12 October 2007

Man vs Beast

It all started in Wisconsin. Sometime during my five-day stay at the excellent Life O'Riley Farm, a mouse snuck into my suitcase. I didn't really pay attention to my suitcase and, the morning of my departure, tossed a packet of oatmeal in there. When I returned to my apartment in Chicago, I opened the suitcase and unpacked my laptop so I could track my fantasy football team. Only later did I investigate and discover that the oatmeal packet had been chewed on and, judging by the presence of droppings, the chewer had been in the suitcase for the duration of the trip. I had transported a rodent across state lines.

Over the next two weeks, Beth and I began seeing evidence of our new, unwanted roommate. Things were chewed, poop was prevalent, and we began seeing him make daring runs across the kitchen floor. This pissed me off. How dare it run up on my counter and poop all over it. How dare it poop in MY apartment without my permission. This meant all out war. I was going to destroy this mouse. I was going to sever his head and impale it on a toothpick in the front yard to scare off other potential gate-crashing rodents.

Tale of the Tape


Height: 6'1" vs 0'3"
Weight: 208 lbs vs 4 oz
Reach: 38 inches vs 1.5 inches

Seems pretty uneven, know? But the little bastard held his own. We put out sticky traps and he got around them with so much ease I swear I could hear him laughing.

Mordachi: 1, Marcus: 0

We put out poison that seemed to be devoured and scattered about haphazardly, the way a drunk treats the mininbar.

Mordachi: 2, Marcus: 0

I was beginning to think Mordachi (as we named him) was going to be with us forever, continually pooping in the corner behind the microwave.

He was brazen, I'll give him that. Wednesday morning, I came face to face with him. Twice.

Mordachi: 4, Marcus: 0

I caught him in the act of burrowing into some hamburger buns Beth had stored in the pantry. We exchanged that doomed glance, that glance in which we know that, in spite of the respect we hold for each other, it'll only end one way: with one of us dead. I may or may not have squealed like a 3 year old when Mordachi jumped down from the shelf and made for the nearest floorboard crack. A few minutes later, he bolted from the pantry to the stove and was once again gone.

Figuring that he was loving the pantry more than we had thought, we moved sticky traps to the bottom level of the pantry, just inside the door so he wouldn't realize what he was in until it was too late.

It took two more days, but this afternoon, I came home to find him stuck and struggling in one of the sticky traps. He had pulled a Fievel from Wisconsin, had negotiated the labyrinth of our kitchen, feasted on our hamburger buns and poison, refusing to give in. He defied logic and science. He seemed more machine than mouse.

So I let him sit in the trap for a few hours to live with what he had done, the way he had interrupted our lives and thrown them into a disheveled mess. He haunted our pantry and our dreams. I wanted him to reflect on that for a while. After watching the Red Sox game, I filled a garbage bag with water, wished Mordachi well, and told him I was sorry. He squeaked frantically and still tried to pry himself loose from the glue.

I'm sure there's a deeper meaning here, a life lesson to be learned. Something about the balance of progress versus nature. Maybe something about the environment, about man's affect on nature and nature being forced to do what it can to survive. One could learn a lot about symbiosis from this experience. After all, Mordachi wasn't bothering us THAT much was he? We could have set our food apart enough that we would have been fine, couldn't we? He didn't do anything directly to hurt us or impede our daily lives did he? We could have lived in harmony and fostered a connection between ourselves and the more primitive nature that we ignore and sometimes fear.

On the other hand, mice are fucking disgusting and carry the plague, so I drowned him and tossed the bag in the alley.

Mordachi: Dead, Marcus: Alive

1 comment:

Jerry Hinnen said...

Like the new digs, Marcus. For some reason LJ always took forever to load so I'm glad you're over here. Keep it up and stay as Stone Cold as you were when facing the enemy here.