Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: MISSION (01/30/20)
TITLE: Operation I Will Prevail
By Barbara Lynn Culler
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Darlene looked up from her computer, trying to pinpoint the suspicious sound emanating from behind her. Glancing at her little dog asleep beside the chair, she wondered if he’d heard anything, but Mr. Chips continued snoring. She hoped the faint scratching within the wall between living room and kitchen was not the telltale announcement of unwanted company.
Sighing heavily, she unfurled her arthritic body from the recliner, hobbled to her seated walker, then lumbered to the kitchen. Mr. Chips stood up, yawned and followed in anticipation of a possible snack.
Reaching the cabinet in question she paused, mustering courage for the revealing. Scrunching up her face, she slowly opened the pantry door, and cautiously peeked inside. At first glance, nothing seemed disturbed, but after moving the peanut butter, she spied the evidence— tiny dark pellets that were not spilt raisins.
Heart sinking, she plopped down onto the walker, head in hands. “Oh no, not again! I thought I was rid of those nasty things. What could they possibly be eating?”
Mr. Chips wagged at the sound of her voice, dancing in anticipation of getting a treat, but was ignored.
Just a year ago, mice invaded her old house. At that time, Darlene emptied, disinfected and re-papered all of the cabinets; re-homing opened foods into airtight containers. She’d also placed rodent-resisting tablets throughout her house, but now it seemed that the gnawing mammals were immune to the alleged kryptonite. This mighty mouse obviously discovered covert house access, most likely resulting from recent extensive plumbing repairs.
“I will fight this and I will win!” The war had commenced and she was on a mission to conquer the enemy— a small gray super-mouse. At the declaration, the overweight dog barked — not in agreement, but impatience for his treat.
Emptying the cabinet, Darlene discovered the source of mouse nourishment. Gingerly removing two partially chewed cups of dried ramen noodles from the back bottom shelf, she glared at her senior chihuahua.
“Some watch dog you are! I should get a cat.” Tail flopping, Mr. Chips rolled onto his back, chocolate brown eyes bugging out.
The dirty job was complicated by Darlene’s inflamed joints. Throughout the cleaning process, unbearable leg, shoulder and hand pain resulted in tears, yet she persisted in the combat forcing the creature to cease and desist. Despite her screaming muscles, Darlene sanitized and re-organized the pantry, hoping it was the last of the critter. The clean-up took several days, but she considered the massive undertaking a success.
“I will prevail!” She declared aloud, as she sank her aching body into the reclining chair. The old dog dropped to his spot next to her, his tummy now satisfied.
Mission completed, the battle won. But is the war over? Darlene hopes no rodent dare re-invade her home, and continues to monitor the situation. Mr. Chips, however, is unreliable as an informant; especially when it means Darlene is too focused on her assignment to give him treats.
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