Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Great Mouse Trap, Pt. 2

When I woke up the next morning, evidence of the previous night's hunt was everywhere: the flashlight still turned on (batteries now dead, of course) and resting on its side on the counter, the frying pan looking out of place in the bathroom where I apparently set it down and forgot to put it away, and the tea kettle with a long scratch in its cornflower blue paint. I got ready for work in record time that morning - I didn't want to be in that apartment for longer than was absolutely necessary.

I spent part of my lunch hour in the hardware store searching for mouse traps. I thought it'd be like choosing a soft drink: Pepsi or Coke. Springy-trap-with-cheese or something-else-I-hadn't-determined-yet. Little did I know that when it comes to rodent extermination, the choices are almost endless.

I walked in the store and was immediately met by two salespeople asking if I needed help. Both were men, and both had a hint of a smile on their faces to see a young woman in the store.

I've never been offended by a man's natural tendancy to automatically conclude that a woman has no idea what she's doing in a hardware store. This is mostly because I always seem to have no idea what I'm doing in a hardware store. Even if I go in with an end point in sight, like I need an extension cord... I get distracted and intimidated by the smell of the wood, the various wattage of the light bulbs in the ceiling fans, and the realization that I'm wearing pink sandals and carrying a pink Coach purse.

I decided to be strong, though - I politely refused any help and made my way towards the back of the store. I glanced down each aisle and found the pest control products relatively quickly. My eyes opened wide like a kid in a candy store... except opposite of that. All around me were boxes of poison, huge pointy stick-like things, and various other torture devices too horrifying to explain here.

I started at the opposite end where there was a familiar object: the typical spring-loaded trap. There was regular size and disgustingly-oversized-if-I-had-a-rodent-that-large-I'd-kill-myself industrial versions. I picked up a regular one and turned it over in my hands. I had a vivid picture in my mind of my home becoming quite like a cartoon for the duration of the trap usage. I pictured myself forgetting the traps were on the floor, snapping my big toe in one, and having those red lightning bolts of pain shoot out from my foot. After that, there'd be a full brass section or maybe just one lonely trombone playing an anticipated "wah, wah, wahhhhhh." I put it back on the shelf and moved down the aisle.

Next were boxes of poison. They were green and yellow and had pictures of cockroaches, silverfish, ants, spiders, mice, and birds all in black silhouettes with a yellow circle around their forms. There was a harsh red line drawn through each circle. I decided then that I didn't want to kill my mouse. He was just looking for warmth and shelter, and, contrary to popular opinion, I'm not a coldhearted monster. I've just recently discovered my inner bitch; I have yet to completely unleash her. Further down the aisle I went.

Next were the glue traps. I've always had horrible feelings about glue traps. When I worked at the hospital, we used to lay glue traps around the perimeter and near the ovens. Whoever got there first in the morning was always charged with the wonderful task of checking the traps. That person was usually me, being the breakfast cook and all. In the winter, not a morning went by that I wasn't greeted by a poor little ball of fluff struggling to free its leg from the sticky mess. I used to sweep all the traps to the area of the room away from the appliances and food; the next person to come in was Ray, a big, angry guy who did our ordering and stocking. He used to throw the traps into the trash compacter one by one.

I shook the uncomfortable memory off and moved down a little more... I couldn't help but wonder where the cardboard-box-propped-up-on-a-stick-tied-with-a-string-that-you-pull-when-the-mouse-went-under-for-the-food traps were located. Then I saw the modern-day, non-cartoon version of such a product: the live trap. I picked two up, paid for my purchases, obliged laughter when the salesman wished me happy hunting, and went straight home to set them. There was no doubt in my mind that one of them would be successful, and my visitor would be safely trapped by the time my workday ended.

I spread peanut butter on the very back wall of the trap and placed one behind the microwave (where I had seen it the night before) and the empty cabinet under the sink (where I had found some "evidence" during my hunt). I returned to work confident that I'd come home that evening to a mouse-free home. I hadn't yet decided how I would get rid of the mouse once it was in the trap... I didn't want to let it go in the yard just so it could find its way in again, but I didn't want to get in my car and drive to the park with a mouse in a box on the seat next to me.

The doors to both traps were shut tightly when I got home. I decided there must have been two mice, and I'd caught them both in the span of a few hours. I set the traps together in the empty sink (I have no idea why) and wondered at their weight: they seemed to weigh just as much as they did when I bought them. I needed to open them up to see if the mice were actually in there. I put both the traps in a brown paper bag and walked them outside to the parkway in front of my house. I stood on the steps of the General Milroy statue that greets the southbound traffic of highway 231 and held one trap out as far as I could, stretching my arm until it hurt. I opened it, turned it upside down, and braced myself for what would surely result in the mouse falling out, biting me, and giving me the plague or some other disease carried by rodents.

Nothing. Nada. In either trap. I walked back home cursing and wondering how the damn thing managed to eat the peanut butter off both traps and still get away. I put them back confident that I'd get him this time. By the time I woke up the next morning, I knew I'd have my mouse. I decided I would have to ask one of my two neighbors or my officemate - all men - to dispose of the creature for me. It never once dawned on me that I could do it myself; call me old fashioned.

One more installment to the story - I promise! Look for the real conclusion on Friday.


Phil said...

One gross story about glue traps....

I don't even remember who this happened to, but someone I know caught a mouse in a glue trap once. He tried to rip the mouse off of the glue (I don't know why....the mouse sure as hell ain't getting far without his feet), but the glue was too strong. Instead, he succeeded in COMPLETELY RIPPING THE MOUSE'S SKIN OFF, BY PULLING THE TAIL TOO HARD. What resulted was like one of those "skinless humans" that you see in a biology textbook.

Gross, huh?

Frema said...

Becky! You're killing me here!

Phil said...

Journal entry for 12/04/2006

Looked for part 3 on Friday. Looked again today. Reread part 2. Wept.

Steve said...

As Becky's attorney, I feel compelled to point out that she didn't specify *WHICH* Friday she was going to finish the story. Just that it would be a Friday.

Having said that -- yeah I checked a couple of times and nothing. I was so bored I almost went and read Frema. Almost.


Frema said...

I saw that, Steve!

Loves it! Jen said...

All I want for Christmas is for Becky to finish her Mouse Trap story. (waiting by Christmas Tree in footed pj's) MERRY CHRISTMAS GIRKY! THANKS FOR THE CHRISTMAS CARD!!!

Phil said...


deuber said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
deuber said...

I too long for more of this delightful story of suspense, filth, and impending death.