Moby Mouse

Moby Mouse

Call him Michael. He was The Most Persistent of Mice.

I saw him once, one evening, behind the coffeemaker. Good choice; it’s where I go first in the kitchen.

I immediately deployed our old, beaten-up, humane, definitely no-kill mousetrap. I even loaded it with all-natural, organic, low-sodium peanut butter. Nothing but the best for our pest.

Michael got in and got out again. Easily.

***

We called in the big guns and shopped on Amazon. The Mouse Hotel looks like a miniature covered bridge. Mice aren’t supposed to get out of this trap—until you let them. It even has a little mounted tray for a food offering to the Rodent Gods.

In the meantime, taking advantage of two-day shipping, Michael had free range, leaving his mark on the cooker and countertops. I’m not sure what he was eating; we had hidden the bread, put away everything else that he might find tasty, and washed our way around the kitchen crying “Eeeewww!”

The first night I set up the Mouse Hotel, I heard him check in at 11:30pm. He was one of those guests who turns on the TV at full volume and works his way through the minibar.

Being unable to sleep through the rattling and banging against the doors and the spring trap, I got dressed and, sighing and muttering, took Michael outside and shook him out into the bushes behind the shed (another favorite hangout recommended by generations of the small and furry).

Then I did it again at 4:30am.

And again at 6:45am.

***

During the day, our discussion was of whether there was one Michael or a family of Michaels. We settled on there being a family. Rodent-induced insomnia being the mother of invention, I got out an old fish tank and a plastic lid. This way, no matter how many there were, I’d only have one trip out to the bushes.

11:30 that night, I shook Michael, or his relative, into the tank, put cans of tomatoes on the lid to keep it down, and went back to bed after reloading the Hotel for the next one.

He wasn’t in the tank in the morning. Hmm, a hotel guest who slips out without paying; no one likes that. And no other relatives had showed up.

***

The next night I was better prepared: fish tank, clear sheet of Perspex taped at one end to provide a very small airhole, heavyweight watering can filled up with water for extra weight, and some fresh bread on the altar in the Mouse Hotel. Okay, Michael, mouse up all you want, I’m ready for you.

11:30 pm and I’m thinking “Does he have a job where he clocks off at the same time each day?” From the Mouse Hotel to the fish tank, no problem. “Got you! And no escaping this time.”

While waiting to see if more relatives would show, I lay awake, listening to Michael chewing his way into the heavy black plastic around the top of the fish tank, just under the air hole.

I went to talk to him. “Your weapons are useless, Michael! Resistance is futile!” All I got was a pair of beady eyes, seeming to say back, “You foolish human!”

Again, a sleepless night, this time punctuated by the sound of chewing. No other Michaels checked into the Mouse Hotel. None tried to break him out of the tank. Okay, he’s one mouse on his own. I’m cleverer than a mouse; I can handle this.

***

By dawn he’d only chewed a nickel-sized piece out of the rim of the tank, and the Perspex was still intact.

***

I couldn’t take the fish tank outside to release my guest, so I had to get him back into the hotel. Of course, what mouse is stupid enough to fall for the trap again and again? Michael is. I put the loaded trap into the tank and he checked in.

This time, we went for a ride in the car and found a nice place a mile away by a stream with no houses in sight.

Michael looked up from the grass with those big round eyes, “What, you’re leaving me here? I thought you were enjoying all this!”

“‘Bye, Michael!”

 


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