A good friend who was staying with me recently greeted me one morning with the following devastating news: “I don’t know how to tell you this, but you have a new roommate. He’s living under the dishwasher. I named him Jorge.”
That was actually pretty mean, naming the mouse like that, because during the epic battle that we waged I could not think of him as anything but Jorge. Jorge was pretty cute: petite, gray, saucy white patches, and a twitchy curious little nose that seemed to say “Hello world, I’ve come to sniff you!” I was in denial for the first couple of days. She was wrong, she had to have been wrong. My house is clean and pest free. (Well, except for the squirrel debacle of 1995, of which we no longer speak).
I even, for a while, decided that I could live with my houseguest (the furry one, not the human one). People have pets, right? Well, I just have a pet. That’s not crazy, right? Then, my houseguest (the furry one, not the human one) revealed a very bad habit: pooping on my kitchen counter. Pooping, pooping, everywhere. So much mouse poop. And that’s when I realized that my houseguest (the furry one, not the human one) was a pest, and he had to go. I called the pest control people, and they came with their humane glue traps and I waited for Jorge to succumb.
But he didn’t succumb. He kept pooping, and, oddly enough, eating apples. (Note to self and others: do not leave food on the counter when you have a mouse in the house). Then he resorted to the worst form of warcraft: he mocked me. I was sitting on the couch watching t.v. and he ran out from under the basement door and just stopped and looked at me. Twitching nose, beady little eyes, jaunty french accent: ha ha ha I mock you with my nose! Then he ran under the couch I was sitting on. I screamed, I jumped up and down, I MAY have (allegedly) cussed. Jorge stayed there for awhile. My bunker became his bunker. It was diabolical. Then he ran into ground zero, the center of our conflict, my kitchen. (Or at this point, we might as well have called it his kitchen, because he owned me.)
I decided to regroup and visit the armory: aka Home Depot. I stood in the pest control aisle for about an hour quizzing every passer-by. “What kind of mousetrap should I buy?” I ignored their silent looks of condemnation but I knew what they said: “You’re a bad housekeeper! You have a rodent in your house! You are a bad, bad person!” I persevered, because that’s the kind of gal I am. The consensus seemed to be that the old fashioned mouse traps are the best. Technology has not improved the pest-industrial complex. I bought “baitless” traps because they looked less messy. Some nice plastic cheese–no fuss no muss.
I put four traps in front of the fridge. That was Jorge’s base camp. I’d get him where he lived! It was genius. I set the traps and went to bed. Next morning. More poop, no Jorge. The traps just need another day, I told myself. Next morning, more poop, no Jorge. Clearly, plastic cheese does not fool an experienced foe. Finally, in despair, I contacted the guru, the fount of all knowledge trivial and useless: BCC’s own supergenius. His deep voice thundered from the mountains: USE PEANUT BUTTER! (actually, he just typed it into gmail IM–but it resonated in my soul.)
There was faint music playing in the background–sad shy instrumentals, haunting melody. Gracefully, in cinematic slow motion, I baited four traps with peanut butter, creamy. I gently set them in front of the fridge and quietly walked up the stairs to go to bed.
I didn’t sleep well. The next morning I woke up, and came downstairs. It was a horrible battle scene. Peanut butter and mouse poop everywhere. All over the kitchen. Jorge was still alive but barely. I think he died while I picked the trap up with a plastic bag and took it out to the garbage. I cleaned up the kitchen, then got in my car to drive to work. I cried the whole time.