Rat Catcher

by Sandra

We had a little visitor in the house the other day.  A mouse we named Morris.

It was Wednesday night, my roommates and I were all at the dining room table, eating the aformentioned ice cream.  It was late and Michelle announced that she had to go to bed, but the conversation stretched out inevitably longer.  Suddenly, Elizabeth’s eyes grew very wide and she said “okay, don’t turn around if you’re not a fan of things of the rat/rodent variety.”

Of course, we all turned around.  She pointed to the corner, behind the cooler sitting at the edge of the dining room.  I start picturing Rodents of Unusual Size, but as we stared at the corner long enough, a small brown mouse scurried along the floorboards to the opposite end of the room, to behind the wine cabinet.

Suddenly the room was a flurry of activity.  Michelle and Christina started “barricading” the room, more for their peace of mind than for keeping the mouse out of the rest of the house.  But Elizabeth — wow — I had never seen her move so fast.  Soon the couch was moved and all the bottles of wine were taken out of the cabinet.  She was on a mission to catch this thing.   I know that if it had been just me in the house, I would have maybe yawned and said “well, we’ll go buy traps in the morning,” gone to sleep and been done with it.  Honestly I wanted to go curl up in bed and let the other three take care of it.  It seemed ridiculous to chase down a mouse — they’re so small and squirrely and lumbering humans are not nearly a match.  But it was clear, this mouse was going to be taken care of that night, no doubt.  So I stayed.

Paper grocery sacks were put on either side of the cabinet with the idea that when Morris was scared out from under the cabinet, that it would run into the sack and deposited outside.  A bit of cheese was even placed at the opening to entice him (her?) into the bag — to no avail.  I sat atop the couch, watching Eliz in her showdown with the rodent, going back and forth across the room a few times.  Suddenly the mouse landed under the couch. 

“Move around a little bit,” I was ordered. 

I shifted my weight and bounced around a bit and a shriek went up as the mouse ran out right into Elizabeth’s face, through the slip-shod barricade and almost before anyone saw where it went, slipped into the hallway coat closet.

Trapped.  Finally.

Amazing how trashed the room had gotten so quickly.  Boxes were put under the door to keep the mouse in the closet.  Christina and Michelle drove to Ralph’s to buy mouse traps and Eliz pulled up a chair and a magazine, guarding the door in case Morris showed his little brown face, as I put things back in order in the dining room — organizing the wine cabinet by champagne, red and white.  Who knew we had so much booze in our house.

Morris ultimately met his end in that dark closet.  I’ll spare you the gory details, ’cause thankfully I was spared them myself.  Eliz, I think we may have found a new occupation for you if the artist/librarian thing doesn’t work out. 🙂  She’s a trooper that girl.  She said last night that one of her strengths is command, and boy when she feels like she needs to get something done, so does it, apparently!  I was amazed and the speed and ulitity she deployed in taking control of the situation — a situation that I figured was too broad and difficult to take care of then.

There are photos, somewhere, in case we need to ever show our landlord.  I won’t post them.  However, if you want to hear another story about chasing rodents around the house, you should listen to this episode of This American Life, entitled First Days and wait for the story “Squirrel Cop.”  Stand by as hilarity enuses.