PREVIOUS “MOUSE” POSTINGS CAN BE FOUND HERE.
Goldilocks Visits Mouse’s House
By now you may recognize that I am not always the most honest person. My father’s a paranoid, conspiracy theorist-survivalist and my mother is a cello-playing lawyer; as far as I know, cellists are not mendacious, but my parents’ other qualities have certainly skewed my overall thinking. And, if you haven’t realized by now, I’m a pretty savvy hacker, which is almost another story, but not quite.
After leaving the café, I hitched a ride with Bob, the mechanic, who was passing through Swansboro, which is where I needed to go. Bob is a nice guy. We’d had coffee and pie together at the café after I bought the cabin from him. He didn’t nose into my business, didn’t ask why I would be interested in a dilapidated cabin sans the comforts of a really nice home, or ask what I did during the day or evening or most of the other times when it seemed like I had fallen off of the face of the earth. I liked men who respected boundaries.
I picked up my car and drove back to the cabin, figuring that I’d pack up all of my personal belongings and electronics and then head somewhere else. I didn’t know where. I had money to tide me over for a while until I discovered a life that suited me.
The door was open and it sounded like someone was trashing the cabin. I didn’t think it was the military guys who’d invaded The Compound. There wasn’t any vehicle and they certainly had no need to hide. I removed my sig sauer from my glove compartment and quietly approached the cabin. Whoever was doing a number on it, hadn’t heard my car. Fools.
Tom lounged on the couch watching while Sandra the Amazon was ripping up some of the flooring with a crowbar. Tom saw the gun in my hand and jumped up.
“Mouse? What’s with the gun?” he asked.
I looked at it and then him. “It’s used to stop people from ripping up my property.”
Sandra saw it and laughed. “You’re so scary. I remember the other day, Georgie. Falling on your ass like you did. Real scary. But is Georgie your real name?”
“What are you looking for?” I asked.
“Tom said you hid a gun under the floorboard. And you have a stash of money,” she said.
“So you thought you’d just come in here and steal from me?” Her I could understand; I knew she was amoral, but Tom? This almost broke my smidgen of a heart.
Sandra approached me, trying to smile. She wasn’t very good at it. I disengaged the thumb safety. From the corner of my eye I noticed that Tom had observed the movement.
“Back off, Sandra,” he said.
She kept approaching. I aimed for the crowbar and pulled the trigger. Sandra dropped the crowbar and yelled. She waved her hand up and down. I could only imagine the result of powerful impact of the bullet on the crowbar.
“If you’d asked, I would have given you money and a gun. Now just get the hell out of my cabin,” I said to her.
She looked like she wanted to attack me, but she huffed and then passed by me out the door.
“Are you coming, Tom?” she asked.
Tom looked at me. I stared at him, wondering how he could have let her just mess up my place.
“Are you going to be okay?” he asked.
“Why did you just sit there and let her pull up my floor?”
“I tried to talk her out of it. She’s not herself.”
“Who is?” I asked, and then shook my head. Stupid. “Yeah, I’ll be fine. Always fine.”
Sandra returned. “She’s got a car,” she said to Tom.
“Out,” I said. Surprisingly, she left. I half-expected to hear her trying to hot-wire the car. But perhaps she’s smart enough to know she couldn’t bypass the steering column.
“You are resourceful,” Tom said.
“I’ve learned to be. I will give you a ride, but not her,” I said. “I have never stolen anything but information and I have little respect for people who have no qualms about stealing things from people who need them.”
“I apologize, Mouse. She was a little out of control. I appreciate the offer of a lift, but I feel obligated to make sure she’s safe.”
“She’s a trained soldier.”
“And, you’re a Mouse, but somehow I think I’ve misjudged you and maybe you’re more of a stealthy panther,” he said, reaching out to stroke my cheek. I let him. I wanted to kiss those fingers, suck on the tips, but I battened down those urges.
“Will I ever see you again?”
He grinned and then pulled me to him and kissed me hard, better than every single kiss I had ever had in my life put together and heated up. He pulled back, but I yanked on the collar of his t-shirt and went in for one last exchange. One last taste of those soft, full lips on mine, one last touch of his stubble, one last smell of him, to hold on to.
“Nice. You couldn’t have done that a week ago?” he asked.
“I didn’t know it was wanted.”
“I thought you knew everything.”
“Not yet. I hope I meet you again.”
“Be safe, little Mouse.”
I raised my fingertips to his lips and he kissed them. “You, too.”
He trotted down the steps and cross the yard to Sandra. He spoke to her and I could hear her grumble, but not the words. She folded her arms across her chest and I thought I heard her say something like “we could take her.” Tom shook his head and started toward the forest behind the cabin. I remembered the detailed satellite map I had done up and removed it from my bag.
I ran out toward them. “Tom!”
He swung around toward me. For a moment I saw hope in his eyes. Maybe he thought I’d drive them somewhere and I felt momentary shame that I wouldn’t. I handed him the map.
“A map?” Sandra said. “You could give us a ride.”
“Your face is on the tv as a terrorist,” I said. “You’ve done nothing to change your look. I don’t have any wish to end up in a prison cell or worse.”
“Bitch,” she said again.
I shook my head and walked away, knowing it was for good this time.