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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

There's a mouse in the house!

Dec 22, 2022 10:11AM ● By Sally Breslin

I was watching TV the other night when suddenly both dogs jumped up, ran out to the kitchen and started growling at the refrigerator. They made me wonder if maybe the chicken I’d bought earlier had come back to life. 

As I walked over to investigate, a tiny mouse scurried out from behind the fridge, dashed toward the basement door then squeezed underneath it and disappeared.

So early the next morning, I headed over to the local hardware store. “I need a trap to catch a mouse,” I said to the clerk.

He cast me an amused smile. “A mouse? Only one?”

I nodded.

“Sorry to say, ma’am, but if you see one mouse, you can guarantee there will be about a dozen more hiding somewhere.” 

He then led me over to a shelf and proceeded to point out products that poisoned, maimed, flattened, decapitated, impaled and even exploded mice. I was surprised he didn’t drag out a hungry cat in a cage and offer that to me too.

“Don’t you have anything that wasn’t invented by the Marquis de Sade?” I asked. “I don’t want to kill the poor mouse. He’s actually kind of...cute.” 

That was one thing I’d learned when I moved from a big city to a rural area—country mice. With their great big eyes and clean fur, they didn’t look anything like their scrawny, dirt-encrusted beady-eyed city cousins.

I remembered trapping one when we first moved and telling my husband how surprised I was that it was so cute.

“Yeah, he’s just adorable,” my husband said, rolling his eyes. “Please don’t tell me you’re thinking about keeping him as a pet.”

Actually, the thought had crossed my mind. I’d even thought about naming him “Mickey.” The only thing that prevented me from keeping Mickey as a pet was the fact that he probably would have ended up being Exhibit A at my divorce trial.

Anyway, the hardware clerk finally showed me a “humane” trap—an opaque plastic tube with a door on one end that pushed inward. Once the mouse entered, it wouldn’t be able to get back out, he assured me, and then all I’d have to do was carry the tube elsewhere and release the little critter unharmed.

I bought the trap, shoved some peanut butter into it and then set it in the middle of my basement floor. Later that day, I checked it and noticed the trap was lying at a different angle. Something obviously had dared to crawl inside. The problem was, because the trap was made of opaque plastic, I couldn’t tell what that “something” was. For all I knew, it was some hideous, fanged creature that, when I freed it, would leap up at my throat and tear out my jugular (okay, so maybe I’ve been watching too many science-fiction horror movies lately).

I carefully picked up the trap, which felt light, but I didn’t dare shake it to see if something would bounce around inside. I stuffed the trap into a big cardboard box and taped it closed. Then I drove to a nearby hiking trail, removed the trap from the box and set it down on a rock.

Slowly, I tipped the trap upward so the door fell inward and opened, and then I waited for my captive to emerge. Nothing happened. I gave the trap a little shake. Still, nothing. Finally, I gathered the courage to peer down inside it, all the while fearing something would jump out and sink its teeth into my nostrils.

The trap was empty. However, the peanut butter I’d put inside was gone, and there were mouse droppings in the trap. But there was no mouse—that is, unless it had figured out the secret of invisibility.

I checked the cardboard box, not even considering that if the mouse had indeed escaped from the trap during the ride over, it wouldn’t still just be sitting there in an open box, waiting for me. Nothing there.

That night, I reset the trap in the basement. When I checked it the next morning, it once again showed signs that it had been disturbed. I wasn’t in the mood to drive back to the hiking trail, so I took the trap only as far as my driveway and opened it out there. To my surprise, a mouse came scurrying out and made a beeline straight back toward my house.

Current score: Mice - 2. Sally - 0.