This week, I arrived safely, albeit slight jetlagged, home from my Denver trip. I hadn’t seen my roommate Kathryn in about a week so we played catch-up in the kitchen right before bedtime. We reciprocated stories about our forth of July weekends when, throughout our conversation, we were interrupted by a periodic and faint yelp-squeal.
It sounded like it was coming from the inside of our stove. I crouched down to confirm that it was, in fact, coming from that general vicinity. Kathryn grabbed a headlamp from her room and we both crouched down with one eye to the floor. It was clear that among the thicket of dust balls was a tiny mouse caught in not one, but two traps.
Kathryn removed the drawer from underneath the oven so that we could get a better look at the mouse situation. Awhile ago, our landlord had placed sticky traps under our oven in combination with these black plastic clamp traps. Somehow the mouse had managed to find the only sticky spot not covered in pillowy gray dust while having its hind parts crushed in the clamp.
The terms of Kathryn and I’s contract for what was going to happen next were agreed upon before proceeding. It can be summarized by the following: I was going to owe her one. My role would be to stand with one foot in the kitchen and one in the hallway with a clenched fist near my mouth. Humans have long and tumultuous relationship with mice, so I felt that evolution was clearly defending my cowardice.
While Kathryn and I discussed the soundest course of action she should take, the mouse started chewing its leg in some desperate, last ditch effort to spread vermin blood all over our kitchen floor. We were clearly wasting time. Kathryn found some gloves, a brown paper bag, and a broom. She brushed the mouse and attached traps into the bag, rolled up the top and scurried out the front door. My sigh of relief was interrupted when seconds later she returned with the unopened brown bag.
Kathryn felt guilty for just leaving the yelp-squealing mouse in the trash can. The only decent thing to do was a mercy killing and the cleanest solution was drowning. Kathryn filled a large yogurt container with water and went to the back porch where she apologized profusely before committing our furry foe to a Stoneyfield Farm grave. As the unqualified medical examiner, I came to the back porch to see that there was no movement of the sticky paper.
Kathryn, you are a brave and courageous individual. Thank you. And yes, I owe you one.