Thursday, August 14, 2014

I Am A Death Dealer.

I Am A Death Dealer.

I foolishly thought the war was over, but it's never over and will never be over. I just got complacent.

In 2008, I wrote a story called Jihad. It's a fictional story inspired by real events. In it, a couple's home is invaded by mice. At first the husband makes a halfhearted effort to kill a few while his wife takes the brunt of the invasion. In one scene, she starts the lawn mower and is covered with the chopped up remains of baby mice, poop and nest that was built above the fan on top of the machine. She ran a few feet and puked on the lawn. Only when the husbands Xbox cables were chewed did he kick it into high gear and start actively trying to kill the hoard.

If you ever get a chance to read it, know that all of the scenes that describe what the mice chewed up and all the interactions in the first part of the story actually happened, including the lawn mower scene with my wife. Only when the husband slips into madness do I go off script and into fiction. That one year, starting at the end of summer and going through the winter, I killed 54 mice over a nine-month period.

As I described in the story, I went to Home Depot and stared at the wall of death. So many choices and I tried them all, except for poison. We had dogs at the time that ate mice if the found them and were worried about unintended consequences. But every form of trap available at the time got a proper field test in casa McCoy. In the end, I found that the most successful trap was the traditional wooden based, spring-loaded mousetrap with peanut butter as bait. In the intervening years I've never had to set out more than five or six traps and mostly in the garage and almost always in the winter.

A few days ago, my wife noticed some mouse poop in the closet we built over our garage. I agreed to set some traps and went back to my old reliable set up. Just to make sure I nipped this minor incursion in the bud, I set out eight traps. The next day, nothing. The day after that, I had one dead and the rest of the traps licked clean.

It wasn't the first time I'd seen the peanut butter cleaned off a trap, but I’d never seen eight traps licked clean to the point where the copper catches shined brighter than when I bought them. It was a minor set back and I took it in stride. I tripped the traps and bent the catches where the holding bar hooks on so that they were much more sensitive and re-baited the remaining seven. The next day, I had another dead mouse, but the other six traps were at least partially licked clean. That was this morning, or technically yesterday morning as it is now after midnight. I'd hoped to catch more and it bothered me that the traps seemed so ineffective, but I shrugged it off and went to work.

At 3:00 PM, I got a text from my daughter saying she had a mouse in her room. A mouse. In broad daylight. Running around her room. I thought she was putting me on, but she assured me she was not. I told her I would take care of it when I got home.

Of course it was nowhere to be seen by the time I arrived, but only a few hours later at bedtime, my daughters caught it under a glass. They wanted me to let it go. I was irritated, but not angry and I agreed. I walked all the way passed the end of my driveway and chucked it into the neighbors yard and went to get ready for bed.

In the finale of my story, I had a huge mass of mice attack the main character by chewing a hole in the ceiling and dropping on top of him. The character was surprised, not expecting them to be Airborne qualified. Death from above.

At approximately 10:30 this evening, I woke to the my wife's cry of "It's on me!". She jumped up from bed and I followed, unsure what was happening. One of the damned things must have been climbing above her and dropped on her head. When she jumped up, it went down her shirt. She shook it free and it landed on the bed. By the time I was awake enough to react, it dashed to the floor and under the bed.

Only then did she tell me that after I had released the one little monster into the wild, the girls saw two more in their room. What the actual fuck! I wasn't mad at her for not telling me, but I was shocked at the number of mice so brazenly running around my house. The winter of my Jihad, when I racked up the 54 kills, I only ever saw one in broad daylight, and that was in the garage, never inside my house. Now in one night, we spotted at least three and possibly four with one little bastard making moves on my wife.

I felt a small piece of the madness creep over me that I had imbued my fictional character with back in 2008. The Home Depot was closed, but Walmart was open 24/7. After a quick consultation with my wife, we agreed that it was time for poison. The traps were just not getting the job done. These little insurgent bastards had been trained in counter trap warfare. Our two Greater Swiss Mountain dogs had been sleeping in our room during the attack and did nothing. At no time in their lives have they ever shown the slightest indication that they are willing to hunt anything, but after a quick Google search, I found articles that set my mind at ease. Even if they suddenly showed interest and actually found one of the dead mice, it would take a lot of them to make the dogs sick.

I got to Walmart at 11:00 PM. It's Thursday night and I was still groggy. The scene was surreal.  There were over fifty cars in the lot and as I pulled up, a group of a dozen teens were walking away with bags in both hands heading to some unknown destination. I walked inside and was relieved to find that most of the people in the store were there to restock the shelves. There is no wall of death. It’s not even an isle, just the last one fifth of an isle, but it had what I needed. There were enclosed poison baits and sticky paper next to the traditional traps that had so recently failed me. I was through playing around and bought two-dozen of each. When I got home I placed four of the poison baits in the garage, one in a kitchen cabinet, four in the closet above the garage, one under our bed and one in my daughters closet. I also laid out glue traps, two in the closet and two under our bed and one in my daughter's closet.

It's now past one in the morning. I don’t feel sleepy. The thought of those little bastards crawling across my bed at night disturbs me. Mice have never bothered me beyond the desire to not have them destroying my stuff or poop in my kitchen. This is the first time I ever felt creeped out. I accepted the fact that spiders and other bugs crawl over me occasionally at night and while it isn’t a pleasant notion, it never kept me awake. But a mouse dropping on my head or crawling on my face? When the fuck did they get so brave? Even if they aren't afraid of us, they have no idea those two 90 pound carnivores are gentle giants.

So the war that never ends has made it’s way into my family's bedrooms, and I will bring pain and death upon my enemy for their trespass, but tonight, they have won the psychological war.

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