*(title stolen from a favourite childhood book by Ally Sheedy – yes, that Ally Sheedy)
It’s good to love animals, right? Good people, kind people, Disney princess-type people…that’s who loves animals, right?
How do you know if you are taking the animal-lover thing a bit too far?
Last year I found a dead mouse in my kitchen cupboard. It really sucked. More for the mouse than me, I admit, but still an awful lot of sucking. And it was all my fault for storing an Evil Oil Lamp in my cupboard, just begging for a cute, wee little house mouse with an acrobatic personality to dive into the glass chimney and become trapped, doomed to what was likely a long, slow, torturous death of starvation and terror. (And this story also illustrates how much action my kitchen cupboards get, in terms of domestic activity.)
How did this mouse get into the cupboard, you ask? How did this wily mouse make it past the Cat Guards of Death? (Um, yeah – this story also illustrates how completely useless be my cats.) Well, this cupboard (now haunted) has a hole in it, a pre-existing hole from an old stove pipe, which was never covered over.
Of course, the logical solution would be to now cover it up. But this mouse had a family! It must have! How would they now make it through the long cold winter without their breadwinner?? I was now all they had.
Turns out they like trail mix. In little tiny mouse-sized bowls left in now-empty, now-haunted kitchen cupboards, while the provider of such provisions frantically seeks information on the Internet on how to live-trap and release wee cute little house mice.
Days pass. Bowl after bowl of trail mix are emptied surreptitiously by Bruce the Mouse (a mouse never seen, but imagined as the deeply bereaved spouse of the deceased, named for a dear friend of the Mousie-Lover who is prone to boasting of his manliness) every time the former owner of the Evil Lamp is not looking. Live-trapping was not being carried out as planned.
One day, Mousie-Lover arrived home, greeted at the door as usual by the Useless Cats, the eldest of which was supposedly slowing down in her old age and was, in fact, in recovery from a very recent surgery to remove bladder stones as well as most of her teeth. Mousie-Lover reached down to pat Elderly Cat, who gazed up innocently and sweetly with her aged eyes.
Mousie-Lover looked away, then looked back only to see Elderly Cat in precisely the same relaxed position as previously, only now holding a cotton ball in her mouth.
Mousie-Lover said, “Oooo, cotton ball not good for kitty!” and upon reaching down to remove the cotton ball, discovered that the cotton ball had wee little pink feet.
BUT do not despair just yet! Bruce had life in him yet! The little feet wiggled. One little dark eye peeped open, checking to see if the coast was clear. It clearly wasn’t, so he quickly closed it again, but the Mousie-Lover was not fooled!
An inspection of Bruce revealed no visible wounds, and a quick call to the vet (yes, the vet – shut up) resulted in the advice that the mouse may be in shock and the best thing to do would be to place him outside in a warm quiet place to allow him to recover. Which would have worked, had the neighbor’s cat not been so very very interested in what was happening inside that granola bar box. Back in the house we went. (After a brief encounter with a neighbor, who recoiled with a grimace from the box, saying, “You really love animals, don’t you?” as if she was saying, “You really love turds, don’t you?”)
I wish I could say that The Story of Bruce the Mouse had a happy ending. Despite being placed on a soft bed back in the temporary safety of the cupboard, little Bruce lost the battle and perished a few hours later.
The cupboard that was now haunted by TWO mouse ghosts was now forever doomed to remain empty and unused.
Except one day I was in a hurry and must have chucked a few things in there, not thinking.
Because I came home the other day to discover nothing in the cupboard but several empty wrappers.
This Bruce apparently really likes ground cinnamon and extra-strength black cherry cough drops.
One day the mother ship will come back for me, I just know it.