Raughley Goes to Texas/Corpse Disposal 2: The Night of the Living Mouse

This post was written a few weeks ago and only recently re-discovered on my desktop.  Whoops! I’m just going to scan it now for necessary additions/edits then post it later tonight!

A lot has been going on in my life lately.  Clearly, I haven’t been writing about it.  That’s okay with me.  I’ve been extremely busy this summer working at an academic summer camp and have had no time to write about my trials and travails over these hot months of summer.  Okay, so the week I spent dogsitting/housesitting for my aunt and uncle were pretty low-key and I probably could have written a lot then, but I chose not to out of a dire need for relaxation.  Sue me.

In two weeks I am returning to Georgia (which surely means more adventures and more regular writing!).  This time around I’ll be renting an apartment with good ole Angela!  I’m really excited for it.  Anyone who’s reading this and who has an apartment in Tbilisi somewhere and wants to rent it to me, please comment below!  I’d love to rent your apartment!

Right now, I am in Arlington, Texas, visiting my dear friend Marissa!  It’s been an incredibly busy few days but I’m having a blast!  After flying in to Houston and visiting the George Bush (Sr.) Presidential Library and the Dr. Pepper Museum, we spent today seeing the Fort Worth Zoo and then going out for some home-style cookin’ at a local restaurant.  We’ve just now (at nearly three in the morning) returned from going out to a “Dueling Pianos” bar in Fort Worth.

This is the original building of one of the first Dr. Pepper Bottling Plants. It's got a great little museum inside and a Soda Fountain where they mix the Dr. Pepper before your eyes!! It was so cool! (I love Dr. Pepper.)

The pianos didn’t really duel—neither in the traditional sense (pistols at dawn) nor in the metaphorical sense (competing pianists vying for title of pianist of the night).  Rather, they took requests all night long and played probably a hundred songs over the fourish hours we were there.  We were big hits.

After being there for a little while, Marissa got a shout out for being the patron having the most fun of all (we were singing and dancing along to some awesome song and the woman said, “Why can’t the rest of you be more like this woman!?” and then a moment later asked the both of us to come up front to set a good example).  Almost all of our requested songs (This Love and Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting) got played.  Towards the end of the night we had a hankering for some SexBomb by Tom Jones.

We submitted request after tipless request only to be told that none of the pianists knew any Tom Jones.  A Travesty!

They began incorporating our Tom Jones requests into whatever other random songs they were playing and played us a few Tom Jones snippets to mollify us.  It kind of worked.  And then Levi and Chelsea came in to our lives.  (Only to leave our lives shortly, and uneventfully afterwards.)

This couple had been there with their friends, but said friends had long-since left.  After sitting observing us for a good long while, this dude came up to me and asked me, “Hey, my girl wants to know if we can come party with you guys?”  Flattered and laughing I shared the request with Marissa.  Naturally we said yes.  Levi and “his girl” Chelsea joined us for a rollicking good time.

I’m not sure that they enjoyed our company as much as we enjoyed our company.  See, we were simply having a wonderful Christmas time—scratch that, that’s Paul McCartney—we were simply having a blast singing and dancing along to whatever songs we knew (most of them) and mockingly pouting at the lack of Tom Jones.  Nonetheless, it was obvious to performers and audience members alike that we were the funnest pair in the crowd.  It was an awesome evening.

My Texas Adventures were far from over, but I’ll save the remainder of them for an indeterminate time in the future.  Get mentally prepared for Clue at the Museum, Kennedy’s Assassination, a Rodeo, and a Russian shop!

Now, let me take you back a few weeks to CTY this summer.  During the final weekend of second session this summer, I received an interesting phone call from one of our RAs, Merve.  “Raughley!” she asked, “There’s a mouse in one of my girls’ rooms and I called Bobby but he told me to call you because you handle this kind of thing.”  I paused my conversation with RAs Treasa and Collins to point out that “Well, usually I do more corpse disposal but…let me grab my tools.”

Merve, one of our new RAs, had not been around for first session’s rodent-death extravaganza.  Therefore, she had no idea what I meant by “I usually handle corpses” and was sufficiently weirded out by it.  I ducked into the RA supply closet and found myself a cardboard box and headed over to the girls’ dorm.

I showed up and Merve and most of her girls were tittering in the hallway, nervously dancing outside a closed door.  Sure enough, there was a mouse behind it.  I entered the room to find its occupants busy looking for the mouse.  Two young teenage girls looked at me and informed me, “We pulled all the furniture away from the wall so it can’t hide, but it’s nowhere to be found and no holes.  How can we catch it?”

Plan A clearly needed rethinking.

The brave girls were instrumental in the following mission.  I stalked around the room in my dress shoes (it was a busy night and I hadn’t had time to change yet) peering behind the pulled-out dressers and desks.  Sure enough, no mouse in sight.  Eventually, however, I realized that there was a tiny crawlspace under the desk.  Sure enough, when I gave a the desk a solid kick, a mouse came scampering out, darting along the molding where the wall met the floor.  “There it is!” we shouted.

The sound of commotion in the bedroom sparked a wave of terror in the girls waiting in the hall and we chuckled at the collective shriek from behind the door.  Finally, we cornered the mouse behind two armoires.  I positioned each girl at each end of the escape route and thumped the armoires in the center.  “I got it!” called the girl who was manning the trashcan.  The girl with the cardboard box tossed it aside and joined me in inspecting the mouse-laden garbage can.  Success!

I carried the captive rodent past the excited girls and let each of them peer in on the prisoner.  As Merve looked in, I lurched the can towards her as if the mouse might escape.  She jumped back in a hurry.  I might be a nice guy, but I’m not above little jokes like that.  What can I say, they’re funny and I’m human!

We released the mouse into the wild and carried on with our nights.  But a few days later I got a call from a pair of RAs who were having a problem out on the quad.

“Raughley–” called John, “–stay Away from the Squirrel!”  He was yelling at children in the background of the call.  “Hey Raughley,” he continued, “we have a dead squirrel out here.”

“I’m on it.” I replied.

Having figured out where John was, I grabbed a plastic bag and headed out into the sun.  John and Serkan were standing by a tree trying their best to hold back a crowd of excited kids.  I approached and asked where the offending rodent was.  Sure enough, right in the mulch, a cute little squirrel was lying with its eyes open.  As I inspected it, Serkan told me that it was very recently dead.  “It’s still alive!” a student yelled, “I saw it moving!”

I hesitated.  John admitted that, “Yeah, it died like a minute ago, but I don’t think it will bite you.  It was dying pretty seriously.”

I reached out for the squirrel and grabbed it around the belly.  It shrieked and convulsed wildly, curling around my hand and plunging its front incisors into my index finger.

 

 

Just kidding!  It was totally unresponsive.  It was dead.  That said, it was very warm and not at all rigor mortised.  It really had died like a minute prior.  Unlike my previous squirrel, who had been dead for a while, this one was floppy and soft.  I scooped it up and began walking across the quad to the same trashcan Squirrel #1 had wound up in.

A few precocious girls approached me and asked in sing-songy voices, “What’s in the bag?”

“Guess.”

“A dead squirrel!”

“Yep!”

“Nuh-uh!”

“Come take a look!”  I opened the bag and proved my point, a bit to their horror.

After depositing Squirrel #2 in its brand new home (waste receptacle), I returned to the office.  “Where have you been?” asked Molly.

“You know, the usual.  Getting rid of dead animals.”

“Oh, of course,” Molly replied, before we got back to work at whatever task was at hand.

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