Saturday 21 April 2012

Mouse Trap

Anyone who has lived in an older house or worked in a drafty shop has experienced unwanted guests, especially those clad in gray and measure about 3 inches in length, not including a 2-inch tail. Those pests get into one's food storage, gnaw through wallboard and even trifle with wiring, leaving those little black pellets behind as calling cards. JC once lived in a house where infested was a gross understatement. Like, he heard rustling in the walls and the ceiling and sometimes when he opened his old college binders to get some reference materials he would find the skeletonized remains of a rodent stuck inside the coils.

Interestingly enough some of those pests become pets so to speak. Many times when JC would be sitting in front of the TV a couple of bolder types would emerge from the register under the TV, chase each other around for a few seconds then promptly disappeared back into the register. As time went on, they got bolder and started to frolic right at JC's feet.

There was a time when JC awoke in the middle of the night and could hear something clicking in his right ear. He also felt a hint of moisture. Stealing a sideways glance and shifting just slightly he heard some shuffling on his pillow then saw a couple of orange lights gazing back at him.

A mouse had been licking out the inside of his ear!

Save money on Q-tips I guess.

JC was tolerant to a point but there always comes a time when one has to take action. For JC it was when he had to wash the silverware every time he needed to use it. He often joked that the mice ran through his silver drawer because they enjoyed making everything jingle. But there comes a time when one has to take more serious action. He went to the hardware store and bought a couple cartons of Warfarin which he placed in key locations throughout the house and basement and kept replenishing until the mice either died off or decided to move to someone else's house for a change of scenery.

I might add here that the mice helped out with the Warfarin as they managed to gnaw through the side of one of the cartons and feast away but that was their problem.

And not all mice are as appealing as Mr. Jingles...

So now we come to the actual story: JC's place of work was a drafty shop in a car/farm equipment dealership. There were a lot of mice and they got into everything that wasn't locked away in a steel cabinet. So that meant they had access to the desks in JC's office.

JC's secretary was petrified of mice. But unlike the stereotype where the woman is standing on a chair screaming at the top of her lungs, Val simply froze and started to shake. One time she was looking for some work orders in JC's out basket and suddenly froze. JC had set a trap behind the basket and a bloated mouse carcass showed itself when Val lifted up the papers.

Of course, JC just reset the trap then took the mouse remains and flung them outside for the seagulls and crows to fight over.

In his battle with mice at home, JC learned a new method of extermination that could be applied when the pests got into a kitchen or desk drawer. He would position himself a specific distance away from the front of the drawer, take an aerosol can of starting fluid (ether) in his right hand and shake it then grasp the drawer handle with his left hand and jerk the drawer open against his hip. The drawer wouldn't come completely out but would be open far enough to close off any possible escape route through the back. JC's right hand would come into play bringing the can of ether to the drawer, at the same time blasting the intruder with a lethal dose.

And the convulsing carcass would be disposed of using the aftermentioned method.

Now Val had watched JC do that a number of times seeing success in every attempt. She finally decided that she could do that as well as JC thus not needing to call him into the office every time she heard those rustling noises from the desk.

One day she heard that rustling sound. Quietly she slid from her chair, reached over to JC's desk and grasped the can of ether. She spaced her body where she'd seen JC do it dozens of times. Left hand grasping the handle and right hand preparing the spray bomb she jerked the drawer open.

I guess she hadn't been paying enough attention because she managed to jerk the drawer right out of the desk. It swung downwards spilling papers, correcting fluid, pens, and mice onto the floor. Not wanting to give up so easily, Val began to chase one of the mice, spraying ether all over the place including the mouse, the desks, the walls, and the floor.

Now let me back up a bit. Val was very cold-blooded; she just couldn't keep warm. She had a baseboard heater under her desk that was turned onto high every day of the year, even when the mercury itself was climbing out of the top of the thermometer to cool down.

Well, this mouse was running all around the office with Val giving chase and spraying ether everwhere. The mouse ran under Val's desk and Val sprayed ether after it, right into the baseboard heater.

JC was outside the office door chatting with a customer when he heard the Whoosh! He then saw this tiny ball of flame scurry into the shop from under the door, squeaking in terror.

JC actually felt sorry for that poor mouse.

He ran into the office to see papers burning, as well as patches of concrete floor and even some tiny flames on the lower legs of Val's desk. They were able to put the fire out and the damage was largely negligible with the exception of Val's wounded pride.

From that point on, when Val heard rustling in the desk she simply summoned JC who did what was necessary to keep things under control.


  1. Oh, that is such a great story! I laughed myself silly! I could just see that little ball of flame scurrying for the nearest water hole.
    Oh, Gee! My biscuits are burnin'!
    Mice. Ick!!!

  2. Gosh, I love the name of this blog! I'm not a fan of mice but I have to admit that I felt sorry for this critter after Val took that can of ether to it! I'm glad that JC has been left to take care of the mouse exterminating business! :)

    1. Glad you like the name. I was wondering what the heck I was going to call it then it occured to me: Coffee Row. There's at least one in every town. I refer to these little stories as Coffee Stains. Seems to go hand in hand. And yes, I feel sorry for that poor mouse. Maybe he was running fast enough to blow the flames out.

  3. Great story, I see writing runs in the family:)

    1. Yes, writing does run in the family. Unfortunately it often gets in the way of things we should be doing, like heading for work. I wouldn't change it for the world; I love to write. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Warfarin? I know that as a blood thinning medication prescribed by doctors here in Australia. And now I hear it is a poison too?
    Poor little mouse...

    1. Hello again and thanks for stopping by. Warfarin is a blood thinner up here too. That's actually what it does to mice and rats; it thins out their blood to the point that they just hemorrhage internally. Of course to get the little pests to injest it, the bait is mixed with rolled oats (making Warfarin brand Rat Bait) to make a tasty concoction. And they eat it up like candy.

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  6. Great story! I have a terrible fear of mice, I had one run up the inside leg of my bluejeans. Very traumatic.

    1. Hi, Rena. Glad you enjoyed the story. I had a similar mouse experience. I was under my car, servicing it and my cat was playing (read: tormenting) with his catch when he started sniffing around my foot. It was then that I felt the mouse crawl up my leg. I slowly slid my hand down, forcing the mouse the reverse directions. It ran out and the cat caught it, thus continuing his torturous activities. Thanks for stopping by.