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Alien Invasion

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The plastic flowers we took to the cemetery over Memorial Weekend came from Walmart and their favorite supplier in mainland China, an Asian communist country. Normally, when I think of Asian or African producers of cheap products, I think of children being forced to work long hours in sweatshops. But that's not China. Not any longer. Because of enforced birth control, children in China are highly valued. The Chinese workers in the memorial wreath sweatshops are probably senior citizens forced off their small plots of land by metropolitan crawl or disenfranchised during the Cultural Revolution.

When I see the multitude of plastic flower wreaths in their octagonal cardboard boxes, I visualize the multitude of ships required to deliver them to the US. It's harder to picture a ship loaded with plastic flowers than it is to picture an oil tanker, but I guess, in elemental form, both of them are conveyors of imported oil, the former, imported twice. I can't help but wonder about the carbon footprint of the simple act of placing plastic flowers on a grave.

But let me get back to my story.

Ever frugal in strange ways, Kathy always buys wreaths after Memorial Day, when they hit the half-price shelves. We store them in a shed for use next year. Beside a couch, as I write this while reclining in our living room, are six octagonal boxes, Chinese plastic flower wreath boxes waiting delivery to the shed out back. They've been there for several days, ever since we brought them home from Walmart. That's because not long after I brought the boxes in, I noticed a mouse crawling out from under the couch. It was a stowaway and an unexpected sight. I think the mouse was as startled as I was.

Although we sometimes make grudging exceptions for well-behaved dogs, Kathy and I really only tolerate animals of the human variety in our house. The mouse had to go. It wasn't easy. First, we tried my long-time favorite bait: Jiffy peanut butter. Next day, I could tell the creature had delicately sampled the fare before refusing it. We tried Quaker Old Fashion oats, thinking it might be a country mouse. It still refused the bait. Then came Kathy's favorite: shredded Cheddar cheese. No luck there, either. Finally, I thought China. China. So, I tried a little bit of cooked white rice we had in the fridge...
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Ha, just joking, the Cheddar cheese did the trick. The little alien was exiled from our kingdom. Hopefully, there was just one.
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