I know that I’ve mentioned my recent mouse experiences here, but not necessarily in a blog post. This whole thing happened perhaps a month ago. I walked into the bathroom in the middle of the night and I saw something skitter across the floor. I figured it was a mouse, but it could also have been a really big beetle — probably Prionus californicus. Well, about a week later, I walked into the kitchen, and I saw a little mouse walking along the wall and jumping behind the oven. Now, I am a friend of the rodent family, but having a mouse inside my house is not a great thing.
I decided that I should do something about it. James seemed to think that I could not kill this interloper. But that is not as easy an assumption as one might think. I used to rent this trailer on seven very steep acres in southern Washington. I finally had to move out because it was under constant assault from wildlife — most especially mice, who came by the dozens each night defecating and otherwise destroying the place. I put out death traps each night. It was war!
But the situation here is rather different. It is not a war — just a single mouse who clearly got trapped inside the house. I even think I know how it happened. We allowed the backyard to get thoroughly overgrown. And during one of our many hot spells, I had a door, which leads directly into the backyard, open for a while. She must have come in at that time. So I feel responsible. But also, she isn’t doing any damage. I haven’t noticed even the smallest evidence of scat. So live and let live. Or almost, because I’ve made a point of leaving out food scraps and water — at least until I can figure out what to do with her.
Thus far, the only thing I have done is to rent MouseHunt. I remembered really liking the film when I first saw it. And it is a charming film. The slapstick is a bit much for me. But it is a funny film. What I think I most liked about it — and still do — is the denouement. It’s just perfect, even though it doesn’t actually make sense — it just ties a few strings (I kill myself!) together.
I remember reading a review of the film by Roger Ebert and being very disappointed. Ebert claimed that its critical flaw is that the viewer doesn’t know who they are supposed to root for. Apart from being an arbitrary criterion, it’s very clear who you are supposed to root for. After eating an enormous round of Gouda cheese — Roughly 100 times its size — the mouse goes to bed in a little sardine can with a blanket. If that isn’t enough of a clue that you are supposed to root for the mouse, I don’t know what is.
While watching it this time, I kept thinking, “That mouse is just like Jack Sparrow — but better looking!” And when I looked up the film on Wikipedia, I noticed that it was directed by Gore Verbinski, who also directed the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films. Although it works in a different way. Both characters were written to be members of the Bugs Bunny archetype. That was explicitly stated by Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio, who wrote all the Pirates films. And I’m sure that Adam Rifkin, who wrote MouseHunt would say the same thing.
As for my mouse, I fear she may be dead. She has certainly been quiet of late. Of course, she’s always been very polite, so it’s hard to say. She looked quite healthy when I saw her. Living in the house off our scraps ought to be a pretty good living. But lonely, I fear. That may push me to action beyond movie renting.
Well, a couple of days have passed since I wrote that. And I started to see scat. I realized that I had to act. So I went to the store and got two traps. I got a larger one that I was very hopeful about, the Multi-Catch Live Mouse Trap. And I picked up a Tomcat Live Catch Mouse Trap, but I didn’t think much of it. So when I got up this morning, I checked the big trap: nothing. But the Tomcat was closed. So I picked it up and it felt empty. Still, I took it outside and opened the backdoor of the trap…
And there she was! I tipped her out onto the ground and she raced away — fast. The instructions on the box indicated that I should release the mouse two miles away. I didn’t do that. I released her in the front yard. I am still under the impression that we don’t have an infestation, but just a lone mouse who got trapped inside. But I still plan to set the traps out for a few more nights and to be on the lookout for scat. But the adventure appears to be complete.