Blog entry

Of Mice And Men

song of the day: Caught A Lite Sneeze / Tori Amos
word of the day: Custron / A scullion; a base-born fellow; a rogue

well i've murdered another mouse.

yesterday i came out to the studio and found the little guy kicking and squeeking trying to get free from the plastic stick-trap i'd set out for him the day before, carefully stocked with a slab of chocolate. that makes three dead mice this week, all my doing. i'm a fairly gentle person by nature, but i have accrued a bit of mouse-karma this time around. much of it unintentional, the rest of it under duress. the mice get into my studio, and crawl up into the cabinet where i keep my daughters toys, snacks, and clothes, and they eat her snacks and then shit all over toys and clothes. i don't want to kill them, but given a choice between me being a mice murderer or my daughter wearing turds and playing in poop, i'm going to go with murder. and so last week after finding mice shit in her food and personal items, i got out the mouse traps but this latest round of executions has me reconsidering my method. we used to use the spring traps around here, but i couldn't find any, and while digging around in the shed i found a bunch of sticky traps i'd bought a long time ago. they're your basic flat piece of plastic with a very, very sticky substance covering the top. don't touch that sticky stuff when deploying the traps, or you have a six inch rectangle barnacle to contend with until the skin over the affected area dries up, dies, and drops off. what i'd forgotten about the plastic traps is just how long a mouse will live on one of those things. of course they don't just die because they're stuck. they get tortured. they break their little legs trying to get out, and spend hours and hours in a futile struggle to literally save their lives, shitting all over in the process. it's a slow process, but any death that isn't instantaneous is a slow process. i had been blissfully ignorant of this aspect of the sticky trap, because in my desire to imagine a more humane conclusion, the last two times i'd discovered mice in the sticky traps, they were already dead. like any denial-addicted dick, i guess i allowed myself to assume they'd just gotten stuck and died right there, although there wasn't an ounce of rational evidence to support that conclusion, since they were already dead i was free to imagine their passing however i preferred. seeing their tiny little bodies all stretched out in the dramatic poses of their last moments in the world, it was as though i'd discovered a little Mouse Pompeii, that i'd simply been the archeological sleuth to uncover this tragic ending. because sometimes nature creates these macabre musuems, perfectly preserved figures captured in their death throes, the hapless victims of larger forces. i've heard that sometimes bodies wash up on the shore of Lake Superior, in wonderful condition- save their expiration- after years or decades of being dead, because they'd been resting at the bottom of the lake, in the World's biggest fresh water freezer. but these mice were not such a case. they hadn't been buried under a cataclysmic eruption, nor the victims of a romantic ship wreck, i just tricked them into walking onto the deadly stick pad like any animal would when tempted with the finest chocolate Boulder Co-op has to offer. i was just doing what cigarette and alcohol companies do every day, hypnotizing innocents with the allure of sensual delights, inching them out on the plank ever closer to the final plummet where they will literally fall right out of their own bodies forever. the difference was, i was not being payed to do it. my motivation was pre-emptive, i was killing mice in order to prevent them from eating my daughter's snacks and then shitting all over her toys and clothes, a more presidential stance, i am simply eradicating those who have the potential (if not the means) to harm me or what i perceive to be my interests.

i don't really care that they eat her snacks. who can blame them? there's enough to go around and i'm more than happy to share with locals. but when you do #2 on my baby girl's stuff, it is not only unsanitary and unsightly, it seriously jeapordizes her health. and mice don't just take a dump in a big pile and move on, they excrete an endless necklace of brown jewels, each one packed with bacteria and viruses that would love nothing better than to make the jump to a human host. and mice are notoriously unresponsive to bargaining. i'd so much rather leave them alone, i'm ready to offer conciliatory treats. take the food, but don't shit on my daughter's stuff. you're not listening... you're still shitting on... now i have to kill you.

but i'm a lazy executioner, and lazy is cruel. if i were really in contact with the experience of the mouse, i would only use the spring traps, which kill instantaneously. but there were none to be found, and rather then spend an hour going to the hard ware store to get some, i went with what i had. first two mice i killed were dead when found. but this last one, he lasted. i couldn't bring myself to just stomp on him, knowing if i did the dead mouse and the chocolate and the entire sticky panel would become firmly affixed to the bottom of my foot. seeing the little bugger struggle, i considred how to best dispose of him and wondered why i had extended so much goddamn effort to mice in my life.

once while staying up at my brother's place in norther minnesota, i was sleepign out in the wooden cabin guest house, and was being kept awake by a little mouse scurrying around. i had no earplugs (which i usually travel with) and this little fucker was hopped up on some mouse coke, he was as over-active as they come, annoying like a four legged Crispen Glover on amphetamines. after -i kid you not- HOURS of this incessant chewing, scratching, digging, scratching, chewing, i finally got up, turned on all the lights and went to work. this is back in the day when i didn't have a daughter, and was a much bigger new age pussy who didn't want to kill things for sport, so i took the only available object -a 2 foot long alluminum tube with a six inch opening on both ends- and set to trapping the mouse. it was ridiculous, 4 o'clock in the morning and i was darting about trying to capture the rodent without harming it, no small task considering the stove and furniture in the room obstructed every good angle. after about 30 minutes, i finally got him. in a moment of fatigue, he had stopped to rest in a corner, and what must have seemed to him like the biggest silver tongue he'd ever seen came plunging from above and in a blink he was ensconced, unharmed in my cylinder compassion. grateful i would finally get some sleep, i carefully took a magazine and slid it under the tube, and slowly raised the entire assembly and made my way to the door, proud to have taken so much time and concern to get rid of my fellow creature without hurting him at all. i was such a fucking awesome practitioner! pride, pride. balancing the long tube with one hand, i bumped the door open with my butt, and turned around to set my diminutive captive free. my plan was to tilt the metal tube down toward the ground, and slide him out the far end of the tube, gently tumbling him onto the ground, and in his brief disorientation, i would pop back inside, shut the door, with the mouse on the outside, and the human on the inside, like God intended. as i began to lower the tube parallel to the ground, and then a little bit lower, i didn't feel the mouse sliding out the tube, so in the midst of the motion, i tried to help the process along by swinging the tube out farther, to give him a good launch, but in the darkness and in my sleepiness, i swung the tube a bit too hard, and the entire assembly went flying. for about one full second the magazine, the metal cylinder, and the mouse were all in the air at the same time, and in the light of the full moon it was, every so briefly, a beautiful sight. the moon light reflected off the shiny silver of the tube, the magazine made the fluttering sound of a startled quayle, and the mouse tumbled end over end in the air like a little sky diver embarking on a free-fall adventure. he seemed freer than ever! but the next thing, it all flipped. what were the odds? first the mouse hit the ground and was mildly stunned- just as i'd planned, but then, right after him, the razor-sharp edge of the big metal tube came down sqaurely on his kneck like a guillotine and snapped it like the fragile twig it was. aghast and a tad titillated, i ran to the mouses side, and nudged him with the magazine. nothing remained but a limp, lifeless carcass: "dead on impact" i thought to myself, suddenly imagining i was a sociopathic zoological coroner with multiple personality disorder investigating a murder i had also committed. "who would do such a thing?" i ironically pondered...

years later, the hideous riddle still unanswered, i tower over yet another adorable furry victim, stretched across the super sticky contraption that was his ultimate demise, his little mouse paw only centimeters from that sweet, rich chocalate that tempted him away from his body. i bite my lower lip, knowing somewhere in a grassy field, there are is a burrow of little mice-children and a mouse-wife wondering when mouse-daddy will be home with mouse-dinner. and i'm the one who's gonna have to pick up that goddamned miniature mouse-phone and break this mouse-news to the grief stricken. "hi little fella, can i talk to your mouse-momma? oh, what, you say she's out looking for your mouse-daddy? well, when she comes home tell her that her mouse-spouse -that's right, your mouse-DADDY- has been brutally mouse-murdered. yes, it was a sticky trap. chocalate. i'm sorry little buddy... no, no -i'm sorry, as a matter of fact we don't have any suspects at this time. we just... we don't know... who would do such a thing".

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