“He’s back.”, my wife informed me as soon as I walked in the door.
“Oh, hell.”, I said. “Which one of the boys have moved home?”
“NO, not one of the boys!”, she shouted, bordering on hysteria. “The mouse. The damned mouse is back.”
There was a time when I was greeted on my return from work with a hug, and a kiss. ” I doubt it’s the same mouse.”, I told her.
Oh, it’s the same one.”, she exclaimed. “I recognize the look in his eyes.”
I didn’t doubt, not for a moment, that my wife had seen a mouse. I had some reservations that she could tell one mouse from the next, by the look in its eyes. She has a gift for the paranormal, all things ghostly, and weirdly, but retinal recognition of rodent’s was not something I would be willing to believe she had mastered. I told her I would buy some traps to get rid of the rodent, but she only balked at the suggestion. I offered to call a pest control specialist, but that too did not bode well, and she rejected the use of poison, as she was afraid that she would find the mouse, laying on the floor, dead.
“What is it that you want?”, I asked. “Should I try to capture and rehabilitate it?”
“If you could.”, she said in all seriousness. “catch it and release it in the wild. That would be best.”
“You understand, this mouse is not wild.”, I told her. “There are no field mice scampering through the forests.”
She a bit disconcerted, but it was made clear that there is no mouse sanctuary. This was a city mouse.After much deliberation, we agreed that I would dispose of the mouse in any way I saw fit, but would never, ever, reveal what I had done to this rodent.
“Can’t we keep it as a pet?”, my daughter asked. “I’ll keep it in my room.” I looked at my wife, the explosion was imminent.
“There will be no mice, and no snakes, and no spiders or lizards in my house.”, she exclaimed.
“Have you seen a snake in here?”, I asked.
“Not yet.”, my wife replied, “but I’m sure that’s coming next.”
“Well”, I said, “if its any consolation, they are much easier to catch. They move very slowly.” It was no consolation.
The following morning, on my way to the kitchen to make coffee, I saw the little bastard on my kitchen floor, twitching his whiskers. He didn’t look like much of a threat. based on my wife’s reaction, I was anticipating a much bigger mouse. As I got closer, it ran off, scurrying under the oven, and vanishing into thin air. I said nothing to my wife. I left for work, leaving her alone with a desperado mouse, hiding out in our kitchen.
Several hours later, I received a call informing me that Mr.Tarkanian, had come over to catch the mouse, as it ran past her in the kitchen this morning. He was unsuccessful, but in his exuberance, had smashed one of my classic posters that had been on the wall in the living room. “What was he doing in the living room if the mouse was in the kitchen?”, I asked her.
“Well, the mouse ran out from behind the oven, across the kitchen floor. Mr. Tarkanian tried to get it with the broom, but the mouse was too fast, and ran out of the kitchen and into the living room. And the rest, well, he just has very bad hand eye coordination. “. she explained. “Sorry.”
“Did he catch the mouse, at least?”, I asked.
“No.”, I was advised, “he got away. And just so you know, I’m not making dinner tonight. I’m not putting one foot in the kitchen until that mouse is gone.”
On the way home I stopped at the hardware store and picked up some traps. “Don’t you think you should have got poison too?”, one of my daughters asked.
“I’m trying to catch a mouse.”, I told her, “I only need to kill it once.”
“You’re going to kill it?”, she asked.
“No.”, I told her, “I’m merely going to hold it hostage, and wait for his family to bring the ransom of cheese. Then I’ll let him go.”
“Not funny.”, she advised me. I never realized before that my family had no sense of humor. None. I was certain that it was, indeed, funny.
The next morning I checked the traps. Nothing. For 3 days I baited and left them for the pest. For 3 days he eluded me. “I told you he was a smart mouse.”, my wife reminded me.
He was a smart mouse, alright. Shockingly elusive. “Well, what are you going to do now?”, my wife asked
“I don’t know”, I told her.
The next afternoon, she called me. “We got the mouse,”, she told me. I wasn’t sure what she meant, I mean we had had the mouse for about 5 days now.
“What?”, I asked.
My wife told me how my son had come over, and saw the mouse running across the kitchen floor. He jumped up and threw a book at the rodent, and as luck would have it, hit the mouse and stunned it long enough for my son to trap it in a box. He was going to take it over to the park behind the school, but the mouse died. It was tragic.
“Just out of curiosity, what book did he use?”, I asked.
“The Southern Cooking cook book.”, she said. “You know, the big one.”
After careful consideration, and a thoughtful pause, I let her know that I would not be home for dinner.