The mouse that roared, sort of

Unwelcome signs of little creature litter the house

My day has just gotten off to a crappy start. I found a mouse turd lying on my desk between the TV remote and my column notebook. It wasn’t there an hour ago when I read morning emails an hour ago.

So where did it come from?

Granted a layer or two of this and that – notes, promotional letters from charities, file cards for requesting library books – litter my desk.

Yesterday I sorted through a two year collection of The Writer and Good Times collected on the bottom shelf of my Debbie Travis computer cabinet, piling them on the desk.

The turd could have been sandwiched in one of those, a holdover from the mouse that invaded my kitchen back in August. Maybe this morning I pushed aside a note exposing the filthy thing.

Wish I could carbon date this specimen. It would ease my mind if it turned out to be only a reminder of that mouse’s pre-hibernation visit mere days before I hosted three fishermen for a week.

You can bet I never raised the mouse as a conversation topic.

A western wag wily to ways of exterminating varmints suggests I bite this turd with my front tooth to test for hardness:

“Really hard means it is old; don’t worry about it.

Medium, the critter probably has been around a while, but not recently.

If the turd squishes rather than breaks, set out poison or a trap to catch it.

In any case like a good wine taster, do not swallow the turd; just savour it and spit it out.”

I’m not falling for that one. I refer to biting.

As a farm kid who battled many mice, I never met a mouse turd softer than granite, no matter how fresh.

Evidence left behind in August revealed that mouse roamed my bedroom, including my pillow while I slept on it, as well as the kitchen cupboards before trapping itself under the kitchen sink at the bottom of a tall plastic Safeway bulk bin too slippery for it to climb out of.

At least it displayed a normal healthy appetite for food.

This mouse nosed around my reference books – a Webster’s dictionary, Roget’s Thesaurus, and Bartlett’s Quotations. Hints this could be a refined mouse intent on acquiring culture? Or does it lack the street smarts to pick a path less visible? As long as it can’t read it won’t anticipate the mayhem I am planning.

I have three traps and plenty of poison left over from dealing two years ago with a mouse who shuttled from the compost box to the greenhouse. A well aimed spade ended his forays.

Could this invader have laid down a trail, like a bee or ant, that other mice can follow?

What is the average life span of a partnerless mouse? If it fails to find a mate, can I at least look forward to it dying of a broken heart? And if so, how long might that take?

Though this moocher has no pre-arranged rental agreement with me perhaps treating it like any tenant will hasten its departure. I can begin by posting a set of house rules modelled after landladies from my youth:

No noise after 10 p.m.

No overnight visitors.

No consumption of liquor.

No doubt I should include drugs.

Landladies often stipulated “Only three baths per week” or some such water restriction but this freeloader would never run the tap unnecessarily.

I’m convinced, regardless of the civilized behaviour of Stuart Little and other movie mice, real mice never drink. How else would they flourish to overpopulate grain bins or barn lofts?

Yikes! I found a second mouse turd beside the phone.

Claudette Sandecki listens for the pitter patter of mouse paws from her Thornhill, B.C. home.