★ The Small World of the Mouse

I just received an email from Michael Fuchs – thriller writer and author of The Manuscript and Pandora’s Sisters – telling me that my comments mechanism sucks. Here’s what he tried to post:

That’s really a very funny coincidence. I checked in just now due to acute boredom at work. And would you believe it? Our house mouse turned up just on Friday. I got a single-line e-mail message from Anna, the text of which was that we have a mouse; and the sub-text of which was that I was in trouble.

There have been a couple of sightings – he’s a daring little bugger, coming out in daylight, and Anna even admires him grudgingly. She’s named him Marcus. I was sitting at my workstation yesterday when I realised he was dead at my line of sight – on top of a framed picture of Anna’s family, on top of Anna’s dresser.

I fed him some chocolate. I texted Anna: ‘Marcus is a cutie pie!’.

Anna was not thrilled by either of these actions on my part.

I too picked up a ‘live capture’ mouse trap at Home Base. It recommended peanut butter as bait, which we didn’t have, so Anna tried jelly. (Seemed intuitive enough.) However, when we got up this morning, either Marcus outsmarted us (I’d briefly imagined him removing the whole back cap where the food goes) – or he doesn’t like jelly.

I already know he likes chocolate; but I’ll certainly bear Muesli in mind if he continues to elude us.

I intend to release him in the churchyard round the corner. While I’m not sure he has just the right temperment for it, perhaps he will liven things up there – as a churchmouse.

Now, off to forward this to Anna, ostensibly to show her it’s not just us, but I already know she’ll merely take it as me defending A) the non-lethal trap and B) the existence of Marcus in general . . .

Published by

Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

3 thoughts on “★ The Small World of the Mouse”

  1. Thanks for the special notice, Ian. I’m pleased and flattered.

    Unfortunately, my story does not have a happy ending. After two nights of live capture failure, Anna was off work and home alone yesterday; and the mouse – bobbing and weaving, appearing and disappearing, crapping on Anna’s books – began to unnerve her. She went out and bought traditional neck-snapping mouse traps, plus poison pellets. I vetoed the poison on the grounds that dead mice in the walls decomposing would not be an improvement to our situation. But I didn’t feel entitled to stay her murine executions. I couldn’t ask her to live in – how does she put it? – a ‘flooded, rat-infested shithole’. (We’ve had one or two flooding issues.) Anyway, I’m vegan, and she rides to hounds, and there was at that moment a fair bit of a dead cow in our refrigerator, so I suppose the mouse would get what was coming to him. He had invaded our home, I feebly justified to myself. And I had given him every opportunity of transportation to a nice churchyard.

    Oh, I missed a bit: We sat on the couch last night watching Marcus dart around the mouth of the live trap. He even went in! But not far enough. He almost couldn’t resist the irresistable chocolate crunchy I’d donated to the cause, but he’s a cagey bugger. Also the death traps had gone down, as well, so the stakes were immeasurably raised. It was tense, dramatic. We agreed it was better than television. I was still hoping against hope for a live capture. It was in fate’s hands now.

    Overnight we lay awake listening to the scrabbling. At one point I had to go down there and poke amongst the books and cables with my trusty Masai war club. “Keep it down, you bastard! Don’t you sleep?!”

    Later, in the night, I figured I might have dreamed it, and Anna didn’t wake up at all . . . but I apprehended a snap – and a scream. A tiny scream. When I got up in the morning, I told Anna she probably had a dead mouse to deal with. (That was the deal – she did the killing, she could dispose of the body.) I got in the shower while she made noises that made me think I was very wise to be in the shower, rather than dealing with Marcus’ disposal.

    Then Anna came into the bathroom and asked me what I was not able to take as a rhetorical question: “Do you want to hear something horrifyingly disconcerting?” “No,” replied I immediately and happily, soaping up. She told me anyway: “There are *two* dead mice in traps.” I let that sit for a moment. “I suppose it’s too late to name the other one.”

    I did anyway. I call her Muriel. My theory is that when she heard Marcus scream, she ran to his lifeless body – then threw herself on the other trap.

    We’re cleaning out behind the dresser, checking for progeny.

    P.S. I’ve hacked your commenting system.

  2. > My theory is that when she heard Marcus scream, she ran to his lifeless body – then threw herself on the other trap.

    No! It’s too much!

  3. >That was the deal – she did the killing, she could dispose of the body.<

    a most surreal experience, let me tell you.

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