God, wouldn’t it be great if every issue in my life went away as soon as I wrote an update about it for the blog? Well, I suppose it wouldn’t necessarily be great for you, but my life would be a damnsight easier.
If every problem I’d mentioned on my blog was resolved as soon as I clicked update, I’d be sitting on the couch with Christina Hendricks watching season 5 of Firefly, sipping on a gigantic milkshake thanks to my being lactose-tolerant. It would rain Jack Daniels, and the space once occupied by the University of Washington would be replaced by a 150-foot tall statue of Kenny Wheaton.
Sadly, though, that’s not the case, and long after I’ve told the world about any given dysfunction, incident, or substance that my digestive system is unable to process, they persist. Such is the case with our house and mice.
You may remember my horrified reaction when we first discovered a field mouse living in our house in the winter, and my eventual triumph when he was killed by a mousetrap. At that point, I thought that our mouse problems were over. I mean, hell, I wrote a blog about it, didn’t I?
Well, long story short, they didn’t. We killed four more mice over the course of the winter, all of them running face first into 79 cent Victor brand mousetraps baited with Western Family peanut butter, usually in the middle of the night.
It was sort of frustrating, given how much we hated these little bastards for chewing on our wires and spreading salmonella, that our most effective means of killing them was so passive on our part. Set a trap, go to bed, and rely on the natural predisposition towards peanut butter shared by all living beings to finish the job. Ho hum.
When the spring came and the temperatures inside and outside our house began to equalize, we all thought we’d seen the end of the mice – even moreso when we got a dog.
But still, earlier in the week, Cameron spotted a mouse scampering down our hallway in broad daylight, the brazen little shit. Indy, our dog, regarded the mouse with mild curiosity before laying his head back down on his paws and plotting out his next major bowel movement in our living room.
I can’t be sure why mice continue to colonize our house in such temperate weather. It might have something to do with the fact that my roommates are incredibly good at leaving food strewn across our countertops and dirty plates all over the couch, perhaps believing that if the house is just filthy enough, the anal retentive mouse will up and leave. Again, this is all speculation.
We baited and set some traps, but this mouse was apparently a crafty fucker, because after a few days the traps were still full of peanut butter and empty of dead mouse. Indy wasn’t going to be of much help unless the mouse got accidentally crushed under one of his living room shits.
We were feeling pretty glum about our chances of catching our unwanted guest when the other night, while watching Death Race, we saw the mouse dart out from behind the TV and under the door of our closet.
We all shrieked and squealed about it for a moment, but then all had the same idea at the same time: We had the mouse cornered, essentially. It was just him and us.
“Cameron.” I said. “Get your Airsoft guns.”
By the time I said it, though, Cameron was already sprinting down the hall to his room.
Cameron, something of a gun nut, keeps a large arsenal of Airsoft guns – projectile weapons that appear completely realistic, but that fire BB-sized biodegradable pellets rather than bullets, and substitute compressed gas and electricity for gunpowder. The pellets hit hard enough to hurt like a motherfucker and maybe leave a bruise, but not hard enough to break the skin. Think of them as Diet Guns.
Cameron returned shortly with three semi automatic Airsoft pistols (“The battery was dead on my M16.”) and a heavy duty police Maglite. We debated a little bit about who was going to open the door, and eventually decided on me, largely because Cameron was undoubtedly the best shot and Eli, being from a small town full of rednecks, still probably knew his way around a (fake) firearm better than me.
I held my breath, flung the door open, and then scrambled out of the way of the guns as Cameron passed the flashlight beam back and forth across the contents of the closet. However, no mouse emerged; the little shit had gone to ground.
“We’re going to have to pull everything out of the closet.” Cameron said. “It’s the only way to be sure.”
“Nose goes.” I shouted, finger already on my nose.
Eli was slowest on the draw, so he started dragging our possessions out of the closet one at a time while Cameron and I covered him. In retrospect, I suppose it looks bad that I made Eli do all the heavy lifting when he’d recently thrown out his back, but on the other hand, the rules of Nose Goes are ironclad and strict.
With each item that Eli dragged out of the closet, Cameron and I tensed up more and more, guns at the ready, flashlight beam piercing the darkness. But soon the closet was all but empty, save for a large stolen road sign lying against the back wall of the closet, and there had still been no sign of the mouse.
“Well, gentlemen,” I said, adjusting my safety glasses. “See you on the other side.”
Eli reached in, grabbed the sign one handed, and pulled it away from the wall.
And there, cowering in the blinding circle of light from our Maglite, was a single tiny field mouse. We all said the following:
And then something like this happened:
Eli, by virtue of proximity, was the first to hit it, blasting the mouse at close range from above and stunning it. We can credit him with giving us a stationary target.
I fired next, and while in the aftermath the guys charitably told me that they’d seen me hit the mouse, I’m pretty sure that my pellet was just the first of many to rebound off the back wall and hit me in the stomach.
And then, Cameron started shooting.
Cameron had supplied Eli and I with two of his lower quality handguns that needed to be recocked after each shot. He himself was using the crown jewel of his collection, an automatic pistol that, just like real ones, automatically rechambered a new round after each shot. What this meant was that while Eli and I each only had time for one shot, Cameron was free to fire as many of the 40 pellets in his chamber as he wanted to.
As Eli and I pranced around in adrenaline fueled hysterics, frantically trying to recock our pistols, I turned to Cameron and saw him standing there in a perfect shooter’s stance, face blank, calmly squeezing off shot after well calculated shot into the mouse. Not to brag or anything, but I think I live with Lee Harvey Oswald.
Turning back to the mouse, I saw Cameron’s pellets striking home. It reared up on its hind legs, took a couple hits to the chest, then fell over and started twitching.
When the mouse was finally still, we all lowered our guns and looked at what we’d accomplished.
We had won. The three homo sapiens with firearms and capacity for abstract thought had successfully outsmarted and killed a tiny field mouse in their house.
Some of the girls in the audience might think that we’re monsters for massacring a cute, defenseless mouse. I’m inclined to disagree.
If that mouse had the ability to kill us – outside of spreading all kinds of infectious diseases to our food supply or gnawing on wires and putting us at risk of an electrical fire – I feel certain that he would’ve exercised it in pursuit of his goals. Were that the case, so be it – let the best animal win. It just so happens that in this case we were the better animals.
Evolution’s a bitch, isn’t it, mouse?
And just in case you were wondering, yes – his body was handled in accordance with Islamic tradition. We wrapped it in a white sheet (a paper towel) and buried it in the backyard. We took some pictures in the course of all this, but we’ve decided not to release them in the interests of not spiking the football.
Truman Capps warns any PETA members that firebombing our house in protest will also kill however many other mice live here.