“Deja vu, all over again,” I say . . . The scream was long, loud, and piercing. It’s hard for me to believe that a little lady like Louella is capable of making a noise like that. Micah Davenport was the first to arrive at Louella’s side as she stood shaking in front of her stainless steel utility sink in Faded Glory’s kitchen. “Please spare me,” I murmured, as I sauntered into the kitchen to witness yet another emerging tale of “Mousie Mayhem.”
A potpourri of simple wooden mouse traps last month had, in my opinion, brought an end to the mouse problem in Louella’s pristine kitchen. For three days, Micah and Hank had dutifully carried out and disposed of three little mouse corpses found in the traps, and, finally, when all traces of mouse activity had disappeared, they came to the logical assumption that mice were no longer an issue at Faded Glory. Until yesterday . . .
Yesterday morning, Louella had filled her deep sink with hot, soapy water; punched out two dozen ‘lighter than air’ biscuits; and scrubbed several of her pots, pans, and miscellaneous trays that would not fit into the Inn’s industrial-quality dishwasher. After hand-drying these larger items, Louella had returned to the sink and proceeded to drain the dishwater from it; and there, lo and behold, she discovered a large, soggy, gray, and very dead — mouse!
A few minutes later, Hank Beavers entered the kitchen through the back door, assessed the scene, and quietly shrugged, realizing that he would be spending the next few hours scrubbing down all of the counters and surfaces in the kitchen that might have been exposed to Mr. Mouse.
I spent the next few minutes wondering why I had seen no evidence of Mr. Mouse’s presence, but I was quickly distracted from my train of thought by my discovery of three crumbled biscuits on the kitchen floor — obviously dropped by Louella during her ‘moment of angst.’ In seconds, of course, those biscuits were history! A guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do.
After my brief meal of yet-unbaked biscuit dough, I investigated further, only to discover a trail of Mousie feces on the bottom shelf of one of Louells’s stainless steel work tables. Mice feces are sort of like miniature rabbit . . . well, you know what they look like — unless you have spent your life under a large rock.
We all knew that sooner or later Isabel would ‘weigh in’ on this new development, and I began to seriously fear the possibility that she might decide to enlist the assistance of a cat. Knowing Louella as I do, Isabel would, indeed, encounter some fierce resistance to any suggestion involving having a cat at large at Faded Glory, but you never know; stranger things have happened.
As it turns out, Isabel has responded to the situation calmly and logically, asking that Micah and Hank redeploy their maze of baited wooden traps and eliminate the problem “once and for all.” With Cinders underfoot, I will have to work overtime to protect him from the temptations of the peanut butter and bacon tidbits used to bait them. Cinders is a sucker for an easy snack. I wonder where he learned that!
By nightfall yesterday, Louella’s kitchen was like a ‘Mousie Mine Field” with every trap from Hampton Hardware’s inventory being deployed to eradicate every remaining rodent living at Faded Glory Farm. Unfortunately, I was unable to prevent Cinders from being trapped; I lost track of him for just five minutes later the following day, and he came out of the kitchen yipping like a wounded hound dog, with a mousetrap closed firmly on the tip of his tail. Things could have been worse; it could have been his tongue!
Hours passed, traps snapped, and Micah and Hank apparently hit the “‘Mousie Mother Lode,” as the deathtolll of doomed rodents climbed steadily to five. Nowhere is it written that mice must practice birth control; and these rodents certainly had not! After ten hours of unmolested baited traps, Cinders getting into them a second time (slow learner), and a unanimous consensus on the part of our staff, the traps were dismantled and put away until “next time.” Unfortunately, “next time” turned out to be this evening.
As a result of yesterday’s Mouse-fest I have learned one important thing; it would definitely be in our best interest if Master Cinders and I were to spend more time in the kitchen keeping the floors crumb-free and checking for signs of mice. Isabel’s patience can only be stretched so far, and the last thing we need is for someone to deduce that we do need a cat around here!
So, earlrier today, Cinders and I formed an informal “Mousie Militia,” making it our mandate to eradicate the growing army of rodents that are slowly starving to death in Faded Glory’s kitchen. Because Cinders follows me everywhere, I plan to make sure that we make a couple of forays into the kitchen after the lights go out each evening. Isabel generally leaves the lights (that are built into the range hood) on at night, and using our God-given discriminating noses, Cinders and I will perform a sweep of the kitchen floors between dinner and breakfast. Not a big deal, but it sure beats having to put up with a cat . . .
Tonight we went ‘on patrol’ for the first time. Obviously, Cinders has learned to make it through the Mousie Minefield without mishap, and we were about halfway through our tour of the kitchen when I saw Cinders dart under one of the tables with the agility and speed of a hungry ferret. Seconds later, he appeared — triumphant, holding a struggling mouse between his jaws. Wow, what a guy! My heart pounded with excitement and a feeling of success. And then my mind moved onward to a problem; now that we HAD the mouse, what were we going to do with it?
Here, folks, is how we differ from cats. Here we were doing the job of a cat, and now I had to think like one! It was definitely too late to awaken Isabel with our fabulous prize, and if we did, waking up with a mouse near her face would probably scare Isabel to death. Louella, Hank and Micah had gone for the day, so expecting any help from them was simply out of the question. I thought about having Cinders dropping the hapless mouse on one of the waiting mousetraps, but what if he failed to land on the trap correctly and just scurried away! Not a good plan! Since the doors were shut tightly, we couldn’t carry him outside and let him go.
And then it came to me. How about a swimming contest — sort of a Mini-Olympics? Cinders has developed the nasty habit of drinking out of the toilets. Micah and Hank usually leave the ‘seats’ up, and chances were good that the small half-bath right off of the kitchen might have an Olympic Pool. The door was ajar, the moon was out, the seat was up, and the time was right; and I proudly led the way to the white porcelain ‘swimming venue.’ Dogs are not stupid; Cinders knew exactly what to do with his prize; I have watched toilets flushed countless times; and pushing down on a chrome handle isn’t rocket science. Yes, I pushed the handle, Mr. Mouse swirled around a few times in the whitewater vortex and promptly disappeared. My only regret was that nobody would ever know what the Mousie Militia accomplished tonight after everyone had turned in. Like many of us, I guess Mr. Mouse went away with the belief that life is a “crap chute!”