New Yorkers make a certain number of concessions as part of living in this city. From minor inconveniences to possible health hazards, we accept them. We are well aware that our apartments are almost always about 20 degrees too hot year round, except in the awkward spring and fall months when the heat is off but it’s still cold out, so our living rooms turn into meat lockers. These, of course, are the same apartments we pay about 800% above market value to live in, simply because we insist on jamming ourselves into a city where 9 million other people also live. Dirty streets, subway smells, crazy homeless people yelling at us– we tolerate all these things, simply for the right to call ourselves New Yorkers. We want the title. We just want to be that cool.
In that same vane (My spellcheck underlined that word. Is it supposed to be vein? Vain? No, it can’t be “vain.” Oh right– I don’t care), we also tolerate pests. We know full well that no matter how well we clean, no matter what preventive measures we take, we run a significant risk of running into at least the occasional roach. It’s gross, sometimes the bugs look prehistorically creepy, and depending on the social context it can be damaging to one’s mojo, but again: we just need to be that cool. So, with all the being said, I have a confession to make: I have mice. (And possibly chlamydia. We’re still waiting for the blood work to come back. Not really relevant to this discussion though. I digress.) For those who know me, the mice situation (Situation!) has been something of an ongoing saga in my house for quite some time. For the rest of you, I’ll sum it up here. Please have a seat and try to slow your breathing. I know you’re really excited, but I’d really rather you didn’t have a cardiac episode. Tiles in a Mosaic can’t afford any blood on its young hands.
I think we spotted the first mouse some time last summer. Let’s say six months ago. My initial thought was that considering my best friend is a rat terrier, a dog that was bred specifically for hunting and killing vermin, that a rodent presence is completely unacceptable. So, I immediately turned my attention to Gizmo, interrogating him as to how he could possibly allow this to happen within his domain. Not surprisingly, he had no answers. He did have super cute little bat ears though, so I spent the next ten minutes rubbing his belly until we both fell asleep on the couch. I forgot about the mice for a while after that. Not a great start to the extermination effort.
Over the ensuing weeks and months, I tried a number of strategies to reduce or eliminate the mouse threat. First, I built the standard Upper Peninsula Deer Camp Mouse Trap (UPDCMT for short) using a plastic bucket, a wire hanger, a coffee can, some duct tape, a broom handle and some peanut butter as bait. That caught one mouse, which escaped shortly thereafter (I opted not to use the lethal UPDCMT design, which calls for the bucket to have water in it). I also tried the toilet-paper-roll-on-a-ledge-dropping-into-a-bag-technique and caught nothing. Some of the bandits were good enough to trap themselves in my pasta drawer. Two of these met their untimely demise at the paws (and jaws) of Gizmo. One I captured and named “Chance.” Most escaped back into the bush.
Later, another trapped himself by falling into a paper bag and was unable to climb out. This one also became my pet and was dubbed “Lucky.” Chance eventually engineered a daring escape from captivity and is currently unaccounted for. Lucky died in captivity. I guess you could say his luck ran out. But don’t you dare actually say that, because that would be cruel, you insensitive dick. Show a little respect for the dead.
At one point, I got so desperate that my roommate and I resorted to throwing knives at them. Yes, really. We have the holes to prove it. I guess I shouldn’t count on getting my deposit back… The point is, my attempts to contain the mouse population have been relatively ineffective. It doesn’t help that I live above a bar, so they have a constant food source and easy access to the confines of my abode. I’ve pretty much accepted that no matter what, I’m fighting a battle I can’t win (see first paragraph). The mice are like Blake Griffin, or Lindsay Lohan’s penchant for driving drunk: you can’t stop it, you can only hope to contain it.
Fast forward to today. The mice have been pretty bold and visible lately, especially with Gizmo being on vacation since Thanksgiving. He at least keeps them at bay. I’ll never take that little knucklehead for granted again. Yesterday, I bought two traps and placed them strategically in my kitchen. This morning, when I went to make coffee, I was shocked to find this:
How exactly do I put this in words so that you can understand how terrifying this scene truly is? I’ll give it a shot. That’s one of those spring loaded traps that you bait in the middle and set open. Mouse goes into the tunnel to get the bait, trap slams shut and kills him, you can throw the whole thing away with no graphic mouse violence. As you can see, there’s a hole in this particular trap. And that dark circular thing on the right side of the picture? That’s the spring. Do you understand the implications of this yet? No? Really? Fine…I’ll spell it out for you. Our mouse friend here circumvented the trap by chewing through the label on the top and removing the spring, thereby deactivating the trap. He then ate the bait and made a clean getaway. I’ll reiterate: THE MOUSE DISASSEMBLED THE TRAP!
I am petrified. These are clearly not garden variety mice I’m dealing with. I suspect they may be cyborgs. At the very least, one of them has some sort of engineering degree. For those of you who don’t believe in evolution (i.e., crazy whack jobs who don’t understand how science works), take a good hard look at this picture. That shit exists, and in this case it has brought about intelligent mutant mice…with an unquenchable lust for peanut butter…and possibly opposable thumbs. I literally have no idea what to do next. These rodents have thwarted my every move. They are quicker, sneakier, and apparently more cunning than I am. And now they’re reverse engineering shit. They’re one step away from organizing a coordinated coup. Plus they’re nocturnal, so they could easily attack in my sleep. I may have to move. At the very least, I’m going to write a letter to d-CON so that in the event of my demise at the paws (claws?) of these fucking terrifying mutant cyborg engineer mice, they will know that my blood is on their hands.
Gah I think I just saw one! Anyone got a couch I can sleep on for the next year or so? It has to be in New York though. You know, cause I need to be cool.