I thought I was “losing it.” Sitting on my couch watching the TV, I kept getting eye flashes. Did something just move by me? No, I thought, just a passing car’s headlights reflecting off my wall or just a speck of dirt on my glasses and when I turn in a certain direction it appears to move. I started to feel like I was having a Twilight Zone moment. Seeing things that weren’t really there – or were they? “Submitted for your consideration, one Dennis D, a 60 odd year old male who lives alone with no one to confirm or deny his claims. Experiencing what could be described as an aberration, a visitation, or the advent of dementia. The answer lays somewhere between the depths of his fears and the summit of his imagination. A place we call The Twilight Zone.”
One night it became clear. I was not losing my mind, being visited by unworldly entities, or slowly sinking into insanity. A mouse appeared, across the room next to the stereo speaker. He regarded me with a cold look with those lifeless black eyes daring me, taunting me, challenging me to do something about his presence.
I began to think about ways to get rid of him. Not that I minded his presence, kind of like a pet, but vermin have been known to carry disease. Can you say plague? He must live behind my bookcase because that is where I usually spot him. He is faster than lightning, just a slight move on my part and he quickly disappears.
I became aware of his habits. He stalks around all times of day and night. He must suffer insomnia, as I do. The first thing that came to mind was a mouse trap. However, I read how they literally cut off the head of a mouse. I certainly didn’t want to be regarded as the Madame Defarge of the mouse kingdom. The next choice was poison. Such a noble way to go out, just as Socrates or any member of Heinrich Himmler’s family did. Additionally, poison does not work right away. The varmint could consume it but run off to die somewhere else and you are left to find him by following the smell of a decomposing mouse. Then I thought of those sonic devices that produce a sound that only animals can hear and that is so annoying it drives them away. However, seeing the swagger of this critter, I guessed he’d just wait outside until I turned it off and then he would re-enter.
Then I knew I was dealing with a formidable opponent. So I adjusted my thinking. I referred to “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu, which says the better you know your enemy the easier it is to defeat him. So I decided to study him more. All the while, I wondered what and where he was eating. Now I don’t have the cleanest house in the world, but I do my best. I knew there was no food in the living room where I first spotted him, nor in the bedroom where I saw him scamper. I decided he must be feasting in the kitchen. Upon checking I found no evidence of him being there. The counter tops were clean and free of any mouse droppings. It wasn’t until one night when I wanted some soup that I made a discovery. I reached for the package that held five ramen soups in the pantry, only to find it completely empty save for the foil flavor packets. So I added up what I knew about him: 1. He’s quick, 2. He’s bold, 3. He has insomnia, 4. He likes Chinese food.
I tried to develop a game plan. At first I thought about turning on the Disney Channel 24 hours a day. Let him see what a good life Mickey and Minnie have, then he would get jealous and head out for the coast. But I realized he doesn’t watch the TV. Speaking of which, does anyone know what Goofy is? He looks like a dog, but so does Pluto. Goofy talks, wears clothes, walks on two legs, even drives a car. Pluto doesn’t do any of those things. So what the hell is Goofy? Anyway, I decided on some other action to deal with my mouse.
Then I thought perhaps I was addressing the situation all wrong. Instead of regarding my little rodent as an enemy or as an invader, I would see him as a guest. My plan was simple. After some time here I would move to a place that would be just a very short sprint away from a 24 hour Chinese Restaurant, perhaps 100 yards, then one evening after he went out for dinner, I would move back to my home – hoping that he wouldn’t find me again. Now the idea of passing off my problem to someone else was somewhat troubling to me, but I knew I would get over it. Finally I thought I had hit on the ultimate solution. I would adopt him as a pet. I could fashion a tiny little collar out of a rubber band and a leash from a shoelace. I could pretend to train him. I would then post a sign on my door claiming to have a “Watch Mouse on Duty” protecting my property. This would deter burglars but might attract many curious onlookers, one of which would kidnap (or mouse-nap) him. However, he and I never even talk. So my dilemma continued. It has now reached the level of the other unresolved paradoxes of the universe. As I stated at the beginning: “I thought I was losing it.”
While I was writing this story, the mouse dashed from the living room into the kitchen, probably looking for some more soup. I have since moved any food he could get into to higher ground. I have a portable dishwasher, about twice the size of a microwave. It sits upon the countertop. It has 2 hoses that connect to the water faucet of the sink. They are however lower than the sink, so I am left with some slack in them and therefore I get a small amount of water in them which I drain into an empty pot. It is only a small amount of water, so I usually do 3 or 4 loads of dishes before I empty it. Well as I discovered later, the mouse somehow climbed or fell into the pot and drowned. I do not have any remorse for him; in fact I found it to be funny. Here I was coming up with elaborate and detailed plans to rid myself of him and he goes and commits suicide. Perhaps He found living with me more unpleasant than I found living with him. The irony hit me like a brick.