Marty rushed out the door this morning with one instruction, “Figure out how to get that mouse.” He grinned because he knew any mouse, dead or alive, had the power to transform me into a screaming idiot.
He looked at my terrified face and apologized, “I'm sorry,” he said, “but I have to be in London today.” He kissed me and was gone.
The kids followed him out, off to their various schools. I was alone, except for the mouse which I could hear scratching under the dishwasher.
This mouse had eluded us for days. Michelle had sighted its tail disappearing under the fridge early one morning. She called it a rat.
On the kitchen floor we set a trap with a hunk of cheese. He robbed it. The next night we tried peanut butter. He licked it clean.
Last night we tried cheese again. This morning the trap was gone and we could hear the scratching. When I listened carefully, I could also hear the little steel bar dangle and click against the wood of the trap. I didn't relish spending the day with a dying mouse.
I cautiously shone a flashlight under the dishwasher. Then with a fork taped to an old curtain rod I warily pulled out a pine cone, and a variety of coloured balls. I still couldn't see the mouse or the trap. The scratching continued.
I turned on the loaded dishwasher and tried to forget the mouse. An hour later I unloaded the clean dishes. The scratching continued.
Then I noticed three screws holding the dishwasher to the counter top. I unscrewed them and tugged at the machine. It rolled easily toward me. My stomach churning, I desperately wished for someone to come to my rescue.
I decided to just take a peek and then quickly shove the dishwasher back in place until a braver person (like Marty) came along. I eased the machine completely out from under the counter and peered behind it. There was nothing there. I started to relax. Then I heard the wooden trap dragging. I screamed. A mouse no bigger than my thumb scampered across the kitchen floor with a trap attached to his very long tail.
I escaped to the family room, hyperventilating and chatting inanely to myself. The mouse fled under the fridge but the trap, a little too large, wedged at the fridge door.
Amanda would be coming home from junior kindergarten in half an hour and here was a mouse with his tail in a trap blocking the way to the refrigerator. Our lunch was in there.
I cringed and gasped and tried to calm my pounding heart. The hairs on my arms were standing straight up.
I tried to think logically. What could be the worse case scenario? That the mouse escape? No, that I die of fright.
I carefully squeezed the barbecue tongs around the trap. Then I pulled the trap, mouse and all, across the floor. His little legs gyrated futilely as he tried to run the other way. I got him out across the deck and onto the grass. I dropped a rock on the trap. I'd let Marty deal with him later.
For me, mice are like sin. I absolutely need a Saviour.
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