Ali fixed his secret breakfast blend when I woke and we ate together, watching the day grow warm. I returned from loading the bike to find him fiddling with a mouse trap. A tiny mouse had appeared in the bathtub overnight, huddling near the drain and refusing to leave. We set the trap with peanut butter and set it carefully inside the tub, inches from the creature. We watched quietly, neither of us really wanting to kill the thing. Nothing. We left to finish breakfast, but the fate of the mouse still hung in the air. Ali checked on it again, but the thing hadn't taken the bait.
"I could take him with me." I offered, "Drop him off somewhere down the road."
"Yeah," he quickly agreed, "Maybe it's a lucky mouse, since it hasn't been caught in the trap yet."
We pulled the trap, relieved to have found a way to save the mouse without shirking our manly duties. Ali put the mouse into a pasta box and I duct taped it shut (thanks again for the tape, Louisiana Gas Station Clerk). The box wedged nicely into my tankbag and I prepped to ride. Ali sprayed water after me for good luck, the custom of his hometown in Iran. In the desert, water holds severe importance. To pour it after departing guests is a wish for good fortune and safe return. I felt honored by the gesture. Travel by motorcycle seems to bring with it a whiff of adventure and superstition.
I thought about taking the little Ralph S. Mouse all the way to Arizona, but decided against it, figuring the trip would be too much for him. I dropped him off at the highway gate. He sprang from the box and sprinted into the underbrush. There wasn't much room on the bike for hitchers, but I was glad to have made accommodations. So long, Ralph.