My Bucket’s Got a Mole in It
A few days later I was in the laundry room unloading the washer when I heard a scratching sound and noticed my dog nosing around the inside of a small bucket nearby. He and the bucket were getting under my feet and I told him to move. No luck. The scratching, the dog, and the wayward bucket continued to make their way across the floor. Another verbal reprimand proved useless. “What are you doing?” I demanded as I pushed the dog out of the way. “Uh-h-h-h-h!” again. There at the bottom of the bucket was a dried but well-gnawed blue sponge and one tiny—and very frustrated—live mole! There was no way he could have climbed up and into that bucket. The only conclusion was that the cat had brought it in and unceremoniously dumped it there. At least it wasn’t lost in a closet or hidden under my bed. I picked up the bucket, carried the little captive out the front door, and set him free.
The Mole Catcher King
One night, not long after the above episode, I awoke needing to go to the bathroom. As I made my way past the bed I suddenly and ever so briefly encountered a soft lump under my bare foot. My foot had barely touched down, before aborting its landing and going airborne again, but not before forcing a faint, breathy squeak out of that unseen lump. My mind was racing trying to imagine which toy had made its way to my room as I gingerly stepped toward the door and flipped on the light. There, on the floor lying belly-up, nubby-tailed and splay-toed was one deceased mole. (Oh, dear! That squeak! Had I forced the last breath out of this pitiful creature?) This had to be the rudest awakening of my life. The cat must have been out on night patrol. One more plastic bag, one more committal to that ignominious coffin.
It got to the point that anytime I saw my cat enter the house I asked him, “Killed anything today?” In all, I think I counted seven of these trophies, including the live one, before the whole episode came to an end. Either the cat got them all or any remaining moles decided the better part of valor was to tunnel under the fence into my neighbors’ yards where they took their chances with the unknown. Anyway, no more moles.
Eventually I moved to another house in another city (my third move in five years). Just two weeks later my cat ran out the door, jumped to the top of the fence, gave me one last look as if to say, “So long, kid. I’m outta here,” and disappeared into the night. I never saw him again. Maybe he decided to look for a new hunting ground since no moles seemed to be rearranging the soil at my new place. Maybe he felt underappreciated, that he didn’t get the recognition he deserved for his hunting prowess. Or perhaps he just got tired of moving and decided to seek permanent residence elsewhere. Whatever the reason, I hope he’s safe and happy. He was a great cat and I still love and miss him. As for any moles he may encounter, a warning: Don’t come up to admire your work!
©2011 The Wit’s End Scribbler