Earlier in the day, a call was placed that concluded with a general agreement on the need for traps with better bait and bigger snaps. We had an ongoing pest problem that strangely existed in one unit, in spite of our best pest control and extermination efforts.
It could only be assumed that the biggest and brightest of the mice had formed a gang and randomly set up headquarters. While the gang prepared for an all-out war/building take-over, they had to first increase their numbers and somehow co-exist with the original tenant.
“Lars, we know about the mice in your apartment. We aren’t mad, although, I’m not sure why you didn’t tell us there were so many. Not to worry, we will take care of it for you. The maintenance man will be setting traps tonight.”
Lars did not respond; he clutched the sides of his chair with both hands. His heart fell from his chest and splashed into his stomach. Bile rose into his throat, displaced by his heart crashing into the sea of his organs. He swallowed hard, forcing the acidic juices back to their original reservoirs.
“Are you ok?” I asked.
It appeared that Lars was a second away from throwing up or passing out; he swayed back and forth in his chair, pale and still silent.
“Why are you doing this?”
Lars pleaded with dark eyes to forget about the mouse droppings on the table, countertops and stove. Ignore the Tupperware dishes on his bed with a half-eaten hotdog left behind, with very tiny nibble bites taken from both ends.
“The mice are going to take-over if we don’t intervene. Did you know they have figured out those sticky traps and the “special snacks” we set out in your unit? I don’t know how, but I think they are actually getting bigger.”
He proudly nodded his head in agreement, “Yes, they are getting bigger.”
“Right… and that’s the problem so we are going to use bigger traps and better bait, starting tonight.”
He thoughtfully considered this for a minute and counter-offered, as though this was a business deal on the table with negotiable fees and contingencies.
“I need a week to make arrangements.”
As soon as the words left my mouth, and I knew it was for the mice. Clearly, he was their accomplice and advocate. How else would they be able to not only outsmart the traps, avoid the poison but also to grow, be fruitful and multiply?
“Lars, they cannot be pets. They are pests.”
I hoped that he was not harboring these fugitives but knew that he was doing more than just allowing them to take up residency with him. I imagined the late night dinner parties with Lars surrounded by at least 57 very fat and happy mice eating ice cream and potato chips. I envisioned him sleeping with a mouse on either side of his pillow and a few around his feet. I could see them watching tv, lined up on the couch, shaking their heads at the evening news.
He shook his head, these terms were unacceptable. He tried to explain that the mice were his friends and so on and such forth.
“Just another week and I will have them taken care of,” he begged for time, practically on his knees.
“No deal. The traps are going out tonight.”