On June 6 2015, sponsored a family storytelling event at Global Family Reunion in New York. We asked participants young and old to share family stories. This is one of them. 

By Arjun Mazumdar

During the day, my room was my favorite place to be. A space so personal was meant for people who were unique, like myself. But when darkness falls, when the sunshine melts from the windowpanes, when your toys cast eerie shadows that cackle on the wall, it’s like the rug is ripped out from under you. You are left on the cold hard floor. That night, I tried to distract myself with a comic book, which I do most nights. My flashlight rays push away the darkness, and illuminate the colorful pages as my favorite comic book characters jump off trains, and escape gun-wielding crooks. But suddenly, Tintin was stopped in his tracks. A sound broke the silence. Quickly, I stuffed my book under the bed and turned off the flashlight. I then feigned the innocent sleeping boy. I lay there like a stiff salamander trying to blend in, and waited for the light to flood into the room, as the door would be thrown open by my mom or dad. 

But nothing came. I soon realized, that the sound was unlike the footfalls of my parents. It came from inside the room itself. The sounds of late night traffic out on Queens Boulevard were comforting, but not comforting enough. It came again, this time from the far wall. I looked across the room. The curtains were hanging down and swaying a bit, but otherwise no movement. I remembered a scene from a movie where a mouse was swinging from curtains and stealing food from a kitchen. So you can imagine my surprise when a small dark shape careened down the curtain and slammed into a box of Legos, scattering them everywhere.

I screamed and rushed to my mother and father’s room. “MOUSE! MOUSE!” I yelled, frantically waking them up and dragging them to my room. But when we arrived, we were greeted by stillness. My father stalked around the room, taking in the mess made by the mouse. But it resembled the rest of the room, so I could have made it as far as he was concerned. My mother had uncovered my comic book stash, and with a good hiding, they sent me to bed. In a room with a mouse. What great parents.

The next day, it was my birthday party. The time when parents lean back on couches with wine curled in their hands, relieved that their children are not annoying them. The cataract of Lego pieces being sifted through came from my room. Screams came from when a small toy found its way underneath some unsuspecting kid’s food. And I was receiving the best gift I had gotten that evening, a Star Wars clone blaster with a detachable scope and laser pointer. So that night, I was almost hoping that the mouse would show up.

When it did, I did a choreographed spin off my bed, grabbed the gun and hissed “Show yourself, Grasshopper!” It did. It was jumping along my bookshelf, and picking its way in and out of my graphic novel collection. This angered me. Bullets flew, from the gun of the young desperado, shooting down crooks in the Wild West. But when the dust cleared, the mouse was hanging from the curtain, unharmed, almost laughing at me. With a whoop, I let fly the last bullet, and it hit the soft curtains next to the mouse. It promptly fell into a large toy box, which immediately racked up and down with shaking noises and growls of protest.

My parents stormed in, ready to reprimand me, no doubt. That was when they spotted the violently shaking box. Shrugging, my dad took the box out to the dumpster and my mother took my gun away and sent me to bed. What an anticlimax! That was when I learned that little kid problems are just inconveniences to grownups, so it’s best not to get in the way. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t have a bit of fun while we are waiting.