John Walker's Electronic House

The Great Mouse Hunt

by on Oct.08, 2008, under The Rest

My life has become a Tom & Jerry cartoon. Two nights ago, sat up a bit late after writing a complicated email, it was 3.30am and I was long, long overdue for bed. I heard a noise to my right, and assumed Dexter was in the room. However, looking back up at me was not the naughty face of a cat, but a cheeky little rodent nose poking out from between two piles of videogame boxes stacked on the floor beside me. A little mouse, shaking his tiny fist at being spotted by the giant human.

“Well,” I said, “what are we going to do with you?” The mouse didn’t reply, because it’s a mouse, and as such cannot talk, nor even comprehend the concept of a verbal language. However, through the mutual communication shared through our mammalian roots, I was able to tell the mouse’s instinctual reply was, “Hide behind the mess all over your floor, and poo.”

I knew what I was doing. I went to the best. I whispered for Dexter, who came plodding down the stairs wondering why he was being disturbed at this unearthly hour. “A mouse, Dexter!” I told him excitedly, pointing him toward where it was hiding. His big-cat instincts immediately kicking in, he stared around in confusion and walked off. “No!” said I, “a mouse!” After some painstaking pointing and shoving, Dex finally caught wind of the rodent and went into a truly excellent action mode. There’s a peculiar alcove in my bedroom, which was presumably once the entrance to this one hundred year old house before it was dramatically extended. Dex brilliantly backed the mouse into this space, from which there was only one way out. It was, however, where I dump all my crap.

I am well aware how disgusting the carpet is.

It was 4ish by now, and I was obviously pretty tired. And as cute as little mousey was, I wasn’t keen to have him live with me. He’d already done a proficient amount of pooing after his first encounter with my killer cat, and I didn’t fancy all of his toileting taking place in the various shelters about my bedroom. So I began the painful process of pulling out everything from this narrow little space. This included a small bookshelf, stacked to bursting, with two years’ junk balanced on top. It all had to come down. Then came about four hundred million magazines I’ve written for all dumped in there. Then at the back an odd lattice shelf thing filled with hardback books, on top of a small chest of office drawers. With just the chest of drawers left in there, my room now looked like a particularly messy tornado had stayed for the weekend. A hilarious amount of mess for the sake of one incredibly tiny little beastie.

He has intricate cat tools in his paws, operating them under there.

Dex had the mouse under the drawers, and was doing an amazing job of keeping it there. He pounced back and forth, running behind and in front, jabbing paws into the tiny space offered by the little casters on the bottom. I could see Mousey sitting carefully in the middle, out of reach, smirking. So Dexter and I came up with our plan. I would roll the drawers forward or backward, exposing the mouse, and he would pounce on it before it knew what was happening. An excellent plan, but the mouse was smart and would retreat too quickly. So plan B was tipping up the drawers, giving him nowhere to hide, and Dexter an excellent chance to pin it down. (For those who think I was being horrendously cruel, it’s important to understand the extent of Dexter’s incompetence, and how gentle he is. The chances of his harming the mouse were tiny, far more likely to simply pin it so I could grab it). I was armed with a tea towel to throw on it if it were to escape Dex and run past.

A mighty plan, but the little critter was far too fast for both of us, making good his escape, and vanishing into the impossible territories behind my 8000lb wardrobe. We had failed. Ludicrously, it was now about 5.30am, and Dex and I sat in defeated disbelief. So close.

I picked my way through the detritus covering every speck of carpet, and climbed, ashamed, into bed. Dexter, meanwhile, decided that the mouse was definitely still under the drawers.

I was certain it was not. It was entirely possible the blighter had nipped past, and then back again. It was damned fast. But I really didn’t think it had. Dexter, however, was convinced. “John! I finded mousey!” he cried. And I was inclined to trust him, with his superior sense of smell and hunting instincts. It was him who had told me the mouse had gone to hide there earlier (after a previous stint under the bookshelf). So out of bed I got and once more bent myself into the alcove with my ear to the floor, and shone the torch underneath. No mouse. Dexter continued to madly try and fit his head into a half-inch space, protesting, “Hes unda! I sawd him!” So I figured, I’ll prove to him it’s not there, and then I can sleep. I tipped up the drawers to a good angle, to show him the no mouse. He flew like a dart, paws outstretched, and pinned down… a caster attached to the drawer. “Done now?” I asked. He looked up at me, confused. “Der woz mousey, swears,” he meowed, dejected. I put the drawers back down, and Dex immediately went back into “OMG! MOUSEY UNDA DER!” So I picked up the entire thing – a heavy object indeed – lifting it a foot clear from the carpet so he could walk the space and see the no mouse. “Mousey gones?” Then I put it back down. Straight away: “MOUSEY! MOUSEY! JOHN! DERS MOUSEY UNDA DRAWZ!”

Poor, sweet idiot.

I went to bed, and Dexter sat guarding the drawers, ensuring the no mouse had no chance of escape, until he woke me up again at about 6.30 wanting to go outside. I had set the friendly mousetrap, but with nothing mouse friendly in any cupboards, had rather hopelessly baited it with honey. Do mice eat honey? They should – it’s delicious!

Dexter spent all of yesterday convinced there was still a mouse under the drawers, coming into my bedroom every hour or so to check for it. I begged him to sniff out where the mouse really was, but a couple of half-arsed efforts ended with nothing. I really didn’t want a mouse peeing and pooing everywhere, and most of all I didn’t want a little rotting mouse corpse stinking out my bedroom.

So last night I went out and bought peanut butter for the first time in my life. (As it happens). I baited the plastic trap, and put it down in the alcove, where the mousey poo remained (on purpose, so it would smell itself and be more comfortable heading that way).

At 6am this morning I woke up hearing a clicky, scratchy sound. Could it be?! I got up, walked over to the trap, and saw it lying on its side, the door shut. Woo hoo! I picked it up, but there was no extra weight to it. The silly rodent had somehow triggered it from the outside. Sigh. So I reset the trap, put it down, and stood there staring at it for a minute or so, tired and confused.

Out from behind the bookshelf appeared an inquisitive little whiskery nose, shortly followed by the rest of a mouse. He scuttled up to the trap, sniffing the delicious peanutty goodness, and tried to figure out where it was coming from. And then, hooray, he trotted inside, tipped up the device, and the door neatly slipped shut. A win!

I put the trap somewhere safe, out of reach of naughty kittens, and went back to bed. Then this morning I went for a little walk, about half a mile away from the house, and released the teeny mouse into a nice big patch of woods. He emerged from the trap, his belly swollen with peanut butter, wiping smears of it from either side of his gluttonous face. Letting out a mighty burp he said, “Thanks John. That was delicious,” and scampered off to pastures new. (Or as said the lady who sold me the trap when we had a mouse in the kitchen last year, “The mouse then races you home.”)

Mousey’s new home.

“I can has freedom?”

Dexter still feels a need to check the chest of drawers every so often, but seems more convinced that the mousey friend might have moved on. And everyone ended up happy, and full of delicious peanut butter. The End.

“Race you back!”

13 Comments for this entry