7 Days Of My Life As Written On A "While You Were Out" Notepad

Feb. 2, 2013
Laura Jayne Martin is a writer living in New York City. Her work has been featured on McSweeney's Internet Tendency, ...

Day 7. WHILE YOU WERE OUT – I held a funeral.

As you may already know, a few days ago I committed a murder. The tiny brown mouse we called “Norman” was my victim. In my defense, I was temporarily insane from the past seven days and suffering from something that for now I’m going to call “mouseblindness.” Also, my vegetarian-fed arms don’t have the strength to aim Tupperware correctly.

I understand that I live in New York City and these things happen. I once killed a cockroach by throwing a cinderblock one-handed down my hallway, while slightly inebriated. It was seven apartments ago and I still think about it. I’m never proud of killing something, but sometimes, in this city, it’s you or the roach.

This is our second mouse in the apartment, since three years ago, when we caught one in a dog food container and then locked ourselves out of our apartment while still holding it. Things were different with this brown mouse, Norman. It was three days (days 4-6 to be exact) and counting. This might sound crazy, but at the time I thought the first mouse might have sent him for revenge. Wait, of course that sounds crazy, I was mouseblind.

I chased Norman for two hours, trying to catch him with a Tupperware, so I could bring him outside. Setting him free was likely just sending him to be killed somewhere else, but that’s the kind of magnanimous hypocrite I am. I tried to be ginger and hoped that he thought it was all just a fun game of asshole and mouse.

Finally, like Michael Myers, I cornered him in the bedroom closet. I brought the plastic container down and trapped him underneath. The only problem is ALL of him was not underneath. I looked down at the Tupperware in horror — this can’t be the way those women who threw all of those parties in the 60s wanted me to use this product!

I won’t write any more graphic details. He died. I watched him, and then I sobbed pathetically. Also, for some reason I kept wailing, “he was so little!” and crumbled into a ball like Sean Penn in that scene from Mystic River.

You’re not religious. You’re also not bat shit mouse funeral crazy. So, while you were out I threw Norman a funeral. It was more of a memorial service really. I played a couple songs, read a prayer, ate some cheese; I like to think cheese puts the FUN in funeral.

***There is no “Mouse Funeral” checkbox or “Explain Your Mouse Funeral” area on the WHILE YOU WERE OUT notepad, so I wrote this in the “messages” section.***

Day 3. WHILE YOU WERE OUT – I argued with a stranger about the cancelled supernatural TV soap opera Passions.

The day before Norman the mouse first appeared, two Verizon repair men came to put in our brand new, yet already-outdated copper telephone line. This was after last week’s Fruitless Phone Jack Search 2012, which also occurred while you were out. You probably remember because I used up all the post-its writing you about it. The Verizon guy had the Dexter theme song as his ringtone. I quickly tried to remember if I recently murdered anyone and got off on a technicality.

As you know, Norman’s death hadn’t happened yet, so I was okay. Verizon Dexter wasn’t here for me. I told him I thought there should be a Dexter DVD bonus feature where Michael C. Hall does a voice-over commentary over all his voice-over segments. Apparently, he was a Dexter aficionado and he related to me how the heightening of the science fiction/fantasy elements during this past season of Dexter reminded him of how the show Passions went off the rails.

As with all conversations about Passions, this one quickly turned into a heated debate. Was Passions ever on the rails? Why were there so many Summertime Extravaganzas? Was it definitely Vincent who made sure that Eve was drunk before surgery causing her to reattach Julian’s penis upside-down? In all the commotion over Passions, I did not realize that when they drilled a hole in the outer wall for the new phone jack, it made enough room for Norman the mouse to enter, just like on Passions when Julian and Timmy entered a magical realm called “Oz” after Sheridan “apparently” perished in a boat explosion and Theresa wound up married to Ethan’s ex-stepfather.

***There is no “Passions Fight” checkbox on the WHILE YOU WERE OUT notepad, so as you can see I have just checked “Urgent” and left you my fax number.***

Day 1. WHILE YOU WERE OUT – I lost my iPhone without moving and, later, stabbed the couch.

Two days before the Passions incident — I won that debate by the way — I was anticipating a normal afternoon. I sent a text message and then sat on my couch writing for two hours. Then I needed to oh, I don’t know, LIVE MY LIFE, but I couldn’t because my iPhone had suddenly vanished. Luckily, I remembered sending the text so I knew it couldn’t have gone far. I commenced what in the Lifetime movie version of these events they will call Apartment Destruction: Frenzied iPhone Search 2013.

I picked up the apartment phone to call my iPhone, but I could not call out. I immediately suspected foul play. I quickly set the apartment’s alert posture to DEFCON 1 because — despite number logic — “one” is the most severe defense readiness condition. However, it turned out that the home phone service had been shut off due to nonpayment. I was unaware I had to pay them since there wasn’t even a phone jack in my apartment yet, so technically we could not enjoy ANY of the benefits of Verizon home phone service — like *SPOILER ALERT* an apartment full of mice.

I searched, emailed people to call me, and finally Facebooked (it’s a verb in emergency situations) my sister who called my home phone. Deadbeat tip: people can call your home phone even when you can’t call out. My sister stayed on the line, like a 911 operator, and used her cell to call my iPhone, in the hopes that the ringing would help me find it. Things devolved quickly after that considering that due to my right-sided deafness, I am terrible at localizing sound. It took me over an hour to discover what I had feared all along: the call was coming from inside… the couch.
The phone had slid through the space where the back and seat meet and down to the bottom of the couch. The only way to retrieve it was to cut it open from the bottom. If you’re wondering, yes, the knife definitely got caught in the lining and I ended up slashing a two-foot hole in the couch. As an added insult, the iPhone taped most of my delirious and harrowing search.

***There is no “I Couldn’t Answer Your Call Because My Phone Was Inside The Couch” checkbox on the WHILE YOU WERE OUT notepad, so I just checked “Please Call Me Back” and left you with excerpts from the voicemail messages my iPhone recorded while in the couch and the suggestion that maybe you shouldn’t go out anymore. *** TC mark

Laura Jayne Martin

Laura Jayne Martin

Laura Jayne Martin is a writer living in New York City. Her work has been featured on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, …

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