It is utterly baffling to me that my mother, who grew up on a farm, can get unhinged by a rodent. We learned this fact early as children, and it could be used to advantage.
One day my little brother rushed into the house. “Look what I found, Mom! A mouse!” Dangling the specimen by its tail, he grinned expectantly. Mom did not disappoint.
“Eeeeeeee! Get that thing out of here!” she shrieked.
Little Bro gave chase, swinging the mouse higher for her to admire, “It’s only a mouse. It won’t hurt you!”
“Out! Get out!” she shouted, trying to keep her distance. “I hate them! Eeeeeeeeee, repulsive!” What fun to have such power over your mother.
“But it’s so cute! See, Mom?” Dangle, dangle. More shrieks. He kept following her from room to room, obviously not alleviating her phobia.
Finally backed into a corner, Mom pointed at him in the most threatening manner she could muster under the circumstances. “That’s enough! I mean it. Take that thing outside!”
“Right now!” This tone implied serious, undesirable potentialities.
Reluctantly, he took his prize outside. When he returned mouse-less, eyes dancing, Mom said, “Now you go wash your hands.”
Little Bro hesitated, then frowned and said, “I’m not going to eat it!”