When last we left our heroes…actually, if you want to read the first part (and you should), please, catch up first. Seriously, I’ll wait.
And now, the exciting conclusion…
I lay stretched out on the couch. I still ached from all the lifting and moving, and now my brain was beginning to feel the lull. It was two in the morning. Sleep was tempting, but I knew better.
Time was running out, and my brilliant solution still eluded me. Poor little Mildred (the naming process was still in the early stages), wouldn’t do well in the following day’s boiling heat and oppressive humidity. The need for a decision crept steadily closer.
There were few options to be had, and each had clear and rather unpleasant consequences: 1. I could go for it and move her in (to answer the question you undoubtedly just asked yourself, yes, by this point I had determined the gender of an inanimate object). This would surely be a poor decision. I might as well send the vile little buggers a fruit basket. 2. I could throw in the towel, say I gave it my best shot, and drag her over to her demise in the foul maw of the nearby dumpster. Naturally, this would be followed by a scene involving me going back upstairs, locking myself in the bathroom and unabashedly sobbing for the next hour (kidding aside, this is precisely what would happen . Don’t even get me started on the memorial service). Clearly, this course of action was unthinkable. I would sooner have rented a second apartment than let her come to such an end.
In the meantime, though, Claire would eventually need her car back, and I doubted the notion of hauling around an infested organ everywhere she goes would have much appeal. One choice remained: 3. Give her away. This, of course, came with its own complications. It would be difficult to find a taker in any case, let alone one who would endure the arduous interview process I’d conduct as well as agree to my demand for regular visitation rights. Our single selling point was that it could easily be delivered, which is small consolation when what you’re having delivered is home to a legion of pestilent filth-mongers. That would be like the Trojan doorman who signed for the horse bragging because he didn’t pay a delivery charge.
To add to my already substantial list of self-inflicted wounds, Claire’s tainted Honda would need to be thoroughly cleaned, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise as to who was getting that job. Small as this concern might seem, I knew what horrors awaited me there. Wherever I turned, there were pests to dealt with.
Then it hit me. I knew what to do. “Alright,” I addressed Claire with all the confidence I could muster. “The way I see it, we’re fighting a two-sided battle. Obviously the organ has an…issue. But the car is probably overrun as well. We’ll need to deal with that regardless of what we do with the organ, so why not deal with both at once? Baby…” I looked her squarely in the eye. “Let’s bomb this mother.”
She didn’t immediately react with the enthusiasm I had hoped for. She was rightfully skeptical, but a quick internet search of “how to kill roaches in car” revealed that yes, you can safely fill your car with poison. She reluctantly gave me her approval and the next morning I was off to the hardware store. I returned with a bag filled with dangerous chemicals and my game-face.
I parked the car in a remote corner of the lot, tightly sealed the windows, locked the doors, and removed my toxin-filled grenade from its cardboard casing. “Yippy-ki-yay, mutha f*****s,” I growled in my best Bruce Willis impression (or I would have, if I was clever enough to think of something cool to say at the right time). A violent stream of noxious gas erupted from the mouth of the bomb, and I set it down carefully on an old newspaper in the seat and hurried away, slamming the door behind me.
Through the course of the day, I periodically checked to see if the car had exploded or if an unlucky would-be car thief had received the final shock of his life. None of this happened, fortunately, and soon the car was aired out enough that I dared go back in. Claire nervously winced as I fired the car up, but no flames burst out of the air conditioner. I said a quick prayer of thanks to Robin McDaniel and pulled the car in front of the apartment. Now we just needed that elusive third person.
He arrived by bicycle. His name was David, he spoke virtually no English, and he seemed justifiably perplexed as to why two complete strangers had suddenly taken an interest in him. We only wanted him to hold open the hatch, but he went the extra mile and lugged the burdensome organ up the stairs with me and set it carefully on the balcony. We expressed our gratitude with an Eskimo Pie and a beer (now known as the David Special) which he accepted with a kind smile. Simply put, David is the man.
Once Claire’s car was again next to godliness, I was able to turn my attention back to my long anticipated treasure. I spent a lot of time on the balcony that week. I cleaned, I polished, I disinfected, I applied generous amounts of roach bait to the baseboards, I read her bedtime stories, I cleaned some more. I tested her for sound when I was sure enough gas had cleared from it. A gentle whisper of synthesized glory clashed with the din of traffic and my heart melted. The day came when I decided it was safe to move it in, and I had one last surprise in store.
It was time to remove the back panel and clean the inside of the organ. This was the moment I had dreaded. Armed to the teeth with pesticides, I slid the wooden panel off and leaped back. Nothing. Lots of dust, plenty of circuits and wires, but not a single bug, dead or living. I shrugged, perhaps a little vexed that I went through lots of trouble for nothing, but I quickly got over it. I had a pest-free organ that still worked and it only cost me some household cleaners, time, and elbow grease. I continued vacuuming up the dust bunnies. At least, I thought they were dust bunnies.
There, in the center of a tangled gray nest, a tiny, stiff claw protruded upward. I dipped the tip of the vacuum extension in and unearthed the mummified remains of a church mouse.
I dashed inside, gyrating wildly in what Claire would come to describe as a “girly chicken dance.” When she had recovered from her fit of hysteria, she fetched me a pair of rubber gloves and a bandana to tie in front of my mouth. I returned to the organ. I knew what must be done. On a count of three, I plucked the little corpse up and flung it hard over the rail. It landed neatly on a tree branch, and remained there, hovering ominously a mere fifteen feet away. It was still visible for another hour or so until it finally dropped off, but sometimes I mistakenly think I can still see it.
The organ now resides in a place of honor in the living room. I initially thought I’d put it in my studio, but I changed my mind. It didn’t seem right. This little wonder has brought great joy to me already, but that joy shouldn’t belong to just me. I wouldn’t have made it through this whole ordeal without the generosity and selflessness of a few random strangers (and one particular non-stranger who, as far as I know, hasn’t yet changed her decision to marry me). Whenever I study its unassuming smallness or listen to its robust, mellow sound, it reminds me of the kindness of those who had no reason to be kind but were kind anyway. That reminder comes in handy, and I couldn’t imagine a better manifestation of it.
Oh, and by the way, her name is Lucy if you haven’t already figured that out. To find out why and to learn about some of the cool specs of my little baby, stay tuned.