★ The Small World of the Mouse

Michael Stephen Fuchs

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 …

Author: 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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