Abuse of Power


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.”

“For what?”

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.”

Mice in Fall

Traps have been clacking shut on the little heads of mice all over the Midwest this week.

It’s getting to be cold and blustery outside and the little buggers have thin fur coats.  Who could blame them for moving inside to keep warm?  Of course they bring all of their mousey children, aunts, uncles, friends and acquaintances.  No one wants to be left behind, especially since the cool fall winds are blowing in with every intention of overstaying their welcome.

Simply put, there isn’t enough room for all of us and all of them to peacefully reside inside of homes and apartments.  Yet, I still feel that it’s terrible to set out a tasty piece of cheddar cheese on the edge of a snap trap at a time when it’s hard for a mouse to get a decent meal.  Who or what hungry creature could resist such a bright and inviting little snack?

Just this weekend, I was tempted to pull a piece of cheese off of a trap at a friend’s house where he was certain that he had detected “the smell of rodent” in his garage.  By the next morning, he proudly announced that his suspicions were correct; he had trapped a fresh mouse.

Today, I went into a home that was known for bugs, but not mice.  As I stood (for fear of sitting) interviewing the occupants, a sudden movement caught my attention.  A few minutes earlier, the sight of roaches crawling across the floor and walls had caused me to stop mid-sentence until I could regain my thoughts.  This was something bigger and furrier.

Glancing back in the direction of the movement, I lost my concentration again as a big, fat adult mouse scurried across the floor.  It ran right to the dog’s silver food dish and started helping itself to the puppy chow.  The rodent must have sensed my eyes on its grey back because it turned and looked directly at me, dropped its nugget and ran off back into the secret tunnels through the walls.

I asked the residents of the home, who were both sitting in broken down recliners mostly watching tv, “So do you have any problems with mice or bugs?”

The woman replied, “Oh sure, there’s just a few mice running around in here.  We’re going to get some traps and that should take care of them.”

Nodding my head, I moved down the list, while I wanted to say, “Don’t worry, it’s not just you.  Everyone on this street has a problem with pests: rats, bugs, lazy relatives.  What matters is how you deal with the pests and traps are a great start.” Image

photo: howtogetridofallthings.com