One Cold Day & A Frozen Mouse for Charlie Snake

Well, here we are and it’s Friday already and time for a weather report.  It’s cold. That’s it. No higher than 35 degrees farenheit (what’s that, about 3.5 centrigrade?)  all day and it’s going to be bitterly cold all weekend.  Brrrrr.

Maisy & Eddie Have the Right Idea Keeping Warm(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Maisy & Eddie Have the Right Idea Keeping Warm
(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

I had to go into town today to run some errands.  Oh joy.  On a Friday.  In the afternoon, just when the kids are getting out of school and people are getting out of work early.  Why do I pick these times?   I had every intention of going out first thing this morning, get it over and done with.  Ah, but the spirit is willing and the flesh is weak.

I always park at the top of town (it is a particularly hilly town) for two reasons: one, it is free (the best reason of all) and two, it forces me to have to walk all the way down to the bottom of the high street.  Hence, I get some exercise!  Park, shop, walk.  Not bad.

The reason I had to go to the bottom of town is to go to the pet shop to get a frozen mouse for Charlie (my daughter’s pet corn snake, who else?).  She should have been with me but she wasn’t feeling too good this morning so I promised to do this little errand for her, kindly soul that I am (idiot more like).

I don’t like doing this at the best of times, as the thought of carrying around a frozen mouse in my shopping whilst walking around town is not the most thrilling of prospects to me, but at least they put it in a paper bag for me so I don’t actually have to see it.

So, there I was, asking for a large frozen mouse, only to be told that they didn’t have any.  However, they informed me that they have another shop way up at the very top of town above the big Tesco there (there is a little group of shops and a cafe at the top of this Tesco) and they have frozen mice there, the assistant assured me.

The fact that I had just walked all the way down to the pet shop, loaded up with shopping bags (not fun stuff either you understand, I’m talking about things like loo cleaner, shower gel and laundry detergent  and such) was lost on her. Still, as I said at the beginning, I did want the exercise so I shouldn’t complain.

Saying thank you, (what was I actually saying thank you for?  Isn’t it funny how we do that?) I left the shop and proceeded to haul myself and my load back up to the top of town. Probably just as well it is so cold, as I was already breaking out into a sweat. My scarf started to feel like a constricting boa around my neck,  all hot and itchy and tight.  Think I’ve got snakes on my mind for some strange reason.

Can I just say here before I go on with this little story that it took forever for my daughter to work on me before I allowed her to get a snake and keep it in the house.  I mean, I’m sorry, but I am just not that keen on them.

I’ve got to hand to her, she did all the research, how to look after them, how to keep them, feed them etc. and she got a great deal on the vivarium, heating pad and various snake-accessories (and the snake itself).  Incidentally, for any snake-lovers out there, Charlie is a ghost corn snake, so grey instead of the usual reddish (?) colour.  He does have a sweet head though, I’ll give him that. But I just cannot bear to touch him.  So long as she keeps him safe in his little snake-world and away from me, then it’s alright.

Charlie -Taken at Christmas when I wasn't looking(c)copyright Sherri Matthews 2012

Charlie -Taken at Christmas when I wasn’t looking
(c)copyright Sherri Matthews 2012

Right, back to the story,and this is where the fun starts.  So, having traipsed all the way back up to Tesco I went inside and headed to the escalators to go to the top-level.  Wouldn’t you know it, they were broken.  Only one way up now and this is by lift.  Which of course was packed.  I eventually managed to squeeze inside only to be pushed aside by some bloke standing behind me who decided he didn’t want to use the lift after all.

Got the top, stepped out and entered the pet shop.  “Hello,” I said as cheerily as I could, “could I please have a large frozen mouse?”

“Yes,” the friendly lady said, “they’re over there in the freezer.  Help yourself”.

Panic. “Errrr, ok.” I replied, not quite sure I had heard right.  I headed over to the freezer and slowly opened it, terrified at what might jump out at me.  The sight that met my eyes will never leave me.  A pile of stiff, frozen rats. Where were the mice?

The lady came over.  “Oh,” she said, “I don’t think we do have any frozen mice.”  Deep breath. We both looked, staring into the freezer and sure enough, the box labelled ‘Large Mice’ was empty.  Then I spotted another box next to it labelled ‘Medium Mice’ just under the pile of frozen rats and saw that there were indeed a few inside it.

“I’ll take one of those instead,” I said.  “Fine,” she replied.  Then we both stood there, neither of us doing anything.  I was waiting for her to get it out for me but she then told me that she couldn’t touch them because she couldn’t bear to.  She works in a pet shop.  I couldn’t believe it.  So, I had to take a plastic bag and use it to pick up the frozen mouse corpse myself, flicking it inside the bag hurriedly, only for the tail to poke out and touch my hand.  I don’t know who jumped more, the shop lady or me.  Honestly, it’s ridiculous.

It was bad enough when we had a fire-bellied toad (oh, yes we’ve had the lot) and we had to feed live crickets to it, those horrible things leaping around all over the place. Don’t worry, I shall regale you with that story another time if you care to read about it.

The worst thing was that I then had to walk back to the car with this frozen mouse all the way through the supermarket, across the road and through the car park with it in a see-through plastic bag.  I was afraid to put it with my other shopping incase it fell out all over it. I tried to hide it from view but I was sure that everyone was looking at it, at me, and murmuring amongst themselves, “there goes the mad mouse-lady of Somerset.”

I couldn’t get home fast enough and sit down with a large mug of sweet tea to calm my nerves and get over the shock. The bottle of wine is chilling in the fridge.  That’s for later.

All I can say is this, Charlie better enjoy his supper tonight because unless my daughter goes out to get the next mouse, it will be a long time before he eats again.

Wrap up warm and have a lovely weekend.

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri is a writer with work published in print magazines, anthologies and online. As a young British mum of three, she emigrated to California and stayed for twenty years. Today she lives in England's West Country, a full-time carer within her family. Her current WIP after completing her memoir is a psychological thriller.
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4 Responses to One Cold Day & A Frozen Mouse for Charlie Snake

  1. All I can say is I love snakes but not in captivity, just for such reasons! My poor friend traipsing all over hill and dale for a frozen mouse! I do remember chasing you with one of my rats with his tail spinning madly. Oops, don’t mean to traumatize you further. lol Your a good Mum my friend! xxxxx


    • sherrimatt says:

      Yes, that memory did go through my mind as I wrote this piece!!! I get kind of the same thing with Charlie! I just had a feeling when I set out today that something like this would happen! xxxxx


  2. mumblypeg says:

    Oh boy, I was with you every step of the way on this one. I am only a tny bit braver than you but the mouse thing is enough to send you to the shrink! Ugggg Still I did laugh at all that went on. Well told! I hope Charlie and your girl appreciate all your endeavours. xxxx


    • sherrimatt says:

      Thanks Mumblepeg! Glad it made you laugh! Charlie certainly appreciated his supper after all that, so it was all worth it! Daughter was very appreciative and thought it was hilarious of course 🙂


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