Sunday, September 16, 2007
Me and the Mouse in the Night
Last night, Mr. Squeakers and I parted company.
Mr. Squeakers has been a very active and bold house mouse for the past few months. We have tried without fail to catch the rodent, but he has always escaped. (Truthfully, this would mean that we have "tried with fail," not without fail. We have failed most excreably, and Mr. Squeakers has had the best of the battle.) Humane mouse traps designed to catch "smart mice" have been completely useless. We usually used Saltines or peanut butter crackers as bait.
He comes out around 10:30 and is reasonably fearless, sometimes sniffing about in plain sight when one is watching TV. Last night, I was typing away when I heard a rustling noise. I crept into the kitchen on little cat-feet and stood, waiting, ready to pounce. There was no movement. Suddenly, out from my purse shot Mr. Squeakers!
The subject of his pleasure hunt: A Berries Go Mega Odwalla bar (in our household, the Odwalla brand is known simply as "Bar," usually pronounced with an exceedingly long 'a' and a piratical 'r' (BAAAAHHHR) or occasionally a Boston twang (Bah!) or sometimes a nasal gargle (Barrrgggh). Bar is good. Bar is great.
Now I had his ticket. I stuffed a big chunk of Bar into the humane mouse trap and slipped away to bed. No more than 5 minutes later, I heard the trap as it snapped shut. I crept down. There he was, Mr. Squeakers, anxious and outraged as he peered out from his green plastic prison. His eyes were the very essence of black beadiness. "I was your friend!" he seemed to say. "I did you no harm."
"Aw, gosh," I said to him. "Let's go for a little ride, shall we?"
I couldn't leave him in that trap all night no more than I could leave a dying man in a snakepit. So I tied on my sneakers and slipped on a coat over my pyjamas and took him to the car, and then I drove over to the local park. He sat on the passenger seat and was very sedate. On the way over, we had a nice chat:
"Mr Squeakers," I said. "I hope you find a nice house to winter in this season. I hope they have crackers and lots of BAR. Just don't let it be our house."
He said little.
"I don't hold your residence in our house against you," said I. "But it's time for you to move on and shift for yourself. I think you're a nice mouse. I'm sure that you are well-liked in the mouse community. But your feasting on our crackers and things is simply not the way to go. At least as far as we are concerned."
I took his surly silence for assent. Gosh, he was being disagreeable, but I guess he'd had a rather cushy run there for a while, feeding out of abandoned cereal bowls and trolling for crumbs left by youngsters. He had a right to be peeved.
When we reached the park, I stepped out in my pyjamas and took the trap with me, setting it near the playground. I released the door and the piece of Bar fell out into the grass. Mr. Squeakers seemed dumbstruck.
"Yes, yes, run free!" I urged him, and so he did--leaping straight over the chunk of Bar in his bid for the wilds of New Ro. He shot into the grass and disappeared into the darkness. I could hear crickets thrumming, and the faint whine of Route 95 on the wind.
It was sort of lonely going back home.