“Love to eat them mousies; them mousies what I love to eat. Bite they tiny heads off; nibble on they tiny feet.” This poem was printed on the coffee mug I gave Dad 30 years ago. It was decorated with cartoon mice and was his absolute favorite present from me – he used it every morning. That is until he smashed it to murder some Manhattan cockroaches. (“Dad, why are you leaving dead roaches on the counter?” “As an example to the others.”)
At this point I would welcome a visit from the cutest pink-nosed mouse in the universe. Because cut to 30 years later and there’s a horror show under my Jersey City, punk-ass floor boards: rats a-squeak after midnight have presumably slimed their way through neighborhood sewers to greet me. They keep me awake with their late-night chattering. Mice don’t talk – they root around, dart across the floor, and poke their heads out just far enough to be adorable.
Now the mysterious under-floor scratching I’ve been listening to finally makes creepy sense. We’ve actually had rats for years; I’ve only just discovered it. Fantastic.
Ahh, the old days, (10 years ago) when an empty garbage pail smelled enough like dinner to attract my favorite mouse, and my worst fear was to hear late-night scampering. What happened to my pal from 83rd Street?
He found some way in to the garbage can, but couldn’t negotiate his way out despite furious jumping. I wasn’t sure who was in there – I heard a pouncing sound and tiptoed into the kitchen. Boing – he sprang up. Oh, he almost made it to the rim! But no, he was trapped.
My adrenaline was pumping, but I grabbed my coat and keys and ran down First Avenue with an empty (to the casual viewer) garbage can, and deposited bouncy mouse on 79th Street. I suppose I could have dropped him closer, but 79th Street seemed to provide more options. He ran straight into a drain anyway, completely ignoring the doorman buildings and frat bars. And I moved from Manhattan to Jersey.
I now feel compelled to address the staggering cultural difference between an apartment house populated with mice, who contribute to science during business hours, and one with rats, who despite some medical service, carry the plague and act in horror films.
To the rats of Bergen Hill, Jersey City, Apartment 3: I know people. Lawyers, people who summer, some of whom eat pâté – I have access to the kind you’re really looking for. Roomy mansions, huge apartments, compost heaps; sky’s the limit. It’s either that – or a few green balls of anti-coagulant disguised as yum-yums are headed your way. I know where to place them (corners of the basement) and how you must be disposed of (before decomp sets in). I’m a communicator; I hope you can appreciate that.