Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I'm such a proud parent -- Mimi, my big-boned cat, caught a mouse a couple of days ago. Go Mimi! You've still got it, girl.

I have bitched before about mice infesting my house -- see Mickey Must Die and Mickey Must Die - A Reprise if you're interested. Come the cold weather in Minnesota, the mice draw lots to see who gets to establish residence in the Hulles household, then after the annual gala drawing, drunken orgy and seed feast some lucky rodent family gets to move in with me for the winter and eat my shit. They think.


Little do they know I have a Secret Weapon: Mimi. Granted, she's a fat secret weapon, and actually not all that secret because she grumps around the house bitching often enough that the mice in the next county must know of her existence, but my Secret Weapon she remains. I guess the mice get a look at her through the window and think, "As if! Like that cat could manage to leap onto a speeding sofa, let alone catch me!" Hah. I pity the foos.

Not so long ago I read a blog post, I don't recall whose but probably Kat's, about the bloggess waking up in bed with a mouse in her cleavage that her cat had proudly deposited there. I commented on her entry at the time that I had developed the ability to wake myself up from a sound sleep if I heard Mimi making the peculiar noises that meant she had caught a mouse. Well, I'm happy to say that I wasn't lying, at least about that. The other morning I woke up at 5:43 AM because I heard Mimi doing the happy dance about having found herself a brand-new play partner. She was batting a fairly fat little mouse around the bedroom and looking as smug as I've ever seen her.

The mouse wasn't moving that spryly by this time. Mimi and the mouse must have been romping for a while in the other room, because the way the victim tiredly ran and the resigned expression on its face said clearly, "Let's just get this over with, shall we? We're all animals of the world here, and we know how it's going to end, so just get on with it."

I guess Mimi didn't much care what the mouse thought because she seemed ready to continue playing Torquemada for a couple more weeks, but I decided to intervene and stunned the sucker -- the mouse, that is -- with a boot. I scooped up the mouse into a (what used to be) one-pound coffee can and put the lid on it and took it into the kitchen. Actually, I thought I had killed it, since it had been lying on its back with its feet in the air and little X's in its eyes after the size 12 hiking boot made its intimate acquaintance, but I heard a half-hearted scratching sound come from the can as I got it to the kitchen. Which presented me with the moral quandary of how to off it in the most humane way possible then chuck it into the trash.

I hate this moral quandary. The "Reprise" post I mentioned above is all about that very thing. At 5:43 AM I do not want to face moral quandaries. I want to go back to sleep and resume my dream about... never mind what about, I just want to go back to bed. So I thought I'd just let the mouse scrabble in the can until the air ran out and pitch the can. However, the scrabbling noise sounded awfully damn pathetic, plus I didn't want the mouse chewing through the plastic can or something, so I sleepily decided to drown it. Bad idea.

I filled the coffee can avec rodent with water nearly to the rim and put the lid back on. My last glimpse of the mouse was of the little guy doing the dog paddle (!) around his new swimming pool and looking extremely distraught. "Fuck you," was my less-than-sympathetic reaction. I put duct tape around the lid seam -- yet another use for that wonder product -- and took the can outside to the garbage bin near the curb. The reason I put the duct tape around the coffee can lid was so the can wouldn't open up in the garbage and the mouse reenter the house dripping wet, wild-eyed and eager for revenge. I have enough problems without worrying about bloodthirsty rodents clutching rusty discarded razor blades lurking in my dryer, thank you very much.

The problems started once I got back in the house. The last glimpse I had of the poor little mouse forlornly paddling away in the coffee can came back to haunt me in spades. The mouse looked so pathetic and sad in my remembrance that I just knew it was still out by the curb swimming circles in its lightless prison, tears forming in the corners of its eyes because all it wanted was a chance to say goodbye to its wife and kids and a few close friends before a protracted and ignominious death finally came to claim it in the garbage can. Poor little guy.

I have a pretty vivid imagination, which is why I was so eager to get back to my dream about.... So of course I lay sleepless on my back in bed replaying the drowning-in-the-dark scene over and over, each time feeling more and more like the heartless and cruel bastard my ex-wives always claimed I was.

Well, I guess my ex's were right because the mouse is still out there in the minus-twenty-degree wind chill. At this point, I'm certain he's clutching the edge of a little raft that magically appeared inside the coffee can with the mouse version of Kate Winslet on it, his little face turning blue as his grasp slips from the raft and he slowly sinks through the four inches of icy cold water....

If you thought this was going to have a happy ending, boy were you wrong. I still feel like shit, as does the mouse I'm sure. Fortunately for the mouse, his agony will end soon. As for me, I don't have enough money to buy sufficient (or any) scotch to dull the horror, so I'll just have to live with my vision of the mouse:

Paddling ever more slowly...

Bravely trying to hold back the tears...

Gasping for the last bit of putrid air...

Swimming round and round in circles in the dark....

-- Hulles

6 comments:

angie said...

When we lived even farther out in the boonies, we used to do a bit of catch and release. Glue traps are gross, but you can get the lil' bastards off with some vegetable oil. The hubster would take the glued mouse & a bottle of Wesson & go for a drive - if you take them more than a mile out, they can't find their way back. I didn't mind the extra work, but after the whole hanta virus thing became an issue, I confess we started just laying down poison and gloving up to throw them away.

I freakin' hate mice. Unlike bugs, you can't just squish 'em - definite crunch factor. And their little faces are undeniably cute. But they chew up everything, shit all over the place & carry some nasty diseases. If the little buggers would just stay outside, I'd be all right!

Hulles said...

Me too. I'm totally fine with them living outside, it's when they shit on my silverware that I take exception to them. And I'm still thinking about your picture, by the way. I wish you'd use it, it's wonderful. In it you look ready to kick my ass, which I like a lot. Sort of.

Jen said...

I can only imagine what you must be dreaming about...

When my parents go to AZ for the winter I watch their house. They also have a mouse infestation. And I'm the unfortunate one who gets to discard of them once their little necks get snapped in those traps my mother sets. Ewwwww!

Rett said...

I had forgotten about your original mouse posts, but I owe you thank you because they served as my conversation piece at several get togethers. I don't think I would ever have thought to drown a mouse, let alone in some scotch.

I'm happy to see that you still use the drowning technique. I did think of it when we had a mouse in our house a couple months ago. Unfortunately we don't have a cat and our dog is deathly afraid of mice (at least the motorized one that we send after him). Turns out, of all the beefed up plastic contraptions and glue pads that we set out, it was the traditional wood trap that caught ths sucker.

anne frasier said...

i've never had a mouse in my current house -- that's a first for me. but i do have bats.
that coffee-can story is an analogy of life. we paddle until we die. it gave me bad dreams.

Hulles said...

Jen, I doubt very much that you can imagine what I was dreaming about. But yeah, the discarding part is unpleasant. I'm just happy I don't have to eat them any more.

Rett, nice to hear from you, and good to run into you at Kat's place by the way. I'm a wooden trap fan myself. I like the mice to be pre-dead when I get to them.I really liked the comment about your dog! I can picture it perfectly.

Anne, I know about the bad dreams, and the life analogy was not lost on me either. I think that's what made this a horror story of sorts.