Saturday, 22 November 2008

Of Mice and Me

It's just as well mice don't freak me out the way big spiders do. There was another nocturnal adventure at my place yesterday.

It's not the first time Oscar bin Laden has tried gifting me with a mouse. I'm no stranger to teeny weeny mouse corpses, but I prefer not to be a witness to the corpse-making process.

A few months ago Oscar was dancing about on my bed at around 2.30am. He was insistently plucking at a throw rug that I'd put on top of my doona for extra warmth. The constant poke, poke, poke suddenly triggered a response in my sleeping brain - and I became very awake very quickly, and gingerly lifted a corner of the throw rug just in time to see a long mousy tail wriggle closer to me. Oscar saw it too, and prepared to deliver the death blow. Yuk - not on my bed you don't, you mouse-murdering little bastard!

2.30am in a Canberra winter is no time to be wandering the back yard in your jammies, looking for a safe spot to liberate a traumatised mouse, but that's what I found myself doing. Mouse, 1 - Cats, 0. Betty Mouse-Friend - frozen but metaphorically warm & fuzzy.

So anyway, last night's mouse, which had eluded both Oscar and Miff during the 2am mouse-chasing fiesta, was nowhere to be seen this morning. I was sort of glad - the tiny little corpses always make me feel a bit sad.

Mice aren't very bright, I discovered. When I saw that my slipper had an inhabitant, and picked it up to take it to freedom, stupid Mousie leapt out, into the waiting jaws of Oscar bin Laden. My God, the GUILT! I had delivered him to his doom! I would be responsible for an innocent (but stupid) mouse's tortured demise. NOOOooooooooo!

Mayhem ensued. Oscar kept catching Mousie, releasing him and batting him across the floor. Mousie would recover and run, which Oscar found very exciting. Miffy joined in, and suddenly two fanged Furies (or Furries, if you prefer) were having great fun playing mouse-tennis.

Ernest(ine) the giant spider watched the proceedings from her new corner, high above the front door, while I ran around the house with a plastic takeaway container to catch Mousie if I got the chance. It was exhausting.

Mousie ran beneath a wrinkle in a rug, and cowered there, catching its breath. The cats took turns poking their arms under the rug, right up to the elbows (do cats have elbows?) with no luck.

Oscar ran out of patience and did something I've never seen him do before (sometimes that cat is scary). He leapt upon a corner of the rug, and in a brilliant display of fancy footwork and sleight of paw, flung the rug back to reveal the unmoving mouse.

I pounced with my takeaway container. My moment had come; my chance to be a hero and to redeem myself. I hoped I was in time...

Mousie was released into the wild (yes, my grass is growing back at an amazing rate) and what passes for normal life in Chez Betty resumed. Betty Mouse-Friend, smug but weary, gave Ernest(ine) the Giant Spider a friendly wave, and shuffled wearily back to bed for a much needed rest.

I must empty the kitchen dresser and move it - I am almost certain that's where the mice are getting in. I like an adventure as much as the next person, but mouse-murders at midnight aren't my idea of fun.

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