|Thumbprint Mice by Nathan Pitts NOLA Street Artist|
Growing up I had a pet mouse that lived in a bird cage. I hung it from the ceiling and left the door open so it could climb out and run across the top of the curtain. I figured he had some freedom that way.
In middle school I picked my friends based entirely on who also liked mice. We were an artsy bunch. The kind of free-range kids allowed mice in bird cages.
Once a mouse ran across the kitchen. I screamed bloody murder and jumped onto a chair. Everyone got all FOR THE LOVE OF LIGHT YOU KEEP ONE IN YOUR ROOM!
Excuse me, not a wild savage one. Mine curled up in your hand and gave you beady but loving looks. He kept his fur nice and soft and elegant. We're talking a refined City Mouse. NOT a plague-carrying rodent.
Culture is important when it comes to mice.
Once my pet mouse climbed down the curtain. He jumped onto my bed, curled up on my neck, and attempted to nest there in a bit of my hair. This is the part where I woke up. This is also the part where my inner-assassin awoke. In my sleepy confusion I grabbed him and threw him.
Fortunately he landed in that pile of clothes I kept scattered on the floor. You'll be happy to know Misobruh was fine. Maybe not as happy because I closed his cage door after that.
Flash forward a couple light-years. We had a house in the wilds outside of Dallas. One morning I opened the dishwasher and there was a FREAKING MOUSE sitting on top the mugs on the top shelf. I shouted for my mad scientist husband. He came and shut the dishwasher door and TURNED IT ON.
Don't worry, Dishwasher Mouse was fine. He was sitting there every time we opened the dishwasher for days. Hubby promised he'd take care of it.
He put out mouse traps.
Nooooooo, don't kill them! I argued, can't you just catch them and put them outside? Nooooo, he said. They'll just come back inside! No they won't, I insisted, mice are smart. At that moment a couple traps snapped closed. SNAP SNAP.
"What's going on?"
"I think we have a mouse problem." SNAP SNAP SNAP
Oh, no! Yes, we had more than Dishwasher Mouse to worry about! The traps were going off in the pantry and the kitchen closet and when hubby opened those doors, mice came running out in broad daylight.
I helped by screaming before gathering my wits. MORE TRAPS, DEATH TO ALL MICE.
I've read about the plague. Supposedly those Texas mice still carry it. I have kids. The choice came easy. And just that quickly I flipped into a rodent murderer. Let's not even get started on ticks. That's another blog post. Also, to further make all decisions fifty shades of grey, Lyme carrying deer ticks originate in mouse nests.
After leaving Texas I moved here to The Shire. There are ticks and mice and deer everywhere.
Now I PAY someone else to kill mice for me. Yes, hate can always get worse. I'm aware of internet judgement for the annihilation of pestilence carrying rodents. I invite you to walk a mile in (or live in) the country and then we'll talk. Even as we speak there is an owl in my attic. I kid you not. He hoots all day long directly above my office.
Said owl also poos from the ledge where a ventilation fan should have kept his feathery backside OUT of my attic. He perches right there and excretes splashes of owl doo down the side of the house and all over the ground directly outside the window where I work all day (and half the night).
Don't get your undies in a twist. I would not harm an owl. He is going to be evicted though. Once I figure out how. If I find piles of owl pellets up there I'll let you know. The pellets are those furry balls they yak back up after eating. It's popular to dissect those suckers in science class to see how many critter skeletons you can identify.
At least an owl might keep the mouse population down. Right? Reporting from the bright side here. Hey, it's kinda organic. Right?
All of my former mouse love has now moved to possums. Rumor has it that they eat ticks.
Keep in mind that I still love and will always love hypothetical Disney-ish mice, like the ones in the painting above and Angelina Ballerina by Katharine Holabird. As I often say, fantasy is always better than reality. That is the motto of this fiction writer. Go ahead and throw yourself on the mercy of the court in the comments section, but I'm only going to listen if you too live in the country and deal daily. It's that whole man in the arena theory. That's my other writerly motto.