I was just thinking…………

…….……………………..about the changes that have taken place in our home since Ben came to live with us.
It was never my intention to have yet another male around the house, but what can you do? The young bloke needed somewhere to live so how could I say no. He’s a good-looking, intelligent young fellow, quick witted and very funny. He bathes regularly, is well groomed and quite presentable. He brightens up any room he walks into and everybody vies for his attention – even our visitors (especially the girls! It gets positively embarrassing, the way they giggle and fall all over him.) Young Ben wasn’t always so great though. When he first arrived, his manners needed some attention, but we put that down to his youth. He took us for granted quite a bit and had to be reminded repeatedly about a few simple things that were expected of him. Everywhere he went, I had to follow and pick up things he’d left lying around. Shoes, socks, half eaten snacks, anything he’d been fiddling with – all left for me to put back where they belonged. His manners needed some attention also, when it came to meal times, but it wasn’t too long before these little hic-ups were straightened out and understandings were reached all round. Now we all wonder what we ever did before Ben came, for interaction, exercise and really good, hearty belly laughter. He’s done that for us. We took him in and he paid us back by kind of ‘knitting’ us all together again with those precious things that tend to be overlooked in the constant daily rush of our modern lives.

Ben hasn’t put much of a dent in our budget, either. So far, his living costs have been minimal and he busies himself around the place, particularly outside where he’s shown quite an aptitude for gardening.
One day just recently, however, his prowess in the digging arena went a bit too far and I was forced to speak out. I was reclining on the lounge when he came barging in from the garden, puffing and panting after his gardening exertions and flopped down beside me, obviously expecting a pat on the back for his efforts. Suddenly my nose was assaulted by a most horrendous stink, unlike anything I’d ever come across before. It was foul! OOOoooooooooorrrrrrrrrr YUK! I yelled. OhhhhhmyGOD! What the hell is that!!! Ben stood there giving me a most hurt and helpless look. He didn’t know what to do or where to go. I did, though, I shoved him outside so fast he couldn’t remember having come in! I complained to my husband about Ben’s dreadful ‘b.o’ and he immediately ushered him into the bathroom. That was the first time he’d ever shocked me. But it wasn’t to be the last.

The very next day, on my arrival home from work, Ben came to the door to meet me, grinning and friendly and all-forgiving. I went to give him a hug and lo-and-behold there was the faint whiff of that awful stink again.

“Ben, what on earth have you been doing?” I demanded, determined to get to the bottom of this. He just looked at me with those beautiful eyes of his reflecting hurt and rejection. I stormed outside to see for myself what he’d been up to, but could find nothing obvious. The usual gardening, the pot plants all normal, the compost bins left untouched. Shaking my head in bewilderment, I pointed him in the direction of the bathroom again.

The following day, on my way in from the clothes line, with cane basket under one arm and peg bag under the other, I had to look down at the step to see where I was going, and there I saw a puzzling sight. A small dark mass of some indeterminate substance was lying on the mat. A closer inspection brought me no nearer to figuring out what it was……animal? vegetable?…..nothing that was actually alive……but wait a minute……it moved….didn’t it? Hang on a minute. I’m intrigued. Throwing the laundry basket aside, I went for my glasses, then bent down to examine the weird little mass more closely.

‘OOOoooooooooorrrrrrr YUK!’ I jumped backwards. Now I like wildlife, there’s no disputing that. But this sort of wildlife I can do without! Now I know what you’re all thinking, but no, it wasn’t a huntsman in disguise, it was a dead – LONG dead – mouse, hardly recognisable but for its tail, and it was moving alright! It was being carried along by MAGGOTS! Now how foul is THAT! Right about when my face turned inside out with disgust, my husband appeared. ‘Oh! That must be the one the cats got a few weeks ago. I thought I’d buried it deep enough but Ben must have dug it up! That’s when the penny dropped. The stink we’d been assaulted with. A maggoty mouse! BEN! How could you!

But I guess a dog will be a dog!

Lori Spencer