SURPRISE

Editor’s note: Following is a page from my spiritual journal.

A small dark mass like a raisin lay on my notebook, open on the bathroom sink unit. I stared at it. What’s this? I poked it with a pencil. It looks like lizard poop. Geckos and skinks live in the garage. How’d it get in here? No answer came. Oh well.

I picked up the notebook, shook the offending matter into the toilet and continued getting ready for bed. After washing my face, for some reason, I glanced up at the top of the bathroom door. I jumped. “EEK!” Gray. Round ears. A mouse!

JK! JK! Help! There’s a creature in my bathroom! A mouse! A mouse on top of my door!”

My husband stood in the adjoining kitchen/family room, talking on the landline to his son. He stopped and half-turned to me. “What do you want me to do about it?”

Kill it!”

I’m talking on the phone.”

I ran back to the end of the family room and closed the door that connected it to a small hall and the bathroom. I’ll keep it in there!

Safe from “the creature,” I retreated to the front room. I plunked on the couch and pulled my feet up next to me. Meanwhile, my calm husband finished his conversation. “I love you, too. Talk to you later.”

He came into the front room. “Now. What’s wrong?”

There’s’ a MOUSE! A mouse on the top of my bathroom door!”

OK, then. Let me see it.”

I hurried to the closed door. Slowly, I opened it and peeked in.

The grayish animal had not moved. I hissed, “There! On top of the door!”

As JK stepped into the hall, I backed away and stood on the family room side of the door.

His tone was flat. “That’s no mouse. It’s a frog.”

Frog?”

He nodded. “It must have come up the toilet.”

Up the toilet? Safe behind the door, I debated with my husband. “No. It came from outside. I saw one in the garage.”

Patiently, my husband explained. “Honey, that outside is a toad, this is a f-r-o-g! It came up

the toilet. I had one in my bathroom last year. I told you. Remember? You also had one in your Sebring house toilet.”

Frog? Toilet? Sebring? Dimly I recalled seeing a creature and calling Jim then, too.

Whatever it is, get rid of it!

JK was thinking out loud. “How am I supposed to catch it?

Grab it?”

Silence gathered. JK said, “Get me a plastic bag. I’ll put it in and throw it into the back yard.”

Whatever! I ran for a grocery bag and scampered back. I reached around the door. “Here!”

Hiding behind the connecting door again, I advised, “Close the door to the bedroom. And the one to the office, too.”

I cracked the door to watch JK comply and closed it again.

I heard a scuffle, but no report of success.

JK called. “Frances?’

I called through the door. “What?”

Come in here.”

Why?”

I grabbed the thing and it slipped out of my hand. Now I don’t know where it is.”

Oh, no!

Carefully, I opened the hall door, glanced around, and stepped in. JK repeated, “I don’t see it anywhere.”

Hesitantly, I peered into the bathtub, checked clothes hanging behind the door and in the

wastebasket. It was BIG. The body alone was the size of my fist. Where can it be?

Suddenly, I saw it in the hall, clinging to the bedroom door.

Yikes! I yelled, “It’s on the bedroom door!”

I scrambled back to the safety of the family room and shut that door.

I heard another scuffle and the crackling of the plastic bag.

My husband called though the door, “Frances! Open the back door.”

I ran to back door as JK emerged from the hall, holding closed the brown Publix bag. I opened the door and JK threw out the sack.

He explained, “I didn’t tie the bag. He can get out.”

I gave my hero a big hug. “Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!”

JK asked, “What would you do without me?”

I laughed. “Close the door and sleep on the couch. Then get a neighbor to help me tomorrow.”

He just shook his head.

That night I didn’t have to be strong. It was different when I was a mom, saving my allergic child from a hornet sting, or a teacher, removing a bee or hop toad from the classroom.

For a change, I let someone take care of me.

It felt good!

Frances Fritzie

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