Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Mice Must Die!

Rodents have never been my favorite creatures.  Luckily I've never had to deal with them many times.  I've caught them in inhumane traps that broke their nasty little necks, I've used the sticky traps, and poisoned them with Decon. 

Once I had a bad experience with hamsters.  A couple of months before we moved to Colorado Springs from Texas, our kids were given a couple of hamsters as pets.  There was a male and a female, and both were well up in hamster years.  The kids loved them.  It might have been the change in altitude, or maybe it was just their time to go, but both passed on during the move.  The kids were devistated.  After settling in we took the kids to Pet City to pick out a new pair of rodents.  We asked for either two males or two females.
We wanted a combination that wouldn't reproduce.  "No problem," said the salesman.  He went through the fake motions of checking a few of them, boxed up a couple, and we were on our way.

The kids were happy, and in a few weeks when a litter of babies arrived they were thrilled to have more pets.  The cage filled up rapidly, and finally Teresa made a high rise apartment complex out of hardware cloth to house the ever increasing herd.  By the time summer rolled around they were begining to eat one another in spite of being fed regularly.  Something had to be done.  Thankfully Teresa and the kids went to Texas for a few weeks, leaving me alone with the little cannibals.

I purchased the largest box of Decon available and put a large pile in each cube before going to work.  When I got home I rushed to the garage to view the bodies.  They were running all over the place like little freaky looking puppies.  The Decon energized them and they wanted more.  I dumped them all into a big box and sneaked down the alley until I was behind a house with lots of kids.  I let the little devils go and ran away as fast as I could.  I told the kids they ran away.

In 1979 we moved from Wichita Falls back to Crockett where I'd taken a job with Bennett Equipment Company.  Wayne and Buffy Williams had a rent house on Old Madisonville Highway and offered it to us for a very reasonable rate.  It needed some work done before we could move in, so we found a duplex that rented month to month to give us a place to live while the house was finished.  The couple in the other apartment seemed nice, and at first didn't seem to fear us.

About the third night we were there that all changed.  At 2am Teresa woke me up to say there were mice running about in the kitchen, and suggested I do something about it.  At 2am there aren't many options available to kill mice.  I took the .22 rifle from the closet, loaded it with rat shot, and the battle was on.

I turned on the kitchen light and immediately saw small gray bodies scurrying to safety.  I stood still for a few seconds deciding the best course of action.  A very old electric clock hung on the wall.  The cord was plugged in behind a plastic trash can in the space between the refrigerator and the kitchen cabinet.  The cord appeared to be moving back and forth ever so slightly.  A few seconds later I saw a little nose just above the edge of the can.  I drew a bead on the nose, and when the rest of the head appeared I blasted it all over the wall.  Teresa came running.  She started to say something, but decided to go check on the kids in case the gunfire had disturbed them.

A mouse ran out from under the refrigerator, looked at me, and turned to run.  I shot him before he could make a move.  Another appeared and I slaughtered him as well.  A couple of minutes passed with no sightings.  Just as I was about to grab the paper towels and clean up the goo, another mouse ran by me and into a small hole in the side of the cabinet.  I opened the door, and there he was, hiding behind a bunch of Tupperware against the back wall.  He was moving in and out between the bowls.  I fired several shots before I finally ended his little lice infested life.  I called out to Teresa that they were all dead.

In my mind I had done exactly what I'd been asked to do.  The mice were dead. Job well done.  I figured the Tupperware was just collateral damage which happens occasionally in the heat of battle.  Teresa didn't see it that way at all.  I was mentally preparing my defense, but nothing came to mind that would help my case.  I promised to clean up the mouse guts and buy some more Tupperware.  That was a little over thirty years ago, and I'm going to buy it any day.

The neighbors who had been so outgoing the day before seemed alarmed by our presence.  When we drove up they would gather their kids and run inside.  A month later we moved out.  After everything had been moved I went back to clean up.  Naturally I had my rifle, just in case.  As I made a final pass through the house, a mouse ran across the floor right in front of me.  I got off a couple of shots, but missed.  The mouse ran into the hall closet with me in hot pursuit.  There was a small hole in the wall which probably led to the closet in the other unit.  I stuck the barrel into the hole and fired a couple of shots for good measure. 

Teresa has never asked me to kill a mouse again.  Once she gets that new Tupperware she will cool off.

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