I’m a killer. Not the pathologically homicidial kind found on “Criminal Minds”, nor am I the quasi-accidental kind from “How To Get Away with Murder”.
No, I am a killer of mice.
“Why is there a dead mouse outside,” my wife asked as she headed off for a run.
“I’m leaving him there as a warning to all other mice,” I informed. I think her only reply to that was, Gross, but I can’t be sure.
It hasn’t always been this way. I’ve often given the mice plenty of chances.
Time was if they invaded my home I would hunt, catch and release them. This typically involved my apex predator hunting buddy, a cat named Butterscotch, a broom, a stainless steel waste basket and a piece of cardboard.
In his day Butterscotch could be counted on to instinctively follow my lead. Sadly though he has passed and so have my patience with the hunt. We were like highly trained Navy Seals working in tandem exchanging wordless cues using eye movement, hand signals and body language. Butterscotch is gone and his brother is well, to put it nicely, frigging useless which leaves me without a hunting buddy.
As a result I’ve resorted to going old school. That means traps. At first I tried the humane traps. I think they call these things humane not because the traps are “no kill” but because the result is I’m often just feeding snacks to the mice. Other people may have luck with these traps but not me.
These rodents that have taken over my garage and occasionally infiltrate the kitchen and basement. An exterminator put down poison bait traps. Basically this is a little plastic housing containing a bait block. The mice eat the bait and leave the “trap” or they take the bait back to their nest and then *poof* — they die. The bait is a blood thinner which essentially liquifies them from the inside.
“The great thing about this,” the exterminator told me, “is that they can die in the walls and you don’t have that smell.”
“Dead mouse smell.”
I couldn’t tell you if those things worked because you never find a body. For some that might be comforting… Not for me. I need to know. Need to know the little bastards got “got”. I also think that one should have to look their victim in its lifeless beady eyes to feel the full weight of removing her (or him) from this Circle of Life.
Now I lean toward old school mouse traps, the kind that look like something out of a depression era Stooges short, the kind that if you’re not careful will bite your fingers off.
In May we had a yard sale and that meant one thing — clean the garage. Anything not used in a year or two was dusted off and given a price tag. The downside was finding mice droppings.
I went on the offensive deploying four of the old-style guillotine wooden style traps baited with peanut butter as well as one of a newer high-tech design that does the same job but is easier to set.
Within days I caught two big field mice. Two days after that I caught a baby. That’s when I realized — I killed its parents. Over the next week the traps caught two more. That had to be the last of them, I thought, but baited the traps anyway just to be on the safe side.
Suddenly, the traps were empty.
And I don’t just mean empty of mice, which they were, I mean of peanut butter. In my garage was at least one mouse so stealthy, so agile that he (or she) was capable of eating this hair-trigger death traps clean of any peanut butter. Could this be? Who trained this mouse? Had he honed this skills absent mother, father and siblings? A rogue mouse of his ilk must be stopped, for what if he dared share these trap defying techniques with other mice, or even chipmunks? The result would be anarchy!
I declared war on this Ninja-mouse.
Well, war in this case meant re-stocking each trap repeatedly with Skippy Natural peanut butter which my wife pointed out only seemed to result in me feeding more expensive peanut butter to the stealthy bastard.
Until Friday of last week.
Then, coming home from some errand or another, bending down to pick up something dropped, I saw it: the tiniest of mice clapped on the head by a spring loaded plastic hammer.
Poor guy. He was only a baby. Which explains how he was able to eat so much peanut butter without tripping up. Eventually his drive for the old PB was his undoing. He should have quit while he was ahead but nature can be reckless.
Later this afternoon I will carry his limp grey body to the shady spot where the shallow grave beneath the forsythia holds his relations.
I will cast a glare to the woods and lawn as if to warn any others watching that the fate which befell such a stealthy Ninja-mouse will also be their fate, as few possess his skills. Silently I will bow my head and acknowledge his worthiness as an adversary.
Adieu, Ninja-mouse. Adieu.