I Am Widow, Hear me Roar

It wasn't so hard to kill the first seven mice. Usually I found them splayed with the trap on top of them, gory bits concealed. Once I figured out to put out newspaper under the traps the cleanup got a lot easier. And it was harder to be sympathetic to the poor little animals the morning that I found two in the same nook, a few inches apart. I mean, was it simultaneous or are they not only dumb but lacking in basic instincts? We made "seven in one blow!" jokes all day.

My four-year-old loved hearing that we had mice in the house: “ooh, can we keep him as a pet and catch a mommy and a daddy for him too and have they all for pets?!”

But the eighth mouse was a little scary -- the trap caught his leg and he dragged himself partway behind the dishwasher. I asked Mr. Fresh to handle it. He also confirmed it was indeed dead.

Then the very next morning I checked back there and -- no trap. Great -- somewhere there was an angry, wounded mouse, dragging a piece of wood and wire behind him. He could show up anywhere in the house (though probably on the first floor :-) ) at any time. He could pop out while Short Stack was watching Disney channel. It was almost too much to contemplate. I poked around the most likely refuges and then settled down to coffee and tried to forget about the threat to my child's sanity.

Mr. Fresh came back from his run, bright eyed and bushy-tailed, singing “M – I – C – K – E – Yyyyy…” I broke in. “Speaking of which, one got away, so don’t shoot if you hear something…” Huh? We looked at each other. “Oh, I checked the trap and cleaned it up before I went out.” I told him my fearful fantasy. “No, don’t worry, it was dead and in the right place.” Thank heaven.

Over the course of 2008, I killed a dozen and felt supremely competent. While I was dating, this was evidence that, yes, I could manage everything as a single Mom. And Mr. Fresh was impressed when I told him one of my tricks early in our relationship: One night I bait the trap but don’t set it; then use the same bait and set it the next night. And sprinkle the same bait nearby to whet their appetites. (I use chocolate chips or Stilton). "You are brutal!", he said. I smiled.

To really eliminate the problem, I need to analyze their tail hair to find out if they are house (city) or garden (country) mice. Do I plug holes or seek out and destroy the nest? My old work roomie, Tobias, who has lab background, is working on this. I’m sure his report back will cite Latin names.

This type of acceptable murder is so gratifying for those of us with anger issues, with usually-barely-repressed rage, who are on a slow boil. I’m exploring the combination of aggression and helplessness than marks my worst tendencies. Perhaps I am the mouse that roared, or a Jekyll/Hyde (maybe Gertrude Jekyll?). Another post will delve into my psychoanalysis, but I’ll backdate it so you can skip it.

See, I’m not so cruel after all.

* * * some comments * * *


Supa Dupa Fresh said...

Follow up -- received e-mail from Tobias:

Your mouse sounds like a native mouse, almost certainly in the genus Peromyscus. The so called “house” mouse is not a native and is Mus musculus — a known pest. I don’t think of the native mice as pests in quite the same way. They are unlikely, for example, to carry Yersinia pestis (but so is anything nowadays!). But they are pesky. I ended up killing a couple of the little Peromyscus this winter because they were in the house (wrong place, wrong time) and Sandy found one of them in her bed! DEFINTELY the WRONG place!

J. said...

Stilton? You feed your mice on stilton? My murine invaders have to make do with peanut butter and be grateful for it!


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