Columnists

Putting Backspin On A Mouse

There’s a mouse in my pantry . . . and he might just be staying there.

Living with the countryside right out my back door, it really isn’t strange that a mouse has set up lodgings inside the cozy confines of my larder. In fact, I count on it happening two times each year.

For whatever reasons, I seem to attract the little rodent residents in large numbers each spring and fall. Logic tells me that their arrival coincides with the agricultural activities in the fields around me. Farmers plant in the spring and harvest in the fall, and a mouse is no match for a 45,746 pound John Deere combine.

The other possibility is that mice come in to enjoy the new fall lineup of television shows.

This predictable late fall mouse forecast is why I found it so disconcerting when an entire Mouse Family Robinson showed up at my place late-August. That’s way too early. Something is definitely amiss in micedom.

I’ve caught eight of them, so far!

Oh, I suppose there is the remote possibility that I’m catching the same mouse over and over again. I use a live-catch mouse trap.

I spent $29.95 for this catch-and-release upscaled mouse penitentiary. It consists of nothing more than a metal box, open on two ends, with a series of baffles inside, designed to addle the mouse once the aroma of bait lures him (or her) inside.

The problem is that some mice leave a trail of breadcrumbs, and are able to retrace their steps to freedom, to dine again once more another day.

I’ve been using the metal box ever since the girl I was dating introduced me to it. It doesn’t work well, but I carry a torch for pretty women and stainless steel. Her name is Joni, and she is very much an Earth child. She lives by the tenet that all life is sacred.

She rescues stray animals, live-traps her mice and shoes wayward bees back outside through open doors and windows. She is vegan, and proudly proclaims that she never eats anything that “has a Mother and Father.” I believe that’s the same criterion she uses for choosing her men.

Joni scoops up her captured mouse in the live-catch trap, saunters to the back fence, opens it, and then cheerfully exclaims, “It’s been nice knowing you, little fella.” It’s the same thing she said to me last January.

Despite its inconsistency, I still use the metal box. I haven’t found anything better. I hate using the spring-loaded snap traps. There’s just something sinister about enticing a little mouse to enjoy a hunk of cheese, only to slam a wire guillotine onto the back of his neck. I get the same funny feeling when I’m eating McDonald’s French Fries, and my chest tightens.

Those sticky traps are the worst. Once a mouse pulled himself and the trap through the coils of my electric stove, in a clever attempt to free himself. It didn’t work, and for hours I worked to separate the glue-covered squealing mouse and trap from the burner. For six months afterwards, every time I scrambled some eggs, I couldn’t chomp down before making certain that what I was eating really was bacon.

One of the finest tools for ridding mice is a 9-Iron. I was at work, and a mouse startled me before dashing behind a row of boxes. I reached for the only “weapon” handy, and grabbed my boss’s golf club from the bag nearby. The mouse made another pass, and sure enough, I clobbered him right on the sweet spot.

The mouse tumbled through the air, landing on both feet about 40 yards from where I was standing. He froze for a moment, then gathered his senses and dashed under the dumpster. My boss came out and noticed the 9-iron in my hand.

“What’s that?” he yelled.

“Looks like a double-bogey to me,” I said.

Every time a mouse invades my 50-year-old home, I always wonder if rich people have the same problem with little varmints dashing all over their palatial estates. I’ve decided no . . . unless we are talking about FBI agents.

John O. Marlowe is an award-winning columnist for Sagamore News Media.