I admit: I haven't yet moved the sofa because a) I haven't heard any scritching lately, and b) I can't budge the thing. However, there is an update about the seemingly endless number of creatures -- other than myself, a dog, and two cats -- who have decided to take up residence in my home.
As I write this it's Saturday, a balmy afternoon in spring. I'm sitting at my kitchen counter, eyes darting. Earlier today I decided to unload the dishwasher. Opened the door. Took out a glass, and thought I saw movement (nah, it's your imagination my pea-brain whispered). When I reached for the second glass I most certainly saw movement, not to mention the movement's source: a mouse. A big one. Perched on a coffee mug. On the top rack. INSIDE the dishwasher.
We had a moment, the mouse and I. I froze a foot away, glass in hand, staring in disbelief. The mouse stared back, frozen and also, from what I could tell, in disbelief. The seconds played out. I wondered what to do, I guess the mouse was also wondering. He was a good-sized fella, as big as a hamster. Little beady eyes. Tiny toenails poised delicately on the mug. Distantly, I wondered where the cats were, not that the lazy slugs have been doing the job preordained. The dog was outside, barking at something most certainly not the mouse in the dishwasher.
In the dishwasher!!
In my paralyzed state I wasn't sure what to do...slam the door shut, thereby locking him inside along with the dishwasher controls, or shoo him out, thereby causing him to race unharnessed and uncatchable into the recesses of my house. I chose option 1. Door was slammed shut and now, with horror, I wondered what to do next.
Like all modern women (note sarcasm), I called a guy, a friend who I determined would advise me on the next course of action. Vince arrived armed with flashlight and sticky live trap. I stood on the kitchen stairs as Vince creaked open the dishwasher door, asking at the same time "Are you sure it was a mouse?" I resisted the urge to say "No, Vincent, it was an alligator." He flashed the light around, picked up dishes, peeked under pots and pans. No mouse.
Now in full hysteria, I asked him what to do. "Run the cycle," he said mildly.
So I did.
An hour later, long after Vince had exited the premises, the cycle ended. I opened the door and there he was, Mr. Mouse, deceased and bug-eyed at the bottom of the box. I donned rubber gloves, picked him up by the tail, disposed of him down the toilet, and proceeded to run the powerwash cycle another 14 times.
I am aghast. Don't ask me how he got in there, maybe down the disposal and through some plumbing apparatus I don't understand. At least (praise god) he wasn't in the disposal when I turned it on to mash up my morning eggshells (stomach churns, eyes twitch at the thought of THAT). Still, as aghast as I am, I feel guilty somehow. I picture the poor little guy's reaction when scalding water poured onto his unsuspecting head. Just an hour before we'd looked into each other's eyes, giant human and tiny rodent, each wondering how this would turn out. We both knew one of us would lose this battle. I'm glad it was him. And I'm also sorry.
I don't like to take the lives of living things, no matter how objectionable they may be. I was morose the rest of the afternoon. Then, later on, I looked again the coffee cup on which he was perched, ran the cycle a 15th time, and whispered to myself for the 100th time...a mouse in the dishwasher...in the dishwasher!
How long will it be, I wonder, until I'm no longer afraid of my kitchen appliances?
As for the snake in the sofa, I can only hope there is one. Don't they feed on mice?