There is a mouse living in my house and his name is Wayne. For the record, I did not invite Wayne to live in my house. In fact, I would like it very much if he would be so kind as to seek accommodations elsewhere.
Also, in case you were curious, I did not give Wayne his name. My son Alex, the first human to make Wayne’s acquaintance, named him. He did so while engaging the rodent in a spirited game of peek-a-boo in our kitchen last week.
After eventually growing tired of their late-night game, Alex summoned me to come upstairs and meet Wayne. Soon thereafter, I pressured Wayne to vacate the premises. He declined and opted instead to make a break for the living room.
At least Wayne was considerate enough to say hello to Alex’s friend Sarah on the way. Rather than shaking her hand and saying, “It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Wayne went with the unconventional approach of climbing up Sarah’s leg. To each their own, I guess.
To her credit, Sarah remained quite calm while the lively little fellow ascended her lower limb. It wasn’t until Wayne had made his way past her and into the hallway that Sarah casually mentioned, “Um, Wayne just crawled up my leg.”
Next, Wayne took up a position behind a bookcase. From there his bewhiskered face would occasionally peek out as he checked to see if the coast was clear. (It was not.) Armed with some cheese, a hand towel, and an oven mitt, I was able to coax him out of his hiding place ever so slightly, but never far enough to find purchase on his tiny torso.
When I moved the bookcase away from the wall, Wayne panicked and, forgetting his manners entirely, scrambled across Sarah’s leg a second time. Sarah, once again, handled the rodent’s boldness better than I ever would have, although she may have let out an ever-so-slight squeal.
For the next few minutes, Wayne simply toyed with us. First, he hid under the couch. Then he ran behind the stereo, only to dart under the couch again. My oven mitt was too bulky to fit in such tight spaces, so I flushed him back into the open where Alex was waiting with the towel.
At my direction, Alex tossed the towel on top of Wayne, and as we placed our hands and feet around the edges to pin the mouse down, a grey streak shot through my field of vision, across Alex’s bare foot, and back into the kitchen.
I gave chase and spotted Wayne attempting to squeeze himself into an opening in the underside of our kitchen cabinets. I desperately grabbed for his tail as it disappeared into the crevice but came up with only an oven mitt full of disappointment.
As Bethany had been asleep throughout the prolonged chase, I thought it best not mention our house guest until the next morning. Naturally, Wayne beat me to the punch, a fact made obvious by the shrieks of terror emanating from our closet when he introduced himself to my bride.
Wayne had decided that it would be hilarious to hide among Bethany’s shoes before enthusiastically bounding out of the pile just as she reached down to grab a pair. Wayne was right: it was hilarious. Well played, Wayne.
Also hilarious: the fake mouse I hid among Bethany’s shoes a few minutes later. Well played, Travis.
After giving our uninvited guest one day to voluntarily vacate the premises, I was forced to take drastic measures when I found several chewed up food wrappers under the kitchen sink. I baited a trap with Wayne’s favorite variety of cheese (shredded taco blend) and set it beside the trash can that he’d raided the previous evening.
I checked the trap the next morning and discovered, to my chagrin, that all the cheese was gone from the un-sprung trap. I had set it wrong. Of course.
After discovering, to my horror, mouse droppings in our silverware drawer, I filled and ran the dishwasher, re-baited the trap, set the trap correctly, and waited. And listened. And waited and listened. I waited all day. I listened all night.
The next morning, a pile of chewed up wrappers lay next to the untouched cheese on the correctly-set trap. Well played again, Wayne.
You have earned my respect, my mousy little friend.
Now please get out of my house.