Thursday, May 05, 2005

Robo-rodent

There is a mouse living in my house.

All of my friends are well aware of my only existing fear on this entire planet. True it is somewhat of an irrational fear because I cannot explain it nor do I have any reason as to why I have this fear. I have asked my mother if I was attacked in the crib by some brand of rodent when i was a wee lad -- she said no.

Did you ever notice what happens when someone sees a mouse? No one really screams, but everyone freezes. For about five seconds. I guess it is to confirm the truth about what was actually witnessed. You freeze and get that hot feeling in your face -- the same hot feeling you got when your teacher call on you and you weren't paying any attention in the first place.

The only thing that scares me even more than mice is, of course, rats (which is just a variation on a theme as far as I am concerned -- same church, different pew). My darkest nightmares consist of these disgusting creatures flinging themselves at me and eating my face off. God forbid, I should ever come face to face with one in a corner -- I'll faint, I know I will, I swear it, I'll faint.

Soon after Ex#2 and I first began dating, he caught a glimpse of his beefy boyfriend in the presence of a rodent: It was nighttime and Ex#2 and I were in his bed while Matt, Ex#2's roommate, was in his own. The lights were off and the three of us were just talking while we drifted off into slumber. Piercing the serenity of the scene was the sound of the plastic grocery bag in the trash being twisted. Ex#2 asked what the noise was. Matt said it was probably the phone cord unraveling above the trash can. Ex#2 offered that the phone cord didn't reach the trash can ...

(Five beats)

Matt sat up in bed and turned on his bedside table in time to see a mouse scurry from the trash can, over the top of the small refrigerator under the sink and disappear into the wall. We all sat up. Ex#2 and Matt went on a search and I panicked! I stood up on the bed (which was on stilts anyway) and yelled at them to get rid of it. Ex#2 amusedly turned around and said,

"Don't tell me you're afraid of a little mouse." Yes I am, so what.

"Dop, they're not going to hurt you, they're so small."
I don't care, I just can't stand them.

Well, after the scare wore off and they last track of the vulgar little beast, we all went back to bed. After five minutes of relative quiet, he whispered to me, "Will you please stop shaking and calm down." He thought the whole thing was cute. Whatever.

And now there is a mouse in my house. My housemate, Ashley, and I first found evidence of his presence in the bottom cupboard where we kept the pots and pans. Right then and there, we decided we had to get rid of him (of course it could have been a female mouse, but in all honesty, it always seems to be a guy who stays where he isn't wanted?). Ashley didn't want to kill the little thing. He ended up buying a humane mouse trap -- an acrylic rectangular tube that has a one-way trap door that once the mouse enters, it cannot escape (like these things really work). It sat there for a month with a peanut butter cracker inside it. The mouse never touched it.

I ended up putting D-Con out hoping to dehydrate the little bastard in hopes he'd die. He didn't touched that either.

After coming home from a weekend away, we found that he had been all over the countertops in the kitchen and had somehow found his way upstairs into my bedroom. It was now time for drastic action -- we bought the conventional mouse trap. I decided to put the trap down in the middle of the kitchen floor and hope for the best. When I returned, the peanut butter was gone, but the trap had not been sprung. No mouse.

At first we thought that the peanut butter had just evaporated because of the oil content and the mouse had moved on to greener pastures (or kitchens as the case may be). And it wasn't until a week later when Ashley was cleaning out a closet did we truly understand that it was far from being gone. It had searched out the Indian corn Ashley had stashed into the back of the closet (it was sort of a decoration for Thanksgiving or something). In the bag were about five ears of dried corn: one red, one black, one brown, one orange, and one yellow. Only the yellow one had been eaten. Upon further search, he also found that he had burrowed a hole from the closet into the living room closet into the next room. I looked at Ashley and said:

Okay, that does it. No more Mr. Nice Guy!

The mouse trap went back out in the kitchen, this time with peanut butter on it with a cracker on top of that. Later in the evening, while I was in my room working a crossword puzzle, Ashley walked in and said,

"Ohmigod, we put a cracker on top of the mousetrap, right?"
Check.

"Well, the cracker is gone and the trap has not been sprung." (Gulp!)

Still no mouse.

We reset it, this time wedging the cracker in underneath the pressure gauge a little so that he would have to at least tug at it. The next morning, we checked the trap and found that the cracker was gone, the trap had been sprung, peanut butter had been flung on the wall, and there was still no mouse!

Then we reset the trap baiting it with a piece of ham. Later in the afternoon, the ham was gone, the trap had been sprung, and there was still no mouse!

One night, my friend Mike and I were sitting in the dining room and discussing the idiosyncrasies of life when out from under the utility closet door shot this gray streak. It ran into the living room and under the couch. Mike and I looked at each other and I valiantly stated:

This is war!

We armed ourselves with pots, pans, spoons, and even knives. We chased that sucker around the living room as he ran from underneath the couch to underneath the leather chair, then back again. I'll bet that if anyone had been outside looking in, Mike and I probably looked pretty idiotic. But, oh, were we serious.

We still didn't get to nail the little bastard. Hmmmm. Perhaps a cat.

At this point, the mouse has become the stuff of which folk legends are made. He has cheated death at least six times. We know his luck will run out eventually, but at this point I respect the hell out of him. He's fast as lightning and slicker than oil. We currently have moved the trap to the utility closet which seems to be his new hangout. We're trying the conventional piece of cheese at this point (it's no wonder he keeps coming back when all this time we're serving him a veritable smorgasbord!)