In the country. Cat brings in a shrew. Mum and I coo, impressed. Cat kills shrew a bit. Shrew hides in a cushion. Cat pats cushion. Cushion squeaks. Cat grows tired of homemade muppetphone and slinks back out through cat flap.
Mum and I are left alone with potentially dead vermin in a corner. We prod it with a stick. It is alive.
"You've got to kill it," urges Mum, a bit Lady Macbeth.
Suddenly, horribly, armed with a mallet and a dustpan, I realise I've not killed anything bigger than a bug. The next minute isn't pleasant. It's probably easier to put something out of its misery if your eyes are open. Instead I make some dents in the skirtingboard.
I used to be okay at this - when I lived by the river, it was a daily chore to get rid of dead rats from the kitchen. It wasn't pleasant but I could do it. But this thing was alive. And quite squishy.
Eventually the tiny corpse is scooped up and thrown out into the night. The cat watches all of this from the garden. Curious and pitying.
"I hate that cat," announces my mother and goes to bed. I go and find the gin.