Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Monday, January 29, 2007

EGA told us that during her time in the Middle Kingdom people were surprised at the size of our family ("You have two sisters?") and by the number of our pets ("You have two cats? And you feed them?). Proud of her sisters, but embarrassed by the extravagance of two cats she would explain that the cats kept the mice away, thus creating in the minds of her audience the impression that the Altreuter estate is vermin infested. In fact, for the most part the cats do seem to keep the mice away, but an occasional mouse, a breed not generally noted for good judgment, does sometimes venture in. Last night was such an occasion: a 3:00 AM CLA came into our bedroom, rousting me from a sound sleep, and wailed, "Will someone please kill the mouse so it doesn't bite Lang?"

I was elected. I went downstairs and sure enough Lancaster was busily poking at the corner formed by the wall under the bathroom sink and the literbox. Pulling the box away revealed a small grey mouse-- a wee, timorous beastie who had no doubt wandered in looking for a Robert Burns birthday party. It was not accessible, but the cat seemed to be on the case, so I closed the door, on the theory that this would allow her to administer the coup de gras in private. I returned to bed, only to be awoken an hour later by A. "You have to go and throw out the mouse so I can use that bathroom in the morning," she told me. I shuffled downstairs and opened the bathroom door. The cat came out. I closed the door behind me, and surveyed the scene. There was no corpus delicti visible, and I concluded from this that the mouse had found safe harbor in some inaccessible corner of the room. I started moving things, and quickly located it behind a cabinet. Operating on the theory that cats really are the best at this sort of thing, I exited, closing the door behind me, and located the orange cat, who was asleep on a couch upstairs. "Lang isn't a closer, so it's up to you, Orange," I said, depositing the marmalade-colored animal in the bathroom. Apparently the orange cat is not a closer either, because there was no mouse body in the bathroom this morning. "Why do we get mice?" A moaned. "Mouse," I replied, my voice made gruff by lack of sleep, "And it is gone now."

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