“Cookies,” by Lauren Hargrave

Aug 19th, 2010 | By | Category: Prose

“I don’t know what to tell you, our last exterminator wasn’t worth jack.  He bumped and bruised his way through our home like a Neanderthal on steroids.” 

“He was a cute Neanderthal from what I remember.” 

“Eh, I don’t like the cleft chin thing; it reminds me of a plumber’s crack.  And when someone’s ripping your kitchen apart and tearing up your hydrangeas, it’s pretty difficult to find them attractive.” 

“Oh Deb, not the hydrangeas!  You worked so hard on those flowers.” 

“I know!  Our house was a mess.  And you know what, a week after he was finished, mouse poop.”

“Was it there from before?  Maybe you just missed it in the frantic scramble before the ‘arrival’.” 

“Caroline, how long have you known me?  I didn’t miss it.  I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the most recessed corners of my damn kitchen.  I didn’t miss it.  And she sure as hell didn’t miss it.” 

“Oh god, Dan’s mom found the mouse poop?” 

“Of course she did.  She’d find the one speck of dust on Martha Stewart’s mantle.  Do you want to know what she did with it?”

“With what?  The mouse poop?  What does one do with mouse poop other than throw it away?” 

“Caroline, I think she’s crazy.  She wrapped the pellets in one of the linen dinner napkins and when I came down to make breakfast in the morning, she poured me a cup of coffee and then placed the poop right next to it.” 

“Like a present?”

“Like a fucking present.”

“No!  Did Dan see?” 

“Yea, while I’m scrambling her friggin’ free range, organic, gold-plated eggs so they’re not too runny and not too dry, she hands me mouse poop.” 

“I thought she set it next to your coffee.” 

“Whatever, same thing.  It was her way of showing her disapproval, of letting me know it’s all my fault.” 

“What’s your fault?” 

“I don’t know, everything — the house isn’t clean enough, Dan’s stressed at work, the old bats at the club won’t let her in the bridge game.” 

“Yea you really have to stop bribing the Golden Girls- it’s clearly not her sparkling personality they have a problem with.”

“I know, right?  This little war is ridiculous.   I’m almost glad Dan didn’t catch it.” 

“Why?  You need to tell him about this stuff — this woman is torturing you and all you can do is scramble her eggs?” 

“Caroline, you know I tried — remember when we were first dating and she asked what kind of underwear I wore?” 

“Oh my god, I totally forgot about that.” 

“Yea, well so has Dan — he brushed that off as her being old fashioned.” 

“But this is different.  This is mouse poop.” 

“Yea, but I didn’t throw the mouse poop away either.”

“What?  Well what did you do with it?” 

“I did what any good daughter-in-law would do; I made her chocolate chip cookies.”


Lauren Hargrave is a former finance stiff who recently leapt from her flight on Corporate American Airlines and is now looking for her parachute.  Her mother thinks she’s crazy but she spends her days in intangible luxury writing web copy, blogging (www.fiftytwocents.com), and dreaming up the fantastic.  She hopes to one day move out of her childhood bedroom.

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