Creature Feature

by Lisa Scottoline

You know that holiday poem that says, “…not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”

It’s a lie.

I got creatures, stirring.

And they’re making me stir crazy.

Let me explain.

As soon as the weather turns cold, I open my front door and a row of wolf spiders rush in like an arachnid defensive line.

I’m too soft a touch to kill them.

Did you read Charlotte’s Web?

Anyway, I try to catch them with a glass, then run back outside to set them free. I succeeded in catching one, but seventeen others would rush inside and escape into the heating grate in the floor.

At this point my basement has four billion Charlottes.

Their web reads, WE LOVE IT HERE!

Next, I found a fieldmouse under the radiator in the dining room.

I call it a fieldmouse because there’s a field near my house.

Sort of.

Okay, so it was a housemouse.

Just ask the cat.

I think they’re friends.

Even though every day my cat looks at me like she’s never seen me before.

And we live together.

This would be the story of my second marriage.

To return to point, I lured the mouse out from under the radiator with peanut butter on a skewer, trapped it in a pot, and ran it out to the backyard.

So undoubtedly, it’s in the basement writing on the spiderweb, I LOVE IT HERE, TOO!

But now the creatures are getting bigger.

I was sitting in the family room with Daughter Francesca, and we heard scratching noises in the ceiling, then noticed the overhead lights moving.

I jumped off the couch immediately.

For me, that’s what it takes.

Something’s about to fall on my head, I get right up.

To find the remote, I don’t bother.

Then the scratching stopped, so I went back to the couch.

But Francesca went outside and found that squirrels had made a hole under the eaves and were running inside the house under the roof.

She even took a video.

By this time, I was back on the couch.

In any event, I had no idea if squirrels could be lured out by peanut butter so I had to call in a professional, who guaranteed that he could trap the squirrels without killing any.

So, I did.

In fact, I was on the phone with him when I noticed a groundhog in the front yard, who ran into a fresh hole under the garage.

So, you get the idea.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the season.

There’s Spring, Summer, Fall, and Vermin.

It’s cold outside, and all living things want to be warm.

And I have a nice, toasty house, even if my basement is getting a little crowded.

So, I’m going to accept that peace on earth and goodwill to men also includes defensive spiders, mice of whatever origin, ceiling squirrels, and one chubby groundhog.

My spiderweb reads, WE ALL LOVE IT HERE!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Copyright Lisa Scottoline 2023