Mice haven’t invaded my apartment, but they’re beginning to send spies. Every few days one scurries across my kitchen floor and hides under the stove. One by one they enter… but they never return home.
When the first mouse was spotted, my roommate shrieked, “it’s not even cold outside yet! I’m not emotionally ready for this!”
Is anyone ever emotionally ready for mice to invade their apartment? Isn’t the hallmark of a good invasion that it starts as a surprise? Would the Nazis have succeeded in occupying Eastern Europe if Hitler had RSVP’d with Poland for a September attack? Probably not. That’s why it’s important to end an invasion before it begins.
And so, with Old Testament vigilance, I’m catching the mouse spies one by one and killing them.
(Technically, and is the incorrect conjunction in the preceding sentence. The story shouldn’t read “I’m catching the spies and killing them.” It should read “I’m catching the spies by killing them.”)
SNAP! is my new favorite sound.
While I happily accept the role of grand executioner, serial killer, and/or instrument of rodent death for our apartment, Casey (my roommate) is a pacifist. She’s not offended by death, but she doesn’t think it should be forced on anyone (or anything). She wants the mice exterminated, but she doesn’t want to hear stories about it. Like the problem in Darfur, she’s aware of the killing, but thinking about it makes her sad.
Casey and I briefly discussed buying catch-and-release traps, but agreed that the theory behind catching and releasing is only effective if there’s an element of rehabilitation involved. Otherwise, your kindness is mistaken as hospitality. After the “release,” you’re practically guaranteed the mouse will bring its rodent friends back to your apartment to meet the nice people who keep filling the wire box under the sink with cheese and snacks.
The instructions for these pest-control placebos should read like the back of a shampoo bottle: “catch and release… and repeat.” Unless you have an infestation of golden retrievers, why bother?
It might be true that ever time a mouse dies, PETA cries… but in my opinion, the best way to catch a mouse is to kill a mouse.
Belly-up is always a posture of death. When you see a mouse trap flipped on its back, you know your resident rodent has finally joined Puckers – the goldfish you forgot to feed – on the other side of eternity.
This morning I looked behind the kitchen trash can to check a trap. It was sprung, tossed at a wild angle by the force of its snapping spring. The bait, a walnut tied to the trap with a piece of string, was completely intact and uneaten.
Beside the trap laid a dead mouse.
It wasn’t injured.
It wasn’t broken.
It wasn’t bloody.
But it was dead… next to the trap.
The mouse was resting three inches from the overturned trap, just far enough to blur the line between cause and effect. It was like finding a dead man across the street from a car accident.
Mysteriously, they both lay there, coldly divorced from each other, their bodies not even touching.
As far as mysteries go, “the case of the mouse who died, but wasn't caught” isn’t a very good one. I’m smart enough to know that cholesterol isn’t the only thing that causes heart attacks. When, on a calm autumn afternoon, your tiny mouse heart is already beating at over 9 times per second, SNAP! probably isn’t your favorite sound.
Animal rights activists can say what they want, but this confirms what I’ve always known. I’m not a killer… I’m a heart-breaker.