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Of Mice and Young Men


I try to make exercise a part of my daily regimen. Sometimes those attempts are laughable at best; I’m referring to the fact that I consider“rigorous vacuuming” to be physical activity and on off days I prance around in front of my television to the Dancing With the Stars: Latin Cardio Dance DVD. What a joke. I only bought it because Maksim Chmerkovskiy is a fine piece and I thought if I concentrated hard enough it would be like he were giving me one-on-one lessons in my living room but he wears this creepy black tank top the whole time and it’s extremely off putting.

Most days I knock out a few push-ups and either dance around my living room in a recital fashion till I’m on the verge of collapse or I hit the bike path for a run. Ok so it’s a jog. Fine, you got me, it’s a brisk walk with short intermittent bursts of running which I almost always regret. The goal is to sweat enough that when I get home I can eat a pot pie and not feel guilty afterwards.

On my most recent run/jog/brisk walk adventure I was making my way down the bike path when I spotted what appeared to be a 6-year-old boy alone on a bicycle without training wheels nailing some pretty solid figure-eight maneuvers. Initially I was impressed; then slightly concerned because he’s all by himself on a trail which has been rumored to have men exposing themselves and attempted sexual assaults. As I get closer I start mentally rehearsing some lines that inquire about the whereabouts of his parents but don’t make me out to be the hypothetical predator that I’m trying to protect him from. And as I get closer I see him jump off his bike and hover uncomfortably close to the pavement. I’m now close enough to see what it is that he’s so intent on protecting from view.

Dead mice.

Two of them.

A 6-year-old alone on the bike path is a little disconcerting but a 6-year-old on the bike path playing with dead mice registers at about a 9 on the what-the-f@ck scale. So what do I do in response; break into one of those short bursts of running I described earlier. I say nothing. I don’t look back. My flight instinct kicked in and I wanted to put as much distance between myself and the rodent carcasses as possible. Immediately I was replaying, in my head, the episode of Dr. Oz featuring the young girl who contracted bubonic plague from a half-eaten, decayed squirrel and nearly died. There was that and the fact that I’m almost positive I read somewhere that children who kill and maim animals will allegedly evolve into serial killers. In my mind I was about to either contract the black death or become the target of a future Ed Gein and my nipples would one day be a mere two on a belt of many. I am nothing if not dramatic.

I would feel guilty roughly a half mile down the road; I mean, I have no proof that this boy actually killed those mice and it’s more likely that he just happened upon them when performing his stellar bike tricks and deemed it necessary to give them a proper burial. Enjoying the company of animal corpses is probably one of those things that I can look forward to when Rinn is that age; here I thought I would avoid this when we rehomed our cats. I had just eased my panic when I see him again! This time, standing in what I have to assume is his driveway staring intently with his little eyes as I ran past.

“IMPOSSIBLE, he should’ve been behind me!”

“Did he just draw his finger across his throat?”

Definitely serial killer. So much for walking the bike path,guess I’ll be taking a few more lessons from Maksim this week.