Friday, November 03, 2006

Man vs. Mouse

Over the past few weeks, I have noticed that a mouse has taken up residence in my home. It wouldn’t even especially bother me so much, were he paying rent… but this mouse turned out to be quite the freeloader. He even ruined a large Sam’s Club pack of oatmeal.

So I tried the usual things… laid out a few of the old Tom and Jerry spring-type traps… some mouse poison… did a little song and dance number hoping the mouse would join in… I also considered (briefly) setting out a Wile E. Coyote style trap, but it somehow seemed unlikely that the mouse would be able to read the signs I put up saying “this way to the cheese”, “cheese around corner” and “stand here for the cheese” below a large rock.

Please keep in mind that my major source of knowledge about mouse behavior and how to get rid of them comes from hours and hours of Saturday morning cartoons.

In any event, I’ve been trying to evict this mouse for almost a month. I finally had the last straw the other morning, when as I sat up in bed, trying to blow away the cobwebs of sleep from my mind, the mouse struts across my bedroom floor.

And when I say ‘strut’ I mean a leisurely, I-got-nowhere-to-be, I-am-king-of-the-beasts kinda stroll.

I was too in shock to react to the thing, but one thing suddenly became etched in my mind: This mouse thinks it’s his freaking house. It was then and there that I declared war on this rodent. This attitude of his would not stand.

I went to Wal-mart that day, and bought the latest, greatest, state of the art in mouse dispatching traps, which were a real bargain at only 2 bucks each. I considered the glue traps too, but then reminded myself that I had duct tape at home that would work just as well if I needed it… The traps were this nifty little spin-guillotine thing that kills the mouse, and hides the carcass from view. The trap had a little piece of red plastic to let you know if you actually caught a mouse, and you could just throw the whole thing away without having to get squeamish over a dead mouse.

Thus armed, I determined I should set up a perimeter in what would be known as “No Mouse’s Land” for the duration of my police action (known to non-combatants as my kitchen). Keeping my head low and watching for ‘charlie’, I crawled under the table and carefully armed my traps, baiting them with my favorite food, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

“Indeed,” I thought as I carefully placed the trap in what I assumed was a well-traveled mouse path, “how could they resist the power of peanut butter and chocolate?”

I set a few more traps in what I figured were key mouse strongholds… places where I was sure that the rodent was gathering his forces together to put a peanut butter cup sandwich under a very large rock, with a crudely drawn sign that said “Free sandwich for guys named Rob”.

I shuddered at the thought as I retreated to the relative safety of Base Camp Alpha (known as my living room couch to non-combatants) and waited for the inevitable sounds of carnage. Though I dared not turn up the TV lest I give away my position to the enemy, I still heard nothing.

War was much quieter than I had previously heard. Eventually I fell asleep, with nightmares of my time in No Mouse’s land waking me periodically. In them, I was a Wooly Mammoth… and the mouse and his furry brethren were hunting me with toothpicks while carrying bitty torches and wearing loincloths.

The next morning, I checked my traps. Nothing. My adversary was obviously more clever than I thought. I decided to give the traps another day, while I considered an alternative strategy. (Of course, the alternative strategy was moving away, but hey… I was a little upset)

The next morning I checked the traps again, and was amazed to see the little red indicator showed a mouse in the trap! I thumped my chest and let out a primal “Yalp”. I wondered aloud if a taxidermist would be willing to stuff and mount the beast’s head for my wall. I did the little happy dance. Man 1, Mouse 0.

In the end, I carried my worthy adversary in his round plastic coffin outside to the trash can, where he was dumped without further ceremony. The war had taken it’s toll on me… but history will remember this as the day that a brave man stood up to the rodents that dare intrude upon our homes, and said this far! No further!

Maybe I’ve just watched “Star Trek: First Contact” too many times.


Melinda Barton said...

This brings to mind my own battle with the mice who dare invade our homes. When I first moved into my new apartment here in not-so-sunny Alexandria, I was sitting on my couch reading a lovely magazine. As you well know, my couch is a bit ragged to say the least. (A fact which will be corrected once I get a few pay checks from my new $18/hour job assignment.) Anyway, I felt what seemed like a scratch from a sharp object. Thinking it was some part of my couch come loose, I felt around me. Nothing. So, I decided to examine the wound and reached back to find... A MOUSE HAD DECIDED TO A.) RIDE MY BACK AND B.) BITE ME. In a very, un-Melinda like motion, I jumped from my seat and began frantically shaking the back of my shirt to dislodge the evil varmint. I managed to shake off the beast but not to find him afterward. A quick pest report to the manager's office and glue traps were placed in my own "No Mouse's Land." A few days later, as I watched television, I heard a rather loud squeaking. I thought at first it was a distant smoke alarm. Nope. After much examination, I found out that it was a mouse attached to the glue trap under the sink. I didn't want to risk being bitten again by the furry critter, so I went to my room and closed the door, letting the thing squeak out its final hours. The next morning, I threw his remains down the trash chute without so much as a brief kaddish prayer.

Dreamwalker said...

Aaaaw, that poor itty-bitty mouse :) I like the sound of that trap...I would not want to see the body, even knowing that the permanent departure of said rodent was a necessity, it would break my heart.

I had a mouse pet when I was young. It has obviously skewed my perspective :)