flush the toilet and it will just swim away".
Curiously, after 3 flushes the mouse had not gone and the 12 year old had not calmed down. The thing was still desperately clawing at the sides of the toilet and getting nowhere. There was only one thing I could do and I wasn't about to baulk in the face of adversity. I plunged my hand in, grabbed the tail and ran down the stairs towards the front door, leaving a trail of toilet water and sarong. Fortunately the tail was still attached to the body of the mouse so mouse lover child opened the front door and I threw the chap out. I saw him run off, probably to be hit by a car a few minutes later.
That was it. We both went back to our respective beds, I slept for a couple more hours and got up and came in to work. That is when it started. As word spread daughters and their mother started sending me emails and texts saying how cruel I was, not only to try to flush it away but then also to throw it out into the street like that. I was told that it could have been a parent mouse or, even worse, a child.
So to Mickey, Minnie, Jerry and any other famous mice I would like to apologise. Of course I am talking about the silent Jerry, the one produced by Fred Quimby, not the one that talks, because you're just a pale imitation of the real thing.
I apologise profusely. I hope your relative is now ok. Look at me in a kindly manner please, I really did save its life you know.