Skee & C.G.,
Oh, the Mouseity of it all!! Do my hands drip with blood any less than
the man who places poison and lets mice die a horrible, dehydrating
death in silence? ...or, for that matter, the owner of a Rat Zapper 2000?
This is a veiled reference to the engine of death that lives in my home.
Ok, it all started simply enough. I hadn't set the traps in a long
time, and Linda had noticed the noise of roughhousing mice had grown
louder and more frequent. Not a problem...I'll get to it soon.
Then one day last week Linda was writing at her desk, which is just
behind the pine log chair in the living room, when she thought something
skittered through her peripheral vision. Hmmph, nothing I suppose.
Then another skitter... Then, a mouse, as if auditioning for a live
version of Stuart Little, crawls up on the seat of the chair in front of
her and just stands there. Doesn't run away; doesn't drop to all fours
like a proper mouse; doesn't weave about as if plague-stricken. No, it
just stands there.
What could Linda do? So she calmly but quickly went to the cupboard,
lifted a tumbler, and walked back to the chair. Mouse still standing
there, very much alive and not kicking. She raised the tumbler over the
mouse - still no reaction from the little fellow - and dropped it on
top, then slid a card underneath. Still not much of a reaction.
So she walked out into the woods with the little fellow in said tumbler
and gently dropped him into a bush. (When she was telling me this
story, I wondered why she didn't snuff the little fellow - seeing as he
was very likely ill - but no matter.)
Somewhat shaken by the events, Linda returned to the house, threw away
the now-mouse-nasty tumbler and card, and started writing again.
Minutes passed. When she rose from her work to get a glass from the
kitchen, guess what greeted her, standing (not running; not on all
fours; just standing) in front of her? Yup, another, or the same, calm
mouse. If it could speak, perhaps all this could have been avoided.
Perhaps it came to deliver an ultimatum; perhaps to praise her work.
We'll never know.
At any rate, Linda goes through the same routine, this time dropping our
little friend farther into the woods. End of story.
So, the next day (or so) I put traps under the sink. And within the
span of 40 minutes, I catch four mice - there must be hundreds living
under the house - then, nothing. Just the four mice, as if a mousey
double-date had gone horribly wrong.
Time passes, and I catch a mouse every few days. Nothing terribly odd
about that (as some reassurance to the reader and potential visitors to
the house, the exterminators are coming soon, to place those nasty,
dehydrating poisons all over the crawlspace, and rid the house of the
Tonight while I'm perusing our DVD collection, figuring out what to
watch, I hear the ambivalent SNAP of the trap. Usually I wait a
discreet interval, to let the victim die in peace. But this one won't
die... FLOP I hear. FLOP... FLIP, FLOP!! And I know that it's going to
be a messy one - it undoubtably has it's foot caught in the trap, and
I'm going to have to pop it into a box, take it outside and flatten it
with a shovel, acting like some been-out-there-a-little-too-long farmer
in a Stephen King novel: "Wall, hi there, Mister banker! Been a long
time!" WHANNGGGG!! "By, Mister Banker - sure is a nice Fall!"
I open up the doors under the sink and... no trap in sight. The little
fellow has enough on the ball that he's dragged the trap (pretty quickly
too) into the back of the under-sink space. I get a broom to sweep him
out. On my return, he's traveled even farther into the catacombs of the
buffet, and to see where he is, I have to get uncomfortably close to his
Ah, I think: all I need is that little grabby long-handled thing and
we're cooking! But where is it? And how long will it be before my
little friend has wedged himself inextricably into the labyrinthine
passages under the sink, to slowly, agonizingly, and very noisily flop
himself to death over the next three days, wailing frequently in Mousey
Language "For the love of God, Montressore!"
I tear through the house - no little grabby long-handled thing is to be
had! I check back on mousey: he's now way, way back in the buffet -
barely reachable by anything. Think, think! What would McGyver do?
Ah! I dash upstairs and pry the incredibly-powerful horseshoe magnet
off the office file cabinet, then, with masking tape and long stick from
the garage in hand, fashion a magnet-on-an-improbably-long-stick worthy
of any Wile E. Coyote cartoon.
I fling open the under-sink doors, spot my prey, and start fishing about
with the stick. After a thankfully short session of hide-and-seek with
our furry friend and his very, very large not-quite shoe, I hear the
satisfying "click" of the magnet catching hold. After a bit of scraping
about, the unfortunate creature is dangling, quite upset, from the trap,
which is firmly stuck to the end of the magnet-stick.
The rest is grim and brief, and I will spare you the details other than
by brief enumeration: a cardboard transfer box; an open garage door; a
flat-bladed shovel; the brief 'tang' sound of the slapping shovel. I
plop our recent friend's lifeless body into the garbage and clean up.
"Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red."
Lugthak the Mouse Murderer
Life could be worse. I could be a mouse.