It’s been, hmm…well, I don’t know how many days since the pandemic started. I’m a writer, not a mathematician.
I just know it’s been plenty of days to ruminate on every bad decision I’ve made over the entirety of my forty-eight years on this planet.
Of course, that’s the number I can always keep track of, no matter how much I try to forget.
And for how many hours a day the neighbour’s dogs bark.
I mean, why have dogs, you know, if you’re just going to ignore them for, say, eight hours, twenty-three minutes…and forty-three seconds.
There, the dogs have finally stopped barking. I should probably get out of the house, go for a walk in the park, but I have a best-selling novel to write.
It’s shaping up pretty good. Draft eleven, here I come! But first, I just need to check my social media for the sixteenth time today.
You know, I’d better turn off the computer completely and get writing. Right after I give my cat her brushie time she’s been meowing at me for. After all, I don’t neglect my pets.
Well, apparently, she doesn’t want brushies, now. She just ran off into the other room, chasing after whatever probably imaginary thing she heard. Gotta love cats, right?
Wait, I heard it too. Sounds like crumpling paper. I hope my cat’s not tearing apart my best-selling manuscript draft number eleven.
Whew, it’s okay. Right there on the desk where I left it 37 days ago. But, you know, I had all that research to do online.
Just thinking about all that research has made me too tired to tackle draft number twelve. I’ll take a quick nap and then I can get a fresh start on today’s writing. It’s only, well, sometime after two in the afternoon. Plenty of time.
Oh no, how long did I sleep? It’s dark out, but it can’t be too late, right? That’s right, it’s winter, so it gets dark early. I’m fine. Besides, I’m determined to rewrite at least a couple of chapters today. Still, it’s strange that kitty didn’t wake me up to scoop her litter box 2.5 seconds after she used it.
I can hear her in there, scratching and scratching and scratching as if she’s trying to bury one of the great pyramids in Egypt.
I stop when I see her white blur dart across the dark room. “Where you going, kitty?” I call out. “I’ve got treats.” I shake the treat bag but she doesn’t answer.
I flick the light switch but the house remains dark. Just another urban brownout. I fumble around on my nightstand for the flashlight and hear something clatter to the floor as I grab the light. I turn on the flashlight but can’t find what fell.
“Kitty,” I call out, shining the light around. There’s no sign of her. Wait, there she is. I swing the light back around to the white glow I’d spotted.
“Kitty, what did you do?” I forget to use my best-pet-owner-ever voice and I’m glad the windows are closed so the neighbour can’t hear me almost-yell at the cat.
I feel nauseous. I know it’s not because I’d forgotten to eat. There, on the floor, are hundreds of scraps of paper. I can only hope it’s not draft eleven.
“It’s okay, kitty, I’m not mad.” I finally find her, crouching behind the TV. “Come on out.” But she still won’t come out, not even for her special treats.
And then I hear more paper rustling, somewhere behind me. If I was already a best-selling author, I wouldn’t have to live in this vermin-infested house. I mean, the mice are cute and all, and even my kitty seems fond of them. At least, she never hunts them, as far as I know.
“Shoo,” I said, but the rustling continued. Flashlight in one hand, I start picking up the bits of paper. The scraps are so small I can’t even tell which page it is.
But I’ve got tape and plenty of time with the pandemic isolation. I can put it back together, I tell myself. I get down on my hands and knees and start scooping up the paper bits. One big piece catches a draft and floats away.
The paper-rustling noise is louder, now, and I hesitate before feeling around for the missing piece under the desk. The noise stops just as I realize what it is. It’s not rustling, it’s . . . chewing. I get low to the floor and shine the light underneath the desk. Something glows, there, and it’s not white. It’s not even the faded gray of a house mouse. It’s…pink?
“What are you,” I say to the strange little creature that still has a scrap of paper hanging out of its mouth. The scrap falls to the ground and the creature ignores it.
“Well, whatever you are, you’re a pretty little thing.” It looked like a teeny pig, or maybe a cow. I waggle my finger towards it. “Come here, critter.”
Based on the seventeen stitches I had to get at the urgent care, it didn’t like me poking it. Luckily, by the time I got back to the house, the strange creature had disappeared.
I could only hope that my cat had broken the truce she formed with our wee fuzzy roommates and eaten the vicious little thing.
Until the next day, when the news was full of dire warnings about supply chain issues and paper shortages–which were blamed on the pandemic.
But we knew the real reason, me and my cat.
That these little pink creatures reproduced as fast as they ate paper. And, who knew, maybe someday, another new lifeform would come along that would have an insatiable taste for plastic.
That natural evolution would succeed where humans had failed, in regards to the planet.
If you all haven’t figured it out by now, this was my entry into Evil Squirrel’s “Ninth Annual Contest of Whatever”, inspired by this (not-so?) pretty-in-pink creature: https://evilsquirrelsnest.com/2022/01/30/the-ninth-annual-contest-of-whatever/!
Go check out the original post(s) about this mysterious creature, complete with illustrations, and the other participants’ posts about this cute pink nightmare!
You have until tomorrow to write up something yourself . . . come join in the fun!
All sightings (and posts) of this strange creature can be found in these posts/comments: