Sunday, December 31, 2006

In Cold Blood

So I need to confess to something... I'm a murderer. Yup, that's right. I hate to admit it, but I'm a cold-blooded killer. Last night, I violently took the life of one of God's little creatures. A small field mouse that somehow found its way into our home.

For the last two weeks its been an escalating war. I first caught sight of him while cleaning the house for a party at the beginning of December. I'd been kneeling under the table when I felt something brush past me. The little sucker scared the me half to death. I turned and chased him across the kitchen only to watch him take sanctuary under the fridge. I grabbed the broom and swept behind the fridge, not thinking beforehand just what I'd do if he came running out. Nothing happened though. Next I moved the fridge which succeeded in sending him scurrying into the adjacent bathroom. I quickly shut the bathroom door and tucked a towel under it to buy time to formulate a battle plan. Armed with my broom and a large plastic bowl, I laid siege to the bathroom. But again, nothing happened. Baffled, I waited until the first party guest arrived and had him help me do another sweep of the bathroom, but the mouse had somehow made his escape.

That's when the mouse droppings started appearing. First in the pantry and then under the sink. The job of finding and disposing of the droppings somehow got assigned to me. Soon I decided to do some major reorganizing. Throwing away anything he may have gotten into. Moving the easily accessible stuff into safer cupboards. And securing everything like pasta into extra ziploc bags. I also made room for mouse traps... lots of them.

Melissa picked up the traps from the store. She started with the humane ones that claim to catch mice unharmed so you can release them into the outdoors. Newsflash people... they DON'T work. Days went by and we caught nothing but turds. Our mouse had quickly realized the plastic boxes with swiveling doors were trouble and stopped wasting time on them, choosing instead to go straight for our packaged goods.

I followed up Melissa's purchase with some plastic snap traps. Our pantry and the cupboard under the sink looked like mine fields, with traps strewn every which way. These proved to be mere obstacle courses for our gladiator mouse. I tried baiting with everything from cheese, to crackers, to peanut butter, to nuts. I must have repositioned the traps some twenty times. Nothing worked and the droppings continued. I grew weary of obsessively checking the traps only to find them empty with nearby fecal matter taunting me.

Late one night, I opened the pantry and caught the furball sliding down the shelving affixed to the door. He slipped past me (startled and frozen in my tracks) and into the living room. With plastic bowl and broom in hand I went to work again, moving all the furniture in sight. I spent over an hour cursing loudly and scouring every inch of our front room, but to no avail. Damn mouse bested me yet again.

That's when the gloves came off. I went for the industrial-strength, heavy duty traps. Huge plastic, glue-filled trays (about 4 inches by 8 inches) that claimed to be the end-all and be-all of mouse traps. They were pre-baited, but I wasn't taking any chances, so I topped them off with crackers. The traps were everything they were made out to be. Three hours after they were set, our fourteen day siege was over. I came downstairs around 10pm last night to find our mouse sprawled across one of the glue trays.

Little did I know that the worst was yet to come. Mr. mouse was hopelessly stuck, but very much still alive. Not only that, he was... cute. When I picked up the tray, I was horror-struck to see him contorting his body in every which way vainly attempting to free himself. It was horrible. I felt like I was torturing Stuart Little. I fooled myself into thinking I might be able to free him, so knife in hand I went out to the backyard. They weren't kidding when they said this stuff was heavy duty though. My effort to scrape him off the glue pad only seemed to be making things worse. That's when I grudgingly resigned myself to the hammer. I slid the tray into a plastic bag in an attempt to censor the cruelty. I thought a little blow to the head would put a quick end to his misery, but instead lil' Mickey screamed and kept squirming. I hit him again and he screamed again. Aghast, I forced myself to hit him a couple more times just to make sure he was gone.

Thoroughly disturbed, I slipped the tray into a garbage bag and we laid the little mouse to rest in our trash can. Melissa said a few parting words and we tried to forget about the whole ordeal, but I'm haunted now. Visions from childhood plague me... the Rescuers, the Littles, the Secret of Nimh... even Jerry. Nostalgic mice are coming out of the woodwork of the past to exacerbate the guilt... and it's working. I don't miss the mouse poo, though.

23 comments:

d a k said...

There's a larger lesson here, I think. Always start with overwhelming force.

melbo said...

Awww.. poor little mouse! I'm really glad that I never actually saw the critter or had to pick up the poo. It's better that only one of us has nightmares instead of both of us. That way I can console you at night during your cold sweats.
You're my hero, Marc!!!

Rob said...

I'm proud of you for doing the little bastard in. It's just too bad that you had to resort to bait...the lowest and most unsporting hunting method--but at least you weren't aided by dogs.

melbo said...

Or maybe the second to lowest, Rob - at least he wasn't shooting a farm-raised mouse with it's whiskers and feet clipped to prevent it from running away in a straight line.

Rob said...

Ha! Right you are! But that's not even hunting--it's just cruel target practice for yuppies with poor aim and no patience.

Marc said...

I'll concede that he has no aim or patience, but since when was Dick Cheney considered a yuppie?

Rob said...

...or old men.

Mike Bohn said...

Bastard

woo said...

You forgot to mention Ralph S. Mouse... you murderer! Kinda reminds me of chasing mice on the Hemmert's houseboat at Powell... with the sweet sound of milli vanilli blaring (thanks to another more successful heist).

Anonymous said...

I despise rodents of all shapes and sizes. Good riddance. I made Ali throw our mice away when we killed 2 with on trap at the same time. I'm talking about the swing old school traps, it was so badass.

melbo said...

Dude, your wife is badass. It's takes someone with major cahones to handle those things after they've gruesomely been snapped in half.

Simon Birch said...

Marc...blame the Dog!!! If he really was your best friend he would've taken care of the damn thing! Go get yourself a cat and you'll never have another nightmare of Feivel Goes West again!

Marc said...

Woo - The battle over Milli Vanilli in Powell... those were definitely the days.

BA - I'm not sure I could have convinced Melissa to do it. Perhaps the U of O pumps out more persuasive lawyers than ole' GW.

Melbo - It takes cahones?

Simon - You and your cats. Be a MAN. Get a dog.

Anonymous said...

Mice=crap. You did the world a favor.

Gargantus said...

yeah, stop being such a pussy! Just cause you're a democrat doesnt mean you have to be a pussy about EVERYTHING.

Tara said...

way to nab that furry little bastard!

Mrs. McDreamy said...

I know I am late, but yes- we killed two mice with one trap. And if you ever want to see BA scream like a little girl and jump on the couch, frantically waving his hands in the air - just mention that you saw a mouse. I just grapped those twitching suckers with my own hands and only a thin plastic bag between me and their nasty cut in half bodies. I like cartoon mice just fine...but the real ones are not cute in the least.

Anonymous said...

"A 1983 test that evaluated the effectiveness of glue traps found that trapped mice struggling to free themselves would pull out their own hair, exposing bare, raw areas of skin. The mice broke or even bit off their own legs, and the glue caused their eyes to become badly irritated and scarred. After three to five hours in the glue traps, the mice defecated and urinated heavily because of their severe stress and fear, and quickly became covered with their own excrement. Animals whose faces become stuck in the glue slowly suffocate, and all trapped animals are subject to starvation and dehydration. It takes anywhere from three to five days for the mouse to finally die. This is nothing less than torture."

Betcha didn't read the reviews first, did you? Yuckarama... :)

Nanu

Gargantus said...

i just read that review and am now on my way to buy tons of glue traps to set in the field next to my house.

Anonymous said...

I just wish I had a cool picture of Dana throwing similar rodents from the top of Angels Landing... now that is killing for pure entertainment.

Marc said...

Blonde - I take it you never had so much as a hamster growing up...

Garg - Well... actually it does, doesn't it? Isn't that what being a Democrat is all about?

Tara - Thanks... I guess.

McDreamy - I always knew you wore the pants in that relationship.

Felicity/Nanu - That I did not. Good thing I hit him in the head with a hammer before all that happened, eh?

Garg - Glue pads still seem a little beneath you. I always thought you'd go for something a little more manly... like C-4.

Steinhoist - Wish I could nostalgically reflect back with you, but I have no idea what the hell you're talking about.

russian princess said...

i think at some point the mouse was surely hiding in your beard.

yes...it took a hammered-to-death-mouse post to get a comment out of me.

Mind Spewer said...

Why didn't you try poison? That is what we did when we had mice. It was sort of sad watching them stagger into the middle of the dining room and convulse before finally dying, but hey, at least we didn't have to smack them to death with a hammer.