I feel sorry for people who've had dried, dead mice minced up and scattered on their laps without any warning. It must be a very traumatic experience and not at all pleasant.

Such people don't exist, you say?

I beg to differ: I am one. Well, that's not entirely true. But I did sit next to such a person when it happened. I had to exert every ounce of self control not to laugh out loud then. I know, I'm probably insensitive for wanting to laugh since the victim in question was my girlfriend at the time, but it was funny!

You're probably wondering how such a horrible and distressing event could come to pass. Let me explain:

In 1996, I think it was, my car (an old '89 Geo Spectrum) had its clutch go out. Repairing the clutch was going to cost more than the car was worth, so Dad and I decided that getting a new car would be more prudent. I ended up with not a new car, but an '85 Nissan Pulsar (older than my first car) that had been previously owned by my cousin Gay. All in all, the Pulsar was a good vehicle. I drove it for a little more than a year, even got a CD player for it, until an auto accident damaged the car to the point of slow death. Pity. I really liked that Pulsar.

So I then was left with two cars that were out of commission. We kept the Geo on the grounds that I might be able to make enough money and get it properly repaired someday. Dad and I conferred once again and resolved to sell the Pulsar and use the money to repair the Geo. Dad fronted the money and when the Pulsar was finally sold, he kept the proceeds. Not a bad deal, really. I only wish that I'd saved the CD player.

What does this have to do with minced-up mice being spewed on my ex-girlfiend's lap?

Don't be in such a rush. It's coming.

When we got the Geo up and running, I noticed that there was an "odd" smell in it. I chalked it up to mold and mildew from having been left in my Dad's back lawn for a year. "It'll clear up eventually," I told myself. A month later the odor still hadn't dissipated and Fall was encroaching, the cool, windy months of Tennessee. No big deal. It wasn't very warm, so I had no real reason to turn on the A/C, opting instead for only the fan. Even with the fan on, the bad smell didn't go away, though.

I moved from Bowling Green, Kentucky to Nashville, Tennessee to live with my cousin, Faizi. Faizi introduced me to a friend of his, Lydia, whom I took a keen interest in and began dating a short while after we moved in. Luckily, she hadn't been exposed to the bad scent in my car yet, but as it usually goes in relationships, that day was fast approaching. And then, to my dismay, that day finally arrived. I warned her, I did. I tried to encourage her to let us drive her Volvo to the movies that day, but she wasn't hearing any of that. "So it smells bad," she said. "It's a warm Autumn day. We'll open up the windows and hardly notice it. Let's go or we'll miss the previews." I sighed in resignation and off we went.

Maybe I should have taken Interstate 440, but I'm not entirely certain that it would have changed matters any. Yes, we might have gotten there faster and thereby missed disaster, but that's not what happened at all. Disaster struck on West End Avenue, an in-road of Nashville.

Traffic was horrible due to construction and we were trapped, moving 10 feet every 5 minutes. There simply wasn't enough natural wind or air to ventilate my car and the outside temperature was conspiring against me, rising to 95 degrees in September. We were reduced to heat and odiferous offense of our noses. Lydia insisted that I turn on the A/C to at least alleviate the heat.

I'm from California. Heat is no stranger to me nor is it a discomfort. Ugly scents are uncomfortable, though. But for the sake of my girlfriend, I agreed to endure the stench from my car and turn on the A/C- with the windows up.

I flipped on the fan first, but Lydia frowned, making it clear that merely the fan was not good enough. She wanted it cold in my car. I pressed the button to activate the A/C compressor and that's when all hell broke loose in that little blue Geo Spectrum.

As soon as I pressed the button an odd rattling sound began to fill the interior of my vehicle. "Maybe it's just been too long since it's been on," I mused to myself. Tufts of what I thought was grass from my Dad's back lawn which is where, as you'll recall, my car had been sitting for a year, wafted out of the vents. The rattling continued and in the split second it took for me to realize that it wasn't grass that was coming out of my vents after all, I also realized that it was too late. The rattling changed to a sort of... well, it sounded like rocks had gotten into my A/C fan, but the debris told another story. I reached for the button to shut it off and hopefully stop a catastrophe, but as I said- it was too late.

Tiny bits of dehydrated mouse parts started shooting out of the vents in front of Lydia, which is where the A/C fan was housed. She screamed in terror and began to flail her arms all over the place, slapping my arm while shouting, "MAKE IT STOP!" like a shrill mantra.

I turned off the fan and then the A/C for good measure, what for all the good it did- the damage was done. Tufts of mouse fur began to float freely in my car and into our hair and faces. "Well," I thought, "at least I know where the stench was coming from." Poor Lydia wouldn't ride in my car for three months afterward- even having thrice assured her that, yes, all evidence of the event was gone and it wouldn't, couldn't happen again.

Here's what had happened:
During the year that the Geo had been sitting at Dad's place, some field mice (a small family, complete with babies) had taken refuge in my A/C vent shaft. The blistering Summer sun had unfortunately baked them in that shaft and there they stayed as tiny mouse mummies. Petrified rodents, the likes of which even stories such as "The Secret of N.I.M.H." couldn't begin to describe.

Turning on the fan by itself hadn't dislodged the mice. It was when Lydia had demanded that the A/C be used that the flue was opened and the dried-up family of vermin had been freed from their moorings. From the A/C shaft they were instantly sucked into the fan at Lydia's feet and chopped up like ice in a blender- furry ice. Crunchy critters. It took me six hours to dismantle the damn fan and A/C assembly to make sure they were cleaned out and not hiding any more mummified Jerrys. We never did get to the movie.

Fuzzy dice.
Furry mice.
Wouldn't some cold
Be really nice?

Moral of the story:

Don't leave your car in a place where field mice can take up residence and eventually die in your car's A/C shaft. Ignore my advice if you like. Let it be on your head when mouse bits are churned and spit out on your girlfriend's lap.

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