She may be cute, but a guard dog she is not.
Last night there was this sound coming from the basement. A knocking, banging, occasionally dragging sound. I heard the noise after I came out of the sewing room to yell at Molly for barking. She was facing down the stairs and growling. Once she saw me, she ran behind me and hid.
We have a garage door in the basement where Luke’s workshop is, and sometimes on nice days that door will stay open all day. We all remember the Mysterious Skunking Incident of ’08, so adding up the facts, my first thought was, crap. There’s a skunk in the basement. Or a ghost. Either way, I crept downstairs with my flashlight and Molly at my heels. I grabbed a decorative canoe oar that we have by the bar as a weapon, and I began to search for the source of the noise. The cat followed us down to glare at us in an amused sort of way. I thankfully didn’t smell skunk, so I started to think maybe it was a squirrel or a mouse.
You know when a cricket gets into your house and chirps incessantly in the dark so you grab a shoe or a flyswatter and go looking for it? You hear it chirp, chirp, chirping and you follow the noise. You get within striking range and then it senses you nearby and stops chirping so you can’t find it. Yeah, that was what this bumping sound was doing.
Upstairs I would hear bump, bump, bump, draaaag until I couldn’t stand it anymore. I would tiptoe down the stairs with my flashlight and my oar (and one useless dog). I would hear one or two bumps, then nothing. I’d stand perfectly still for five minutes and hear nothing. I’d go upstairs and suddenly hear it start up all over again. I was driving me mad.
I quickly went from being freaked out to being freaking annoyed. I didn’t care what it was – skunk, squirrel, mouse, ghost, whatever it was – it just needed to stop banging! I stayed upstairs knitting and watching TV with Molly huddled next to me until it was time to wake Luke up for work.
I told him we had a ghost. Or maybe a mouse. He got up and of course there was no noise coming from the basement so I know he thought I was nuts. Then shortly before he left the noise started up again. We all crept down the stairs to investigate and, you guessed it, the noise stopped. Luke shined his flashlight in all the corners and crevices, then went around behind the bar. Molly and I held our breath and waited, then saw Luke come out from behind the bar laughing, holding an empty trash. At the very bottom, cowering in the corner was a teeny tiny terrified little mouse.
A mouse. Not a ghost. The bumping, knocking noise must have been the mouse trying to jump out of the trash can, and the dragging sound must have been him unsuccessfuly sliding down the inside of the can. Amazing. The only bad thing is that usually you don’t have just one mouse in your house and I’m afraid this same basement ghost may be knocking again soon. Time to fire that cat.