Tuesday, March 16, 2010


A Mouse in My Midst

I haven't written in awhile, and I'll tell you why.
I had a mouse.
Well, I didn't have a mouse – not in the biblical sense, but a mouse was in my house.
Stop laughing, I'm being serious.
It might not have been a mouse; it could have been a baby rat, I don't know. Let me explain.
It was January, I had smoked a bunch of weed and treated myself to an omelet. I know, I probably deserve mice having said that – but nonetheless…Around four in the morning I heard a rustling noise under my sink (I live in a studio apartment, I can hear people passing gas in front of my front door from my "bedroom"). I knew exactly what it was right away – aliens.
So, I woke up and got my alien gear on – a ski jacket and a hunting cap, and made my way to the kitchen. I opened the cupboard and there, chewing on the bag the takeout food came in, was my mouse.
It stared at me. It's eyes seemed to say "Yeah, I'm a mouse, so what?" I processed the stare as language and replied "So, get out." He just continued to stare at me.
At this point, I had to toss the alien batons I had created in sixth grade to ward off monsters to get a more practical weapon.
Now, I vote Democrat, hate that we're in two wars, and think professional wrestling is a gateway drug to rape – but all that changed when I realized I had a mouse.
I very quickly threw any notion of respect for mother nature and grabbed a can of Raid.
Yes, Raid.
Raid is a insect repellent, but at the time (4 in the morning), I had little to no choices. A knife? Really? Could you shank a mouse like a prisoner? Probably not. Mice are wiley. A pair of scissors? As we'll later find out, I don't even have the stomach to see a mouse stuck to a piece of glue paper. No, Raid was the only answer.
I grabbed the Raid and opened the cupboard. The mouse was like "Yeah, still here, dude. WTF?"
I sprayed it.
The mouse shot out of the cupboard and onto the kitchen floor. I let out a shriek somewhere between a deaf person yelling and Pat Robertson being grazed by a penis.
After my initial shock, I realized I had no idea where the mouse went. I opened my front door and began chanting "Here mousey, mousey, mousey." But this did little good.
The next hour I walked the apartment with the Raid looking under furniture and occasionally crouching in the fetal position and shaking.
Finally, I went to bed. But I got 0.0 sleep as I tortured myself with thoughts of the mouse climbing on me and say, taking a nap, or trying on shoes.
Eventually I became convinced that the mouse would try to murder me in my sleep with a tiny mouse shank.
Mice are crafty.
The next day I called the maintenance line at my apartment complex.
"What can we help you with?"
"I have a mouse."

"A mouse."
"Alright, we'll have the maintenance man come by and check it out. What apartment are you in?"
"The one with the mouse."
"Do you have any alarms or pets?"
"Just the mouse."
I went to work and returned home to find a note from the maintenance man.

- Put steel wool over hole.

The problem with this is that the mouse got into the cupboard from the kitchen through that hole. So, basically, the maintenance man just made sure that the cupboard under my sink was secure. That's like locking a robber up in, oh, say the entire Earth except for one bank.
So, I went to the store for mice weapons.
The mice weapons section or "Pest Deterrent" section consists of traps, sonar, and poison.
Traps: glue (the mouse walks on the glue dance floor and never walks away – with its feet), and spring (the mouse gets it's neck crushed in a brutal Saw like episode that will ruin every meal I have for days to come).
Sonar: these are small speakers that emit a brutal noise that sends mice running (well, that's what the cartoon on the box seemed to infer).
Poison: the single from Bel Biv Devoe.
I got the poison and went home.
I had to think like a mouse as I placed the small trays of deaths around my house. I hate that this all rhymes.
Obviously, one tray would go in the cupboard, but the others needed special mouse thinking.
I got out a piece of cheese and began eating it as I took to all fours and began to "mouse" around my apartment.
The fireplace, the coat closet, and the bookcase. Yes, because as I saw it mice like to be warm, they occasionally wear rain slickers (as seen in Tom and Jerry), and they are avid readers.
To be quite honest, I have no idea how I came up with the placement.
Next, I put a fan in my room and set it to high blast as I figured this would shield me from any mouse noises that would ruin my sleep (basically any noise was now a mouse noise).
For the next week my sleep got better and better and no mouse was found and the poison traps lay undisturbed.
Then I noticed gnawing marks on the inside of my closet – in my "bedroom".
I quickly ran to get a poison trap to move to the closet. That's when I realized I had never checked the poison in the coat closet.
There, in the coat closet, was the empty (comfuckingpletely) poison tray.
I called the manager and explained in my freaked out guy from the last song on Lateralus voice.
Now, it could have been from a previous messy owner – or that owner's cat or…pet rat…there were no signs of broken bits of drywall. But just to be sure, I freaked out. And I freaked out enough that I scared the manager into calling Orkin. I believe what sent her over the edge were the words "It practicing for my brains!"
Which isn't fair. The average rat or mouse wouldn't go all zombie on you unless you were already dead. That's the difference between mice and zombies. But that's the only difference.
Another day passed and I found another note from a mouse specialist.
The night before I had created a dynamic map exploring the areas where I had seen mouse activity – the gnawing, the empty poison trap, the tiny chest of drawers - and had left it for the Orkin man.
The note the Orkin man left completely ignored all my mappings and the CD ROM I created was left unexplored.

- Put down glue traps.

That was it. According to the maintenance man, this Orkin guy didn't come cheap and all he did was put down glue traps. Glue traps will catch a mouse and then the mouse either dies from heart failure (trying to mouse out of the trap) or gnaws off it's appendages.
I was livid and impotent to do anything about it – yet, I needed closure. I needed to talk to the Orkin man and have him tell me

1) It's a mouse not a rat
2) The gnawing was from a previous tenant
3) Somehow, magically, now that the Orkin man came, the mouse or rat would disappear.

For three days I called the apartment manager begging for some sort of report and none came.
Through all this, I hadn't once seen the rodent and it was going on a month.
Finally, the Orkin guy called me.
"You Robert?"
"What the hell do you want?"
"The report! I was promised a report!"
"Well, you had a mouse. I put down traps. What else do you want to know?"
"Was it a mouse or rat?"
"Looked to me like a mouse from the droppings."
"Will it come back?"
"Well, your side of the building gets (I'm not joking here) hit pretty hard with mice – we have traps outside. You're by the stream and forest and all."
"It's just a mouse."
"Are you whacko?"
"Look, it ate the poison again (the poison tray was gone again after he had come), doesn't that mean that some hole (he covered some holes up in the closet, I left that out, I'm in a hurry now to go borrow money from a friend) was left unplugged?"
"Nah, it just means that mouse is probably living in your house."
"Jesus Christ, stop rhyming."
"Yeah, they can get under the floors or into the sofas or box springs."
I dropped the phone and fell to the ground on my knees.
Have you ever seen Sophie's Choice?
For the next month, I learned to live with the fact that I may or may not be living with a fact AND a mouse. I bought the sonar thingys just in case, but had to throw them away when I freaked myself out by hearing them - apparently I have mouse DNA.
The couch went. The bedding went. Everything was cleaned and doused in alcohol. There was a fire. I spent some time in an asylum.
And still, no mouse and yet…no no mouse…..

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