Being a modern, enlightened male who believes in equality of the sexes, when I heard my wife, Marianne, emit a high-pitched screech from the kitchen this morning, I immediately took on an “every man for himself” attitude. Never let it be said that even in a moment of crisis I was willing to compromise my respect for women by engaging in some archaic, misogynistic posturing as the big, male protector of the fairer sex. That I was willing to elbow her out of the way so I could make it out of the door first speaks to my unshakable commitment to the cause of female equality

That she screeched at all was alarming in and of itself. Marianne is not a girly girl. If her tire goes flat, she changes it. If a goat gets its head stuck in a fence, she wrestles it out. She is not a big fan of snakes, but she doesn’t freak out when she sees one around the farm. There are bugs she takes an active dislike to, but this was not a bug-based screech she was making. If it was, the bug would have had to approach the size of a rhinoceros.

It wasn’t a bug.

Earlier, we woke up to the sound of running water. A creek was running out from under our kitchen sink and a large swath of our flooring had been transformed into a pond.

Unfortunately, my attempt to fix the problem by using a bunch of cuss words did not work. We wound up shutting the water off using a shut off valve under the kitchen sink. Odd thing was, the pipe that was leaking didn’t look broken so much as it looked chewed up.

Marianne assigned herself the task of cleaning out the cabinet under the sink, while I was given mop detail inasmuch as my attempt to cuss the water away had also failed.

She was hauling out the small trash can we keep under the sink when a mouse leapt out of it and ran across her arm. From the volume of the screech she emitted, I can only assume it was brandishing a firearm.

The mouse leapt to the floor and escaped to parts unknown. Whether it ran or swam or used a mouse-sized outboard I don’t know. I never saw it. I had my back to her when the incident occurred. She later claimed I screamed, too, then jettisoned myself out of the room, which is of course ridiculous. In her state of shock and surprise, she was obviously imagining things.

Eventually, we got the water cleaned up. To that end, all I can say is thank goodness we don’t have carpeting in the house.

A friend who is a plumber was called and he fixed the pipe.

“A mouse chewed it up,” he told us.

I am basically a live and let live type guy, but Marianne insisted the mouse had to go. Really insisted. My life or the mouse’s insisted.

We set a trap and baited it with peanut butter. The next day the culprit was no more. I checked it for firearms, but found none.

Of course, Marianne has no appreciation for the feminist movement the way I do much less my commitment to it. She has come up with her own theory as to why I allegedly hollered and ran out of the room leaving her alone to face some unknown menace.  It is a bit farfetched, so I won’t embarrass her by mentioning it here.

Anyway, the mouse problem has been resolved for now. The next one I see, I’ll try my hand at cussing it away.