Pardon me, I've been away. Many things have happened since I stepped out on the sidewalk to stand with my union. Not the least of which was the mouse. On the third day of the strike, I was making ready to do my ten thousand steps in front of the school when I got a call on my cellular telephone. It was coming from inside the school.
"Mister Caven, can you please come in and help with this mouse?"
It was our custodian, a very dedicated and hard-working individual who takes on most messes that would make a parent squirm without flinching. But not rodents. Like so many of us, she has a distinct and unshakable fear of little animals with beady eyes and tails.
"I'm sorry. I really can't do that. I'm out here on the picket line, and if I came inside I would be crossing that line and -" I wasn't able to finish my sentence.
"There's just this one and it's still early. No one has to know." This mouse was not going easily unto this good night.
"I would know. And so would my colleagues out here," I gestured toward my fellow teachers who had no idea why they were being referenced.
After a long pause: "Okay. We'll just stay out of that room."
That was a week ago. I can only assume that there are still mice in the building, since when there's one there are dozens. The first thing I did when we returned to work after settling the strike was to seek out our custodian. "Any luck?"
"With the mouse?" She knew exactly what I was talking about.
"Sorry I couldn't help out." I really was. This is precisely the kind of thing I have made a career of since I came to the school back in the olden days. When mice were nine feet long with lasers for eyes and poisonous venom in their fangs.
I was then regaled with several tales from our cafeteria supervisor and our custodian about encounters with mice while the teachers were on strike.
Well, I'm back now, mice. You can run, but you cannot hide.