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The Mouse

By Larry Gross · February 2nd, 2012 · Living Out Loud

How the thing got into my apartment, I have no idea. All I know is that one afternoon I heard a rustling sound near the garbage can in my kitchen. Moving the can, I saw it run behind my stove. Real men don’t scream when they see such a thing, but I know I had my mouth open in horror. I had a mouse in my apartment.

It had been more than 20 years since I’ve had to deal with a mouse in my living space. Nevermind the fact I was born and raised on a farm where I’ve seen mice in barns and even in houses. It’s been a long time since I’ve been a country boy, and having this rodent in my living quarters freaked me out. For the rest of the afternoon, I left the door to my apartment open thinking the mouse would simply leave. It didn’t.

That night while in my bed trying to go to sleep, I could hear it. It sounded like it was chewing on something and I immediately thought the mouse might be chewing on an electrical cord. Not wanting it to burn the building down, I got out of bed and stomped around for a while trying to scare it. Thinking I was successful, I went back to bed only to hear the mouse again a few minutes later. It was still chewing on something, so I got up again and did more stomping around. This type of scene went on for the next two hours.

When I got back in bed, I started to wonder if mice can crawl up furniture, and if they can would it climb into my bed? Sleeping with a mouse with its head on my pillow stayed in my head until I finally went to sleep.

The next morning, I sat at my desk sleepy as hell. I hadn’t heard the mouse for a long time and thought that somehow it had left. Then I heard a scurrying sound in my kitchen sink. Apparently mice can indeed crawl upwards. It was playing around in my dirty dishes.

Of course the logical thing to do would be to go out and purchase mousetraps. Back in the 1980s I had a problem with mice in my house and those traps, to a degree, helped. But mousetraps are also a problem when it comes to actually killing the mouse.

If you’re lucky, and it’s a gross kind of luck, the mouse will go for the cheese on the trap and the trap will spring with that clamp crushing the mouse’s head. I have no idea how to unspring the trap, as I always just throw it away. I mean, how long can a person look at that dead mouse in the trap? For me, a few seconds is long enough.

Killing a mouse with a mousetrap, for me, was always few and far between. Usually the trap would get the mouse by the tail or by a foot and I would end up having to kill the mouse myself. I still have nightmares of strangling mice with a pair of salad thongs.

I didn’t go out and buy mousetraps. I kept hoping the mouse would just go away, but it was in no hurry to move on.

I heard it again that second night, running around, chewing on stuff and making my night a living hell. Through tears, I thought of befriending the mouse. Maybe I could turn it into a pet, give it a name, give it food and just consider it part of the family. Maybe we could live together in peace. I was thinking “Chewy” would be a good for my rodent friend.

The night wore on and the mouse kept making noise. As I watched the sun come up after having little sleep, I felt a little less family friendly. Maybe I would get a cat named Tiger who could capture Chewy and eat him for breakfast.

None of my thoughts, good or bad, were meant to be. Other tenants complained about mice being in the building and the landlord put down some kind of poison to get rid of them.

I no longer hear my rodent friend running around or chewing on electrical wires. Now I can smell the mouse who has eaten the poison and has died in my apartment. I’m trying to locate the dead body.

I should have just gone out and bought the damn mousetraps and a new pair of salad thongs.



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