The Mousetrap

(This is a short story I read on Quora by Praveen Mohan. All credits go to him for this beauty of a story).


He had spent the best part of the morning trying to navigate rush hour en route to his office. His boss was in an especially foul mood and yelled at him for no reason. He bore it stoically – the job market wasn’t so hot. He didn’t feel like socializing that day, so at lunch time he ate the cold, soggy lunch that he had brought in his Tupperware, in his cubicle.

His back creaked, having been subjected to stress by sitting continuously in the same position. He sat hunched over the monitor, squinting at the bright LCD screen awash in the glare of the fluorescent lights overhead. The harsh, artificial lighting strained his unblinking eyes and often gave him a headache. The air conditioner continued to emit the same tepid air and he wondered how refreshing the air outdoors was. His cubicle was too far away from the windows, so the light rain that fell that afternoon was left unappreciated. He maintained a constant pecking on his keyboard, in response to the never-ending stream of mails in his Inbox and silently cursed all the idiots who cc-ed and bcc-ed him in their emails for no apparent reason. Finally, it was time to go home.

After wrestling with the evening traffic and purchasing the weekly groceries, he sat down wearily on the sofa. His wife promptly took the opportunity to share with him the shenanigans committed by the maid and the various issues in her family forest. Mentally shaken, he took his kids to the playground and kept an eye on them while they screamed at the other kids.

Later, after paying the bills and balancing the checkbook, he decided to call it a night. Before his head could hit the pillow and spirit him away, his wife asked him to check the kitchen to see if they had finally caught the rodent stealing their food. They had. He picked up the mousetrap and held it up at eye level to take a better look.  The rat desperately lunged at the walls of the trap, trying to break free, seeking the tantalizing freedom that was awaiting it outside.

Easy fella, I know exactly how you feel”, he whispered.


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