*The following is a true story*
It was a typical evening in my 7 year-old existence. I brushed my teeth, kissed Mom and Dad goodnight, and climbed into bed. As I looked across the room, I saw the shadowy form of my sister, also in bed. We whispered for a few minutes, as sisters tend to do when sharing a room, but soon fell silent as we both gave in to the gentle tug of sleep.
Suddenly, I was pulled back to the world of consciousness. My father was at my bedside, telling me to get up and come downstairs, there was something he wanted to show us. My sister and I sluggishly slipped from our covers and clomped downstairs where we found our mother, father and brother waiting. There was a sense of excitement and urgency in the air. I scrambled to find boots and ended up grabbing a mismatched pair that were far to big for me. All five of us, now in coats and boots headed out into the crisp, night air.
We lived in an old farmhouse surrounded by cornfields. It was a clear night and the stars were out in all their brilliance. My father led us past the garage and towards the field behind our house. As we rounded a grove of trees, we saw strange, wavy, green lights shooting up from somewhere just above the horizon. Sudden streaks of purple and blue would appear and vanish as the lights continued their intricate dance. I was trying so hard to concentrate on the glorious northern lights display, but I was troubled by a disturbing, unidentifiable object in my boot.
I wiggled my foot around in the oversized boot, trying to deduced what the squishy mass could be. I came to a conclusion: it just had to be a dead mouse. Around this time, I also noticed a strange smell. Living in the countryside, there are a number of odd smells that waft through the air. However, this one seemed to be in close proximity to me. In fact, I became certain it was rising from my boot! I nudged my father and whispered, “Dad! I think there is a dead mouse in my boot!” He made an interesting noise (a combination of a snort and a chuckle) and said, “There’s not a mouse in your boot! Just enjoy the northern lights.” I tried. I really did. But you have no idea how distracting the thought (and feeling!) of a decaying mouse in your boot is!
A few minutes passed and I nudged my dad again. (By this point I was positive the smell was coming from my boot.) “Dad! I really think there is something dead in my boot!” Thankfully, we had seen enough of the nighttime display and were all thinking about our warm, inviting beds. “Alright everyone. Let’s head inside,” my dad said. We walked back to the house and with each step I felt a concerning squelch accompanied by a fresh burst of odor.
Inside the warmth of our home, I feared what I would find in my boot. I extracted my damp foot and found my white sock was now completely brown. Not only was it brown, but it also smelled so horrible I started gagging. My fearless father quickly took the boot in question outside. He returned, empty handed and doubled over with laughter. He could hardly believe it – when he turned the boot over, a very dead, very bloated and now very squished mouse came tumbling out!
Needless to say, we threw away the boot, its pair, and my sock. The next fifteen minutes were spent in the bathtub in an attempt to remove the rotted mouse stench from my foot. After much scrubbing and a liberal amount of baby powder, the odor was neutralized enough to allow me go to bed.
How did I know what a bloated mouse felt like at such a young age? We will never know. I suppose we can chalk it up to a child’s intuition.