Of Mice and So-Called Men: Part Two

In case the "Part Two" was not adequate warning, this is the second part to this story. Scroll on down and read the first part first if you haven't yet. While you are down there, say hi to the Bag Stranded banners on the sidebar that no one ever sees. I haven't fed them for a while.

The late days of spring and early summer in the year 2006 were difficult to say the least. We had to deal with the stress of moving into a new home, bringing a new baby into the world, keeping Miranda in this world after suffering some serious complications after giving birth, and paying for the car accident caused by me falling asleep at the wheel on my way to work at 1:00 in the morning. Simultaneous with all of these things, we had a mouse epidemic in our home that forced my wife to nurse our child in high perches and that turned me into something akin to the zombie hunters from 28 Days Later.

That loud “snap” we heard in the middle of the night was produced from one of several differently functioning traps that we used to combat the beasts. Like any good hunter, I became fanatically aware of the weapons that I used to stalk my prey and often hung them on racks to show to my houseguests. There was the baited snap trap, which proved very effective whether baited with cheese, peanut butter, or Snickers. There was the “Tomcat” brand snap traps which proved far too effective as, instead of cleaning up one limp mouse, I had to pick up the two pieces of said mouse, divided by the guillotine of mouse traps. There was the glue trap which we already were prejudiced against as they still allowed trapped mice the same mobility as a street beggar in India. For a humane alternative, there was the “No-see, no touch” traps where the mouse would crawl in to the contraption, but never crawl out, their presence indicated by a discreet dot on the outside of the trap. In retrospect, since it still killed the mouse, I suppose it was only humane for us. There were sonic emitters meant to drive the mice crazy. There were polarized crystals, used to speak to the mice in their own mousy language. We got pretty desperate by the end.

The dots and snaps became more and more present as the epidemic continued. Each day, at least three times a day, I would walk through my home armed with a flashlight, some rubber gloves, and a plastic bag checking each of the traps. This was quite a project as we had roughly forty traps set in the most elusive parts of our home. After the tenth mouse met his fate in our newly fortified homestead, we decided that we had better solve the root of the problem. We cleaned the house within an inch of its life, exposing stockpiles of dog kibble that the mice had apparently stolen from the previous owners’ canine companion. We set poison traps outside and scoured the outside of the home searching for an entry point. I sealed off every potential crevice and swore in my wrath that I would rid the home from these creatures. The problem was that I really did swear in my wrath, which Miranda did not appreciate in front of our young and impressionable newborn.

Cambo the Mouse Hunter (photo courtesy of vissago @ Flickr, not me)

After weeks of struggling with the pestilent enemy, the mice made their appearance into the gauntlet of death (formerly known as our home) less and less frequently. We went two weeks without catching any mice and eventually lowered the population of mouse traps around the floorboards. We celebrated our grueling battle as the victors and waved the flag bearing the outline of 36 mice, the total number that lost their lives at my hand. The mouse resistance had been eliminated and we were free to enjoy our home as rulers once more. However, in their wake, they left us with one last despicable act.

Coming home from work one day, I went into the basement to do some laundry when I noticed half-way down the stairs that there was a fly buzzing about my head. This was nothing too unusual, until I noticed that it flew back into the main room of the basement where it was greeted by a swarm of its winged compatriots. I saw this as some sort of divine sign and I wondered if I had neglected to let any Israelites go at some point. Eventually, the horror of what I had done donned on me. Since the basement laundry room proved to be fertile ground for trapping and killing mice, I had previously set several traps. One of those was placed on the top of the exposed framed wall to trap any mice who might be coming in through the laundry vent. Since it took a ladder to reach that specific point, it was the one trap out of the forty that I did not check thrice daily. In it, I could only imagine, lay the remains of a mouse that must have served as a warning to any other mice entering through the vent that, “Enter not, for here lie the mangled corpses of your fallen brethren.”

I fashioned a crude facemask out of several old t-shirts, triple-layered my rubber gloves, snapped on my safety goggles, grabbed a bucket and a ladder, and ventured into the laundry room. As I made my way up the ladder, my imagination drew up wild scenarios of what I would find on the top of that wall. Worse yet, because the ledge was so close to the ceiling, I wouldn’t even be able to look at the thing to know what I was grabbing. The flies encircling my ascending head provided the crescendo violin music as my heart beat faster and faster. After trying to summon the courage, I counted to three and then, with a deeply-voiced scream to conjure up my manliness, I thrust my hand onto the ledge until I felt something large and squishy attached to a wooden board. I grabbed what was left of the foul creature and flung him into the bucket on the other side of the ladder, my momentum nearly carrying me off with the decomposed rodent. And with that lumpy grayish mass that nearly doubled the size of the instrument that sealed its fate some three weeks prior, the ordeal was over.

Miranda and I like to think of ourselves as clean people, though an unexpected tour through our house might reveal dirty diapers in closet corners, Pop Tart wrappers buried between couch cushions, and scores of spiders left to die beneath overturned cups. We are happy to report to you all that the mouse problem is no longer a problem, they’re being successfully eradicated by my keen and previously unknown trapping abilities. Inside my soul brews an unhealthy contempt for mice, as evidenced by my previous experiences at Disneyland and Chuck E. Cheese’s. As terrible as those few weeks were, I reflect on them with a bit of longing. After all, hunting the mice did give me a challenge and kept me active. They allowed me to prove to my wife that I am able to protect her. Now, all I do is eat Pop Tarts on the couch and languish in my simmering bloodlust. Every so often, though, I think that I hear some scratching, ever so slightly, within the walls of our home. I grab my rubber gloves and flashlight and smile as I lean over to my polarized crystals where I whisper, “Game on Mickey. Game on.”

Sleep tight little one, for tomorrow you die.


mh said...

I want you to know I am reading with bare feet, and they had to be pulled as far off the ground as possible! Yuck! On a week long vacation, we once returned to a little white critter running across the floor. (I guess it was something that was bound to happen since we are surrounded by farm fields I can only imagine are full of rodents!) Luckily that was the only one who moved in during our absence, but it was enough to give me nightmares! I had another one just last night, and thanks to you I will be having them for the next week. Even though I am now officially creeped out, I enjoyed the article. I tasted bile a few times, but I also laughed out loud as I pictured you reaching for the trap up high in the rafters! Thanks for sharing.

mh said...

I think the pictures are just a little to graphic for me!