There was a mouse aboard. The Cap’n was indifferent. My wife and mother in law adamant; it had to go. On this point, they would not capitulate. Traps got set; the cheese disappears. Then the Cap’n becomes upset – mouse droppings have appeared on his chart table and Captain’s Digest.
The mouse must have found its way aboard by chance at Spinney’s yard while Psyche was on the hard for some repairs. But no matter how the lading had occurred, it had to go. As the human servant of the best mouser in the cove, aka the Grey Menace – Clancy J Bümps, I was informed by the Cap’n that seaman Bümps was to report aboard at 0800 hours for mouse patrol.
By lucky chance, seaman Bümps was napping when I grabbed him, tossed him in the seabag, and shanghaied him for duty aboard the good ketch Psyche.
I did not have him salute the colors as he came aboard, nor did I have him request permission to come aboard. I took him to the fo’castle right off. Like a typical sea lawyer, he complained that the press-gang had illegally detained him. He demanded his liberty. I allowed him to go on deck. The waters of the cove surrounded us. Seaman Bümps went below on mousing duty – grumble you may but go you shall.
Over the following days, we discovered that it was an invasion of mice. Seaman Bümps was promoted to Master at Arms Bümps and now received a daily ration of hard cheddar from the Cap’ns own hand. Their once frosty relationship warming.
The Grey Menace could now also clamber up the companionway to the deck. Finding a spot on the foredeck, he could comfortably nap in the sun between hunting expeditions. The day came when all the mice were gone, and new orders were cut for duty ashore. No seabag was needed. The little brat had cozied up to the Cap’n. He was now used to rowing about the cove in the skiff.
Like any sailor just ashore, his walk had a sure roll to it; the first catnip toot of shore leave left him lying on the couch in a stupor, and he had many tales to tell the land-loving cats.
Home is the sailor from the sea.

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