We’ve always known we had mice. We’ve found their crap in the shed (which is in the process of being turned into a study with an amazing view). There was some synchronicity in having mice in the shed (er, I mean studio), because I have been in the final stages of writing my first novel, titled Sam Mouse, about, well, a mouse. Called Sam.
As I finished up the first draft of Sam Mouse, the mice in the studio stopped visiting. I liked the symbolism. As I hit save on the first draft, I felt that perhaps, it was time for me to move on to a non-rodent affiliated project, and likewise, the mice had decided that it was time for them to move on to somewhere else.
A couple of weeks ago I sent the final draft to be edited and two days ago I started talking to the graphic designer about cover art.
On the same day that I started speaking to the graphic designer, my wife saw a mouse. A mouse in our sun room. Scurrying right next to the play mat and toys for our seven month old son. In broad daylight. While my parents were here and people were moving around the house.
A bold mouse indeed.
So I set a trap. And felt guilty. Surely it was bad luck to kill a mouse in a house while writing a novel about a mouse in a house?
Within a few minutes of setting the trip, I heard a snap from the sun room, and sure enough, there was one less mouse in the world. I did feel bad, but if it were to be done, it best be done quick!
But the next day, Claire discovered signs of another mouse. In the main house. The kitchen to be precise. This was serious. So serious that there were threats of buying a dachshund. (apparently a dachshund is one of the best mice hunting dogs there is).
I love dogs. But a dedicated micer? On top of the three dogs we already had? Who would be pickup up the dog poo? How often do Daschunds poo? No, I needed to do something about this mouse, otherwise I’d be picking up Daschund poo for 15 years, all because of one mouse.
A trip to Bunnings provided a range of options from total lethality to humane. I opted for a mix of options, allowing me to escalate the conflict as required.
That night I laid a mix of traps around the house and settled in to watch some TV with Claire. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a dark brown flash running near the TV. I was torn. Should I say something? But from the look on my face, Claire already knew what I’d seen.
“You saw a mouse didn’t you?” she asked.
“Well, I can’t be sure…maybe it was just my eyes playing tricks…” I replied
But I don’t think I sounded confident enough, and Claire knows me to well to be fooled.
So with the help of a torch, I peered behind the cupboard and found a little pair of eyes twinkling back at me. A very tiny dark brown mouse was hiding behind the TV cabinet.
So I repositioned a trap, and the Claire and I sat in ambush. It wasn’t long until the little chap emerged, sniffing around. He scurried over to the trap, and before our eyes, proceeded to ever-so delicately nibble the bait off the trap.
I was torn. On the one hand, I wanted him gone. On the other hand, I was already beginning to admire his boldness. Did I really want to see him die violently while I watched? Much to our relief, he ate all the bate and then continued his exploration.
So we decided to offer him an escape route. Peace with honour. We built a complex series of baffles from cardboard and other items, designed to channel Mr Mouse out the front door. A veritable Mouse Maginot Line.
With some prodding with a stick, Mr Mouse bolted from his safety and into the no-mans land defined by our wall…and without any hesitation he darted for the one hole in the Great Wall of Cardboard, and back into the house. Except he was so fast that we lost him. After moving every piece of furniture to find him, we decided to call in Kira, the three legged, partially senile and toothless Stafford shire terrier. But ultimately she proved useless. Choosing to sit wheezing and huffing and staring at the pantry. Maybe the mouse was in there…but so too was a lot of food a dogs would like to eat.
So we retired for the night, leaving traps set all around the lounge room, and Kira standing guard (well, sleeping guard).
During the night Claire woke me to check the traps because she could hear scratching. I couldn’t find anything, and Kira lay dozing without any indication that she had detected a mouse. But I couldn’t get back to sleep, because now I could hear scratching as well. Another check showed the Mr Mouse had wandered into my ‘Big Cheese Industrial Capacity Live Capture (Holds up to 10 Mice!!!)’ trap. I put the trap outside and went back to bed.
In the morning, I promised Claire, Mr Mouse, myself and a stick would have discussion…I promised to be quick and humane about it, and Claire agreed that Mr Mouse needed to go to the Big Cheese Wheel in the Sky.
However, in the morning, after Claire and the kids had seen Mr Mouse, realised how cute he was, we changed our minds, and the decision was made to take a stroll and let Mr Mouse go in a nearby field, as long as he solemnly promised to become a field mouse never come back to the house again.
As I watched Mr Mouse scurry off, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit impressed by Mr Mouse’s resilience and cunning, and I was glad he was alive.
And just maybe,this is a good omen for my book.
Fingers crossed on the final edit and cover production for Sam Mouse! I hope you enjoy the fields Mr Mouse!
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