All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

And There Was That by Adam Kluger

She pulled out the Nuclear option and tossed it on the table like the Ace of Spades.

Nothing to do but bluff.

He then called her back and said “Let’s not ruin three lives here. Stick to the current agreement. ”

“Ok, but you better make your payments every month. Get a job at Starbucks.”

“Yes. I will,” he replied not knowing exactly how he was going to do that.

And that was it.

Is was about money.

It was about resentment, anger and spite.

Later that night a friend paid a visit.

Perhaps, it had heard the beeping of a dying fire alarm battery in the front closet and wanted to investigate that “beep beep” noise.

It crawled out of the kitchen and poked its head around.

Jesper Knudson mumbled an involuntary gasp as his body twitched at the sight of the little black mouse.

After texting the Super to call the exterminator, Jesper looked toward the kitchen.

Usually, city mice in apartments are dark grey, Jesper thought, as he reached for his floor hockey stick and moved toward the kitchen.

His little friend darted back in to deftly hide under the refrigerator.

Jesper opened the front door to encourage ‘Ratsputin’ (He decided a  nickname was needed) to politely leave.

Ratsputin stayed put.

Jesper closed the front door and went back to his seat in front of the flat screen to watch the UFC fights.

Gradually, Ratsputin could not help itself and continually ventured out of the safe confines of the kitchen to explore.

Each time, Jesper would chase it back.

Eventually, Jesper took a chocolate chip cookie and tossed it in the crack between the wall and the refrigerator. “Enjoy, Ratsputin- I’m going to the basement to pick up the laundry.”

In the laundry room the grey balls of lint on the floor all looked like mice.

Jesper was spooked.

The Super poked his head out and said the exterminator had been called. Jesper asked if the building had any “traps” in the supply cabinet. The Super checked and handed Jesper three flat pieces of white cardboard with cellophane on top.

Easy. Peel it off, roll it into a circle and place them strategically in the kitchen. While in the kitchen, grab a beer and a couple slices of American cheese. Peel off the wrapper take a bite, put some small pieces in two of the three traps, toss beer cap in garbage can and back to the fights.

30 minutes later there were strange noises coming from the kitchen. the sound of a struggle. The trap had worked.

The mouse was caught and squirming about. Ick!!! Jesper was grossed out. He texted the Super.

[Trap worked. I can’t do it. Are you able to get rid of it?]

[Already left building for day. after you kill it you got to take it to the garbage can on the Avenue] was the text reply.

[ok, got it]

Ratsputin was alternately struggling and whining.

Jesper felt bad. He knew what it was liked to feel trapped and to feel the chill of death.

He put a large plastic garbage can over the trap, so he didn’t have to look at the struggling mouse. Then he reached into the fridge for another cold Bud.

The UFC fight had been a boring one. He couldn’t concentrate on it. Why was he such a pussy? Just crush it with the giant orange bottle of Tide. Be done with it.

Be a man. Do it.

Jesper inched reluctantly toward the kitchen with a dustbin in hand.

He pulled the tall plastic garbage can away and laid it on the floor.

Took a quick glance at the little mouse struggling inside the trap, remembered from his anthropology class that humans actually evolved from dryopithecines or relatives of rodents, and then quickly shovelled the trap into the garbage can and closed the lid. Then he covered and cinched a large garbage bag around the can, took it out to the hallway, walked by the doorman.

“Hey Nestor”

“Hey there”

Walked to the Avenue and deposited the bag and its contents in a large steel garbage can, turned around and walked back to his apartment building.

As he walked away from the Avenue he tried to calculate the likelihood that Ratsputin might be able to escape the trap and gnaw its way out of the garbage bag and join its brethren in the gutters or train tracks.

Possible but unlikely.

Jesper knew a bit about long odds and bad deals.

But, he was finally free again, at least, and there was that.


Adam Kluger

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2 thoughts on “And There Was That by Adam Kluger”

  1. Hi Adam,
    It always amazes me how much story and character revelation you can get into one small scenario.
    That is quite a skill!!!
    All the very best my friend.


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