This time, instead of the usual (and heart-stoppingly terrifying) waterbugs, we have mice. Cute, teensy-tiny mice. Adorable, filthy, plague-laden mice. So wee! Really, they wouldn’t wig me out overly, if I didn’t think of the hanta virus every time I spotted one making a run for the dog food. And when they’re sitting still, it’s one thing, but usually they’re rushing past. Scurrying, scuttling—any of these motions cause my limbs to flail about as I squeal girlishly. Why is this, that the tiny running things cause one to scream and scream and scream? Also! The noises. The skritchy scrabbly noises. In the walls. Like they’re playing soccer with the skulls of their ancestors. And sometimes—sometimes we hear them gnawing. Gnawing at the plaster, so they can get out. And eat our brains.
We put out a trap. They ignored it. If I leave the dog food unattended for more than a minute, one of them is making a play for it, but leave a hunk of American cheese out all night and the mice decide to exert some self-control. Or else they’re onto us. Actually the day after we left the trap out, the mice disappeared for a while. Then they came back, because they’re stupid and also, mmm, delicious Iams Mini-Chunks. No rodent can resist it.
Then I had to kill one. The dog was sniffing at something in the corner, and there was a quarter-sized baby mouse tangled up in some wires. It was shaking violently. How could my heart not melt? Poor little disease carrier, I wept. I wept softly, because Henry was a foot away, playing with his Star Wars guys. I tried to free it from its prison. I just wanted it to go back to its hidey-hole, back where it could grow up and live to freak me out. But it wouldn’t budge, and it looked sick, and also, technically, we’re enemies. I had a job to do. So as Henry engaged thrusters and activated the launch sequence and kissed Darth Vader full on the lips (he really likes Darth Vader), I nudged the mouselet into a container, tipped the container into a bag, held the bag as far away from me as I could, and told Henry we had to go outside right then! To throw something out! Something gross!
This got his attention. “What is it? It’s gross? What is it?” And for some reason I said, “Charlie pooped. Charlie pooped in the house, and I have to throw it out right now,” and Henry said, “That’s gross,” and actually followed me out the door and down the stairs, all the while talking to himself about how gross that was, pooping in the house, wow, that is really really gross. And then before I could think about what I was doing, I said to Henry, “Okay, don’t mind what I’m going to do right now,” and lifted the bag high and slammed it against the side of the building (rest in peace, poor little mousie) and if you live in Brooklyn and you were walking past right then and you heard a boy asking his mother, “Why did you hit the house with the poop?” now you know what that meant. You’re welcome.