Saturday, October 31, 2009


We have mice. It’s not a big deal for Valerie. She grew up in the country and they were just a fact of life. They terrify me.

They didn’t use to bother me at all. When I was still living with my mom in Soulard we had one that would sit on a mop that was propped against the wall. The mouse watched every move we made. It had no fear. I guess it didn’t need any. We left him alone.

They may as well be rats as far as I’m concerned.

When I was in 4th grade I lived in the Shaw neighborhood. There were blocks and blocks of empty apartments where highway 44 was coming in. In those days there were no flashing yellow caution signs for road work. They used weird little bowling ball shaped torches that had a little flame on top. They must have been filled with lead because they were very heavy. I’m not sure how they could have been bright enough to stop an accident. I had to steal one of course.

No one had air conditioning in those days. My brother and I slept on our back porch. Mosquitoes were easier to deal with than the heat from inside.

This led to late night excursions into the dark. One night I grabbed my stolen torch, wandered into the alley, lit it and sat by its little flame like it was a campfire. I noticed movement nearby. There was a large rat right next to me. Its eyes glowed red from the flame as he gazed at me with loathing. I was paralyzed with fear.

The empty apartment shells of the construction site looked like post war Europe. This is where we stuck a smoke bomb in a dead rat’s ass. Kids find the strangest things amusing.

I think my real fear of mice came when I was living with my dad and his second wife in the country. I was in the basement and a deer mouse ran along a wall. It looked like a hideous genetic freak. It had a mouse’s body but long deer legs. Man I still get goose bumps thinking about it.

From there my brother and I moved back with my mom to the attic of a mansion in Gaslight Square. The Central West End hadn’t been gentrified yet and the neighborhood was filled with dilapidated old mansions.

We had a swimming pool that hadn’t been used in years. It was half filled with black water and a bloated, hairless, dead rat floated in it. No one would go near it.

A few years ago, when we were living in Florissant, we had a mouse that would come out of an air vent. My kids found a tiny Christmas stocking that was really a tree ornament. They hung it next to the vent and put a small cookie in it. Christmas morning they discovered the cookie had been nibbled on by the mouse. I never told them I made it look that way.

Anyway, like I was saying, we have mice. At first Valerie’s cat Charlie took care of them for us. Valerie couldn’t bear the thought of traps. She would scoop them up alive if she could and take them outside. From there I’m sure they would just come back inside.

Charlie is 15, constantly sneezing from allergies, and probably deaf. The other night I was tossing in my usual state of insomnia when I noticed 2 mice playing around my shoes. Charlie was in a purring meditative ball at the end of the bed. I gently lifted him and set him down facing the mice. He turned back to look at me like he was confused. I guess his mousing days are over.


...Sharon said...

First of all, I am shocked about you blowing up a mouse...! Really? What made you think of doing such a violent act?

I had a pet mouse as a kid. I would keep him in my pocket, take him when visiting friends, and going to the movies. One day he just ran away and never returned.

These days, Jasper catches them. Emmaline kills them. I dispose of them. My cats think it's our Winter sport.

I'm sure you've never forgotten the retching days at the Oyster Bar when a mouse would die under the floor and the smell would linger for weeks.

Doggie said...

What mouse did I blow up? I wish I had remembered the Oyster Bar incident. I was adding soda to a cocktail and a huge rat's scurrying claws ran across my feet. I was in flip flops and felt them on my bare feet. I screamed and when everyone looked at me I said I'd been shocked by the ice bin. We had to close the bar for a week once so we could tear up the floor to find a dead rat that was stinking the place up.
The rat was already dead when we put the smoke bomb in its ass.

...Sharon said...

Okay, sorry. I was referring to the sticking 'a smoke bomb up the rat's ass' incident. Did you light it?

I'm curious about where this idea stemmed from... cartoons, comics, Wiley Coyote or Rat Fink? How old were you?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

It wasn't a cookie, they were almonds, pecans, and walnuts.