I pulled out some little used breakfast bars from the rotating shelf of my cupboard the other day to find they had already been enjoyed by small furry things that are not our hamster Marble, who is too nervous to leave his cage, even if you leave the door wide open; forget about going on safari to the kitchen. No, these hooligans had managed to find the only food I haven’t sealed up in a plastic box. After moving to this apartment two years ago, the ne’er-do-well marauders showed up. I’d had mice at my last place, and learned the hard way not to leave unsealed food around. The mice at my other place had also discovered our hamster’s food supply. One night I passed the cage on the way to the bathroom, and saw the hamster running in the wheel, ignoring the startled little hellion tearing around the cage and frantically squeezing himself between the metal bars. As he shot out of the cage, he catapulted into the nearby Kleenex box, and then panicked and ran around blindly in the tissues, while I picked up the box up and sent him on his way to meet his maker. It was like a goddamn miniature Cirque du Soleil.
But when I moved I became lax at the new place and had unsealed food in the cupboard, on my counter, and in my pantry. Once I saw out of the corner of my eye the telltale dark blur dart across my white, tiled kitchen floor, I heaved a sigh, and went about sealing up food, setting the traps, and was ready to resume my mouse-free life in a few weeks.
But this turned out to be the Hell’s Angels gang of mice, with particular tastes. I had followed the advice of my previous exterminator and the online experts and set the traps with peanut butter, the most effective bait, they all assured me. Except if you have a roving gang of hooligans. Then they sit around the trap, laughing at the untouched peanut butter, smoking cigarettes, swigging whisky from a flask, and nibbling on the M&Ms and the chocolate chip cookies they scored from unopened bags.
So I thought I was being clever and began baiting the traps with chocolate, but they had another good laugh at that. They ignored the chocolate and had moved on to terrorizing taco sauce packets and the boxes of juice bags stored away from the other food. At least ten bags had little bite holes slowly leaking out juice everywhere. I started to think these were urban super mice that had escaped from some university lab where they were being bred to taste-test foods for marketing companies. But something had gone horribly wrong and they were roving the streets pillaging, rampaging, and making me feel like Bill Murray’s character in Caddy Shack.
When I told my sister about them, she had even weirder food stories about the mice in her and my brother-in-law’s house in Vermont. Those freaks seemed to have some sort of chemical dependency and chewed through a box of Brillo pads. Then they moved on to an entire bag of honey menthol cough drops. When that source dried up, they needed a bigger high and chewed a hole in a bottle of Clorox. And their big eff you to her was piling a perfect pyramid of sunflower seeds hulls under her pillow in her bed. Mind you her bedroom is on the floor above the utility room where the seeds were stored. No low-class mucking about in the mudroom for these entitled little bastards. They were sitting in her bed, reclining against her pillow and patting their filled bellies, high on Clorox, watching TV, and flicking the clicker, which they also enjoyed chewing on. You can’t tell me these are just animals going on instinct. I think they watch us and then do the things that will piss us off the most.
So how did I get rid of the first round of mice? I put sweet and spicy food near the trap and caught a few stupid young ones that way, and then sealed up everything else. The mouse gang got bored when there was nothing left to laugh at me about and moved on. All was well for two winters until my recent discovery of the telltale nibbles in the only place the last gang was never able to get to–that rotating shelf in the cupboard. God knows how they are getting to it. The shelves don’t touch the walls and then center pole is metal. I think this new gang is some sort of high-tech ninja team, rappelling in with Mission Impossible skills. Like the hooligans, they were also very specific about what they ate. Yes to the Nutri-Grain and Quaker bars, but no to the high-fiber cereal until it was the very last thing I sealed up. Welcome to middle-age you little bastards. I hope you pooped yourself to death.
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