We’ve always lived with mice.
Mister tells me that they get into the house through small gaps where the cement foundation meets the wooden frame, and sorry toots, but there’s really not that much we can do about it.
That’s fine. In the past, I haven’t really bothered all that much with them. Ours have always been a decent breed of mice—quiet, retiring, willing to keep to the walls. They really haven’t been a big problem in the house itself. That is to say, the part where we live.
And, that is to say, up till now.
Round about this time every year—as the nights grow colder—we hear them crawling around in the ceiling, especially in the downstairs bathroom. It must be their primary point of entry, probably at the vent where the fan is. To be honest, my attitude towards them has mostly been one of benevolent indulgence. I mean, they’re so cute. And it is awfully cold out. Of course they need a nice warm place to sleep at night, and, you know, birth their 4 billion babies. Besides, it’s not like they’re causing anyone any real harm.
Well (chuckles quietly under her breath) there was that one time they chewed the wires to the bathroom lights and shorted out the electricity. But that was a one-off deal that happened five years ago. Right?
And yes, yes, yes. I did have to change the place where we store the bread because we kept cutting into a fresh loaf of a Saturday morning only to find a large hole in the middle where some industrious little critter had spent the night burrowing.
I should have known it would eventually get out of hand. They long ago grew bored with their warm sanctuary above the bathroom, and began venturing to parts northward. They followed the water lines up into the bowels of my kitchen--through the hole where the pipe feeds water to the ice maker in the refrigerator, then around the corner to the sink, under which, the garbage lies. Basically, anywhere a hole has been cut into the cabinetry to accommodate water pipes; our mice have felt at liberty to roam.
We’ve set traps. We’ve killed dozens. But, of course, where there are dozens, there’s sure to be scores. And I’ve gotta say folks, they’re really starting to piss me off.
A couple of weeks ago we noticed signs—puzzling clues, tantalizing riddles—that seemed to suggest that the electric shock they received when they chewed through the wiring in the bathroom sparked a sort of rapid evolution into an uber-class of super devious, thrill-seeking rodent. First they figured out how to remove the bait from the traps without springing them. Then, as if that somehow weren’t challenging enough, they sported with springing the trap AND getting away with the bait in one clean action. Finally, they grew tired of dicking around with the traps at all, and started simply skirting them altogether. Opting instead to make a beeline for their holiest of holies—the garbage bin.
The picky little bastards aren’t content with just any garbage either. Oh no. Apparently they’ve all seen Ratatouille, and they’ve made a collective decision to take their cuisine to the next level. They leave the discarded bits, the stuff that doesn’t meet with their delicate palettes, in a neat pile next to the dishwasher detergent.
My loathing of them has taken on near Bill Murray/Caddyshack proportions.
With Mister being away in Brazil all week, I’m in dire need of a bit of intellectual diversion. So, I decided to fuck with them a little bit. Simply removing the garbage can from the cupboard every night seemed too easy. Instead, I started emptying the garbage right before going to bed, and leaving them with an empty bin. HA! Take that! You mangy, beady-eyed, little varmints!
They, in turn, have seen my call, and raised me.
They don’t come into the cabinet under the sink anymore, but they have ramped up the noise quite a bit. We can hear them, EM and me, in the wall between the kitchen and her room scratch scratch scratching away endlessly into the wee hours of the morning.
Scratch. Scratch. Scratchscratchscratch. Scratch. Scratch. Rustle. Rustle. Scratch. Scratch. And so on, and so forth. All.Night.Long.
Touché scabby varmints. Well played.
The mind boggles at what they might be up to. Some sort of Trojan horse type of deal lashed together with cobwebs and dusty insulation? An elaborate, Rube Goldberg inspired maze that they will use to test and challenge their young before sending them on a mission to find new sources of food and water? Or perhaps their only aim is to avenge the souls of their slain brethren by driving me mad ala The Tell-Tale Heart?
EM can’t sleep. I can’t sleep because EM can’t sleep. Mission very nearly accomplished.
It's almost a shame to have to crush such an advanced civilization. But, I assure you, humanity will prevail. I’m dialing the exterminators as we speak.