I HAVE a complex relationship with mice.
They repulse me and, at the same time, make me want to talk in that voice usually reserved for babies: ‘Oh, look at da little mousey. Aren’t you cute? Yes you are, yes you are.’
At the moment though they’re in my pantry and every day I’m forced to clean up their shit and throw away all the things they’ve ransacked. My wife – I think she’s in denial about the depth of our problem – always refers to the ‘mouse’ we have. But I know there’s never just one. Mice aren’t the type of creatures that live alone in one bedroom units with nice little gardens. Sure they’d move into a one bedroom unit, but they’d come along with 3000 other family members and eat everything that isn’t nailed down. Bad tenants that they are, they’d leave every inch of the place covered in shit too, not to mention poking more than a few holes in the walls.
Mice are a force of nature. Not one damn one of them has an interest in playing the guitar, watching films or writing pointless internet blogs. They are designed for two purposes only: to eat and shit. And even knowing this, my heart goes out to them. Because they have cute little faces, I pretend they’re something more.
We’ve got a ‘mice device’ – one of those stupid humane traps. They walk in and a little door closes. You simply take the mouse away – I got two in it the other day – and release it into the front yard of your enemy. I chucked one of the traps in a bucket of water once and watched the poor little fella drown. But he kept coming back to me in my dreams, so I never did that again.
We’ve had the other traps too, but they tend to get the poor little things right on the end of the nose and they die a horrible, bloody death. I can’t abide that. I have to admit, though, my opposition to those splatter traps is driven more by the mess than the cruelness of them.
If someone came into my house with a flamethrower (but didn’t damage any of the furniture) and barbecued every mouse we had, that would be fine by me. As long as I didn’t have to see it. Because then I’d want to kiss and cuddle them and tell them I was sorry.
The most embarrassing part of this mice problem is the fact that our dog, Sam, is a Jack Russell. He was born to be a mouser, but hasn’t caught a single one. He’s killed birds by the bucket load (and no, we don’t encourage this), but mice always give him the slip. He walks away from every exchange shame faced.
So, unless we take drastic action we’re stuck with them. Can mice and men coexist? I think not. For me it’s like a relationship that’s gone sour: I’ll always love them, but I’m sick of their shit and want them out of my life.