I drove my Chevy Blazer to
work early one morning, a slight
rustling sound behind me intruded on
the quiet acoustic guitar music I was
listening to. The sound of the stiff
plastic wrap crumpling gradually
grew into a continuous mashing of
invasive noise. I looked in the
rearview mirror and discovered that
an opened package of prune
cookies, kept in the car for my
wifes elderly, infirm aunt, was the source of the noise. The cookies served the dual purposes of keeping the aunt occupied with chewing and keeping herů well, the obvious effect that prunes have on the digestive system.
The autumn morning was cool, but warm enough for me to have my windows down. I chalked up the movement of the cookie package to the wind blowing through the truck while I was driving. But the package continued to move as I waited at a red light. Somehow, the prune cookies were affecting the movement of their packaging. After clearing the light, I pulled over to investigate the source of the sounds in the empty parking lot of a business about to awaken for the day.
I turned in my seat to look at the spiraling container but could see only its random motions, not the source of its movement. Getting out of the truck, I opened the rear hatch and reached for the package. The movement suddenly stopped. I withdrew my hand and stood there staring, surprised. When all was quiet, the cookie package started tossing and turning again. By now, the hackles on my neck were stimulating scenarios in my mind. As I reached once more for the cookie package, out popped the head of a mouse. Our eyes locked; neither of us moved. Each of us trying to make sense out of the others unexpected presence.
Naturally, the mouse reached a logical explanation of the situation first and immediately ran out of the package, scurrying beneath the two front seats. I was left with the dilemma of how to regain control of my vehicle without putting myself in danger. Walking over to the passenger side, I opened the door, expecting the mouse to take advantage of the opportunity to escape. No movement. I cautiously flipped the seat forward, peering behind it for signs of the intruder. There were none. I became a bit bolder and stuck my head into the vehicle, looking for him. Suddenly, on the opposite side of the truck, behind the drivers seat, his little head peeked out, large eyes focused on me, ears at full extension, his nose twitching, examining the smell of my intentions. After the initial shock of being surprised, I thought he would want to leave through his side of the truck. Willing to oblige, I rushed around the vehicle, opened the drivers side door, and stood back. No movement. I then peered into the truck and didnt see him until his little head popped up where mine had been a moment ago, all of his senses once again directed toward me.
With both doors of the truck wide open and the seats tipped forward, any direction in which the stowaway chose to move would provide escape. I circled to his side of the truck, and he mirrored my movement, trading places to once again stare at me from my previous position. We repeated this dance a few more times before I realized the futility of the situation. I got back into the truck, closed the doors, and continued to drive to work, the music turned off so I could concentrate on the movements of my passenger and whether he posed any danger of an ambush directed toward me.
I arrived safely at work and, once again, opened the truck doors and tipped the seats forward. But there were no signs of the intruder. I left the truck fully open and went into my building to begin my day.
When I returned to the truck a half-hour later, I found everything quiet and still. I bravely, but cautiously, moved the seats forward in search of the mouse. The truck was empty! He had moved on to make a new life for himself.
But it wasnt going to be easy for him, at least at first. I lifted the once half-full package of cookies and found it completely empty. He had eaten the entire contents and was undoubtedly proceeding in his new environment at a slow pace, making, I am sure, frequent stops. I dont think he will be jumping up in any trucks for a while.