I know someone, somewhere will find this story offensive. However, I’m pretty sure it won’t be someone who lives in the country!
Life in the country is wonderful! Yet, it comes with a few unavoidable downsides. One of these is the guarantee that every fall, field mice will decide their pantry is running low and the heater is on the blink. So, they’ll venture into my heated home and fully stocked pantry! Because of this, my pantry is populated by several million airtight glass jars.
Normally, we don’t face the invasion until October. But, recent flooding has driven the nasty little critters inside early. I’ll be honest. I. Hate. Mice. If you’re picturing Jerry lounging in a martini glass with an olive and a bow tie, I’ll assume you’ve never had a mouse in your house. They’re destructive, dirty, and they carry leptospirosis.
Leptospirosis is a nasty bacteria, which attacks the kidneys. It can be carried through mouse bites, but also through their droppings. There’s a vaccine for dogs, but (apart from the eeeewwww gross factor) it can also affect humans. So, for several reasons, we wage full-scale war on mousey invaders!
…the Sword of Damocles was a Bowie Knife!
We knew there was a mouse. We had seen the…ahem, evidence. Traps had been set. Each morning, we raced to see if the nasty little varmint had breathed his last. We jerked open the pantry door and saw (insert dramatic pause and gasp here)…the floor littered with sprung traps…no corpse…no cheese…and no peanut butter. Oh! The frustration! The unfairness!! The creeped-out cooties-on-the-skin skeeviness of it all!
This mouse was the James Bond of rodents! He could spring the trap, steal the bait, and slip away leaving tiny germ-laden bombs in his wake! Each day brought a new layer of infectious frustration! We switched traps. We switched baits. We gutted the room and cleaned every corner, still no relief from the Rodento Bandito!
Then…I needed to roast chicken for canning. When I can, it’s a LOT of chicken (25 creepy meats). So, every roaster was pressed into service. Grace dug out the two big enamel turkey roasters from the pantry. I was explaining that they needed to be washed (okay, sanitized) with special care, due to the Bandito. She sat the roasters ON MY KITCHEN ISLAND and obediently turned to run dishwater. Without warning, the furry little creep leaped out of a roaster and landed ON MY KITCHEN ISLAND!!!
The germy invader hit the island running! He made a mad leap off the edge and dashed for the living room. Grace, Jonah, and I went in hot pursuit! Bandito ran beneath the loveseat. Grace grabbed Nemo (the kitten) and Jonah grabbed Celt (the excellent barn cat) and pushed them under the seat. Three seconds later, there was a mass exodus from beneath my settee!
The mouse raced for the chair opposite and the confused, but excited kitten chased it. Celt the Mighty Hunter? He gave us all a disdainful look, as if to say “Your house, your problem” and sauntered off in the opposite direction.
Nemo and Bandito disappeared beneath the armchair. We heard a scuffle and a squeak. Suddenly, the mouse was thrown sideways!
He She It slid about four inches in front of the chair and came to rest on its side.
Without warning, we were witness to a scene from a 1930’s horror movie! A single disembodied gray and white paw reached blindly from the darkness. It unerringly grabbed the panting rodent and dragged it under the skirt of the chair.
A few seconds later, the shocked stillness was broken by a few squeaks. The mouse came running out! Like lightning, it ran straight for Grace and I. We both jumped back and made noises which, if the hearer didn’t know us, might have sounded like squeals. I wish to note that Grace and I are hardened farm girls. Farm girls are tough and stoic! Farm girls DO NOT SQUEAL! (However, we were both barefooted and the nasty little monster ran right by our feet. I defy anyone to be silent when a germy creepy rodent almost touches their naked foot!)
Rodento Bandito, undeterred by the NOT-squealing, dove under an endtable and disappeared. The kitten lost his mind! He raced under the table, beneath the couch, around the loveseat mewing loudly for his lost prey. Unfortunately, the bandito had made good his escape. We were reduced to scrubbing the island with Lysol, glaring at Celt who was sprawled disinterestedly on the den rug, and resetting traps.
Two days later…
I was piddling around outside when Jonah stuck his head out and asked, “Are you okay with your son butchering enemies on the pantry shelves?” Now, even in my not quite Leave It to Beaver-esque household, this is an odd question. So, I asked for clarification. I was told I needed to speak to Sam if I wanted the “gory details”. What you read below is Sam’s account of the Murder in the Pantry Express. (Although, I support his plea of justifiable homicide!)
Well, I saw the mouse a few times, when I was cleaning the kitchen. I noticed it had made a highway between the parmesan and the bread crumbs. I tried putting a trap there, but it was sprung just like the others. So, I started watching when I went in the pantry. I’d turn off the light and leave the door ajar. This let him feel brave enough to come out, but I could run in quick with no noise.
I went in a few minutes ago, flashed on the lights, and there he sat! He was right between the parmesan and the bread crumbs looking shocked! I thought about grabbing him, but I didn’t wanna get bitten. So, I just pulled my knife and stabbed him.
Sam looked at me sideways, as if he was expecting me to chew him out. He continued in a rush: It was really quick! Seriously, it was quicker than one of the traps. Oh, and there was hardly any blood. I cleaned the shelf. I ‘Lysol-ed’ it and everything to make sure you weren’t too skeeved out. Okay?… Mama, Okay??…Mama?…….Mama?!?…………Uh, are you okay?
Back to my side of the story…
What in the world do you say to that?!? Holy cow? Good job? How disgusting? I just stood with my mouth agape. Finally, I managed, “You really killed a mouse with your Bowie knife?” Sam nodded. “You really cleaned and disinfected the shelves?” Sam nodded. “You disposed of the victim?” Sam nodded. Slowly, I nodded. Then, I mumbled, “Holy cow! You must be really fast! Um, I think I need tea.” Sam nodded. (It was a smugly amused nod.)
Some days, my life is a little strange….
We’re pleased to report that after a final cleaning, there have been no new leptospirosis laden bombs found in our home. However, combat engineers will continue daily sweeps until further notice. Sam has been christened with a variety of nicknames ranging from ‘Jim’ (Bowie) to ‘Deadeye’ to ‘Ye great and mighty mouse slayer’.
Leave me a comment if you have the time! If you’re pro mouse-rights, leave an address. I’ll be happy to post the next pantry invader to you next-day delivery! 😉
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