A while back, I started thinking I was becoming crazy. I mean really crazy, seeing things that don’t exist flitting around. Black things, to be precise. And then I got really surprised when it turned out I wasn’t crazy. I had a mouse in the house.
This little home is a haven for mice: the construction is a bit shoddy, and there are lots of crevices and hole through which a mouse can get into the foundation and from there easily to the main floor. I tend to be somewhat liberal with anal retentiveness (read: I am a slob ) and this probably made for a perfect match. I had a mouse.
At first, I thought nothing of it. The mouse was cute, it was scared, and I had a debt of ingratitude to repay; I still remembered that one little mouse I had accidentally doomed to death in Hilo for stepping on it after it had come out of a dryer. So I left the little thing alone.
When I came back from my snowboarding trip, I noticed that the mouse had gnawed on a chocolate bar a colleague had given me for Christmas. There was a considerable chunk missing, and I was a little nonplussed about the affair. I mean, it was a cheap Hershey’s bar and all, but it was a gift intended for me, not the mouse!
Well, I started thinking it was odd that chocolate is toxic to cats and dogs, but not to mice. Just as I came home one day after discussing with my colleagues, I see a mouse on the floor in the basement. It is turned sideways and visibly shivering. I get closer, and it is powerless to move. It writhes slightly, but it can’t even manage to escape my hand when I pick it up by the tail.
What to do, what to do? I assumed (considering the amount of chocolate eaten) the mouse would die. It looked like it had ingested its own body weight in bittersweet, and that spelled horrible news. I considered whether I should put it out of its misery, but realized I really didn’t know much about rodent biochemistry. I opted for the humane variant of “nice raft, buddy, and the waterfall is around the corner”: I made a bed out of an old T-shirt, put the mouse on it, and left it to follow its destiny in the warmth of its own body.
What do you know? When I came home, the tragedy of the little mouse had unfolded, and it was stiff as a nail. Not really saddened by the news, I move to a quick funeral in the garbage can, T-shirt and all (just so that nobody that reads this is ever disgusted when I wear a T-shirt).
No later than a day after the “funeral” do I see the ghost of mice past float around in the kitchen. A different mouse is running around, examining the cupboard. I open it, and the Trader Joe’s Instant Wild Rice packs I had there are opened and the contents strewn all over the cupboard.
This time, I don’t go buying Hershey’s, but get myself mice poison. I open it, leave it on the floor as prescribed, and notice in the instructions that it will take about 5 days for the poison to work. The dosage, it turns out, is kept low so that ingestion will not harm larger pets.
Next time, I’ll go back to bittersweet.
Let’s hope there is no next time…