Guest Post by Maria Zannini
Having been an artist most of my adult life, thick skin is a job requirement, but now, gentle reader, I have proof positive that I also have nerves of steel.
Twenty miles from where I live there’s a five mile long bridge that spans both land and water. Once you get on there’s no place for you to stop. If there’s an accident on the bridge, you can kiss your appointments goodbye because everything grinds to a halt.
Recently, I was on my leg home from a long road trip and traffic was a mess by the time I reached the bridge.
Out of the corner of my eye I caught a flash of movement. I glanced over to the passenger seat but nothing seemed amiss. Traffic was getting rough now. Lots of brake lights and angry horns. Big rigs are jockeying for position as we lose one more lane of asphalt. The bridge is so thick with cars, I decide to move to the far right lane so I won’t miss my exit two miles ahead.
Again something moved at the periphery of my vision. This time I saw what it was.
A little gray mouse was scampering between the seats and up the stick shift in the center of the console.
I think I swallowed my tongue at that point. I kept glancing down at the mouse and then back at traffic. Mouse. Traffic. Mouse. Traffic. There was absolutely no place for me to pull over.
Even if there was, what was I going to do? Order the mouse to vacate my car? He had claws and teeth, and I couldn’t be sure, but it looked like there was an agent contract in his little paws. I had to ride it out.
My hands clenched around the steering wheel until my DNA imprinted on the leather cover. Mickey eyeballed me with those black button eyes. The mouse then leapt from the stick shift to the dashboard, bumping and grinding to the music blaring from the speaker. That mouse had cojones the size of Gibraltar, but I was not to be outdone.
I still had two miles to go before I could get off and traffic was SLOWING down. I glared at Mickey. “Okay, mouse. You don’t come any closer and I don’t drive us off the bridge.” I was bluffing of course, but he didn’t know that.
When my exit came up I hit the accelerator like Mario Andretti. Police usually patrol that part of the feeder road, but I didn’t care. If they were going to arrest me, I’d insist they put that mouse in handcuffs too.
I jumped out of the car as soon as I reached the first parking lot. Doors flew open and I banged on the seats with the flat of my hand, yelling at the mouse to scram. A smart person would have put me on YouTube. I was a crazy woman yelling at an invisible mouse.
Two men from the nearby Home Depot walked toward me, but I wasn’t about to wait around and explain that I was trying to pawn off a rodent on their property.
I jumped back in my car and took off. I still had another twenty miles before I reached home, me all the while checking the floorboards and listening for any telltale mousey sounds.
Once home, I almost dismantled the car piece by piece, cursing at the mouse in three different languages—one of which I made up.
Mickey was gone. And I am alive to tell you this tale. Hallelujah!
So how are your nerves? Would you scream if a mouse scampered up your car’s radio—or would you just change the station?
Maria Zannini’s latest release is a science fiction romance called TRUE BELIEVERS.
Mix one cynical immortal and one true believer and throw them into the biggest alien-hunt the world has never known. Rachel Cruz is a Nephilim masquerading as an archeologist and she’s stuck with an alien who believes she can lead him to his ancestral gods. Black Ops wants to find these gods too. They want them dead.
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