Saturday, December 11, 2004

Mouse warfare.

I'm alone in the house tonight, and by that I mean, I'm here without my wife. My sleepy daughter is peaceful in a way she has not been all day, and the dogs, well, you'd think they'd chased off an army of postal workers the way they're sprawled across the floor in exhaustion.

Last year in the cold months, we had some mice in the house, and we deemed this a problem. We caught or killed maybe a dozen of the critters in all. The prisoners we banished to a less-inhabited area down the street. I think they froze to death out there since it was so cold then that in the time it took me to carry them from the car to the park, the cold had convinced my unprotected face that it didn't exist.

We've heard them in the kitchen again recently, like the little sounds that lure hapless characters to their untimely deaths in horror stories since the first campfire. If we make enough racket in there, they don't come out, but tonight, the TV is off, and the laptop makes its noise only via headphones. I'm quiet as the baited trap I left on the stove. Not a creature is stirring, not even our hamster.

The quiet lured one to that live trap, and I heard it in the next room. Rattling around in there, it was the loudest thing in the house. It's now outside in a plastic tub with walls too high to jump and too slick to scale.

Later, I was in the kitchen and heard one in the bread box. I heard a rumor that they'd been in there, but I couldn't figure out how they could get in and out. With the door closed, there aren't any holes. These must be mice of limited teleportation because it was pretty clear from the loud potato chip chewing sounds that Something was in that box, unconcerned with any locked room mystery I'd concocted.

I removed an item at a time until I found the critter in one corner. At that point, I ran for my Palm to snap a picture. Holding the flashlight in one hand and the Palm in the other, I got a pretty good shot.

After that, I scared it into the opposite corner which is harder to see, and as I was looking for the new hiding place, the thing dropped from the ceiling of the bread box! Startled, I jumped back, and it took the opportunity to run right off the counter and across the floor to the ultimate safety of the stove.

It was just like some one-man-army movie where the ultimate bad-ass gets the drop on pursuers by hiding above their heads. It was like Richard Kimble jumping off the dam into the river. It was like Han Solo attacking the star destroyer head on. "They'll never see this coming!"

This is what I have to look forward to: another winter of mouse warfare.
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