link to the story of the purple tricycle.

15 september 2003 monday

Recently our three western neighbors built a wall/fence all along our western property line. This wall has been the core of a saga which I shall not get into now. The thing is, a while after the wall was finished, we started having mouse sightings in the house. We figure maybe they'd been living up on the overgrown slope between yards that used to be where the wall now is. So, we are now trapping mice. Yes, my parents are killing cute little mice. (sigh.) About eight or nine so far, I think. Peanut butter: a fatal weakness.

Except yesterday.

Mom was sitting at the kitchen table and saw a mouse (or a mouse-sized blur -- critters can really move) shoot from under the sideboard across a patch of floor and disappear under a cabinet door, and simultaneously heard a SNAP from the trap that had been set in that cabinet. Now, these traps are little plastic jaw-shaped thingies with the bait inside, and when a mouse trips the bait, the jaws close SNAP-- dead mouse. But this mouse was moving so fast that he/she... it... ran smack into the trap so far that the closing jaws swallowed it all up except for its tail.

Looking at the situation, we noted that the mouse was not dead, and didn't seem badly hurt even -- no blood or anything. Just completely stuck inside the trap.

We didn't want to just let it starve, but none of us have the stomach for killing critters ourselves, personally, except certain bugs (SILVERFISH MUST DIE -- they eat books and photos). I even try to put spiders outside if they're not too scary (if they are, I just try to pretend I never saw them). We decided to let the mouse go, somewhere far enough away that it wouldn't find its way back.

While we were figuring out what to do, Dad put the mouse into an old empty peanut butter jar and set it on a shelf by the garage, where the mouse quietly hyperventilated for several minutes, alternately jumping up to hit the top of the jar when it thought no one was looking, to no avail.

valiant interloper, in temporary quarters, quietly freaking the f* 

I suggested the wild slopes of the hill below Rocketship Park, where there is plenty of non-backyard overgrown space reasonably similar to our little slope, the suspected mousely origin. So Dad and I drove up there, and hiked down the slope a little ways from the park, aiming not to dump the mouse directly into someone else's backyard, until we got near a sort of clump of little trees.

captive on the verge of freedom.

We opened the jar and I set it down sideways, and after a moment of dawning comprehension, the mouse made a great running leap into the sand at the edge of a clump of iceplant, and after a glance or two around and back in our direction, scrabbled around a bit and disappeared.

somewhat foggy/hazy suburbia, down below a weedy slope.

The view from the slope where mouse now lives, I hope.

Contradictory behavior on our parts, perhaps, but it's not like any of us enjoy the idea of killing the mice to start with. I felt the mouse had "earned" the right to live by besting our trap (however accidentally).

I hope its tail was OK. (though this tale is not nearly as entertaining as Mr. Hodge's mouse story.)

copyright 2003 carrie lynn king. wakey wakey