DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME
I purchase pepper spray over the Internet. In the order box I select the visor clip-on model. I don’t care if I save 50 cents if it comes by ground. Just send it.
That mouse living behind our stove is going to receive the shock of its life. Since it has been so clever about avoiding the glue traps and the traditional ones baited with peanut butter, I will wage all-out war. The mouse that Pinky chased up the hall has been lodged, first under the refrigerator, and then behind the stove.
Each night I have been moving the cat chow and water dish to another room. This has been self-delusion. The mouse will roam anywhere it wants. And it does, for Pinky lets me know the mouse is now behind Renato’s couch. That is when I order the pepper spray.
The instructions are simple: point at attacker at three feet distance and spray. Effects last 45 minutes.
I pull the couch out a foot and make sure that Pinky is outside the door, which I leave slightly ajar. To her mind, ajar is not wide enough to slip through and she will wait until someone comes to open the door properly.
On my hands are oven mitts, which will be demoted to mouse mitts should they ever come in contact with a mouse.
One, two, three! I spray behind the couch. It isn’t a spray that emerges but a full stream of liquid. There. If the mouse runs out I am ready to grab it. Of course, I count on its being blinded. Pinky is my backup. I look behind to check that she is out of harm’s way.
What I see is Pinky’s little black paw swiping through the gap in the door and I stare a moment too long. The next thing I know my eyes and nose are streaming and I am coughing. I run for the door, and Pinky comes in as I rush out. In a second she, too, has joined me in the hall coughing and sneezing. The mouse? Neither of us saw it, if it was there.
The mouse has begun to pull insulation from the stove. Whenever I look there I see tufts of fibers all over the back of it, behind the bottom drawer. Is it a nest in progress? In a panic, I call an exterminator company. The technicians who come are two large men, one carrying a clipboard. They make me feel as though the Marines have arrived and will have the situation under control very soon. I assume they will pull the stove out from the wall and trap the mouse in no time at all. Instead, they bait several new traps they have brought, borrowing my peanut butter, and lay those down along with some glue traps. I have had glue traps in there also, but theirs are larger. They show me how I have set the triggers on my traps incorrectly, then they go down to the basement and look around the crawl space under the house. They spread a few more traps around that area. One is a large one in case my mouse is a rat.
They take my $200 and hand me a service warranty good for thirty days. After they leave, I remove the traps in the basement crawl space. Pinky likes to roam around there while I do the laundry. If any mice or rats exist there she will catch them. After all, she caught the one outside in the wild that now lives in our house, and seven or eight more that I managed to throw out the back.
For a week of nights, I get up at the slightest noise from the kitchen. After that, I pay no attention, and neither does Pinky, Au Au, or Tango. Periodic checks prove the mouse is well and happy and contemptuous of the traps.
I buy boxes of mouse poison at the hardware store. I have not used it before because the label warns that a cat who eats a poisoned mouse will die. The poisoned mouse, says the label, will become dehydrated and emerge from hiding desperate for water. I remove all traces of water in the house, including the dish set out for the cats. The only one to drink from it has been Tango, anyway, and she can always go out to the bird bath like the others.
Then, then I do something cunning, I hope. I take the tiniest bottle cap I can find, add water to it and delicately place it on a trap. Crazed for a drink, the mouse will go to the only water there is in the house. It will not live to run outside to endanger Pinky or any other cat.
FAKE NOSE, MOUSTACHE AND SPECTACLES