It was the incessant noise of rodents eating their way through the rafters that finally broke my normally unbreakable spirit. Gnawing, scatching, scampering is bad enough but when I heard them engaging in foreplay, mating, and Christ only knows what else somewhere above my bed, I knew then that I’d be spending my weekend trying to trap the little buggers.
The sounds easier than it is. The house has been needing repairs for some time and there are now more holes for mice to wriggle through than you’d get in a World War 2 POW camp manned by nothing but Dickie Attenboroughs. Judy has been so busy out in the garden, recementing the patio, that she’s not had a moment to look into our problem. Clearly, I’d have to be shrewd in the way I approached the problem.
Poison may not be the most humane method of killing a critter but I thought it would be the easiest. The difficutly lay in getting them to eat it. We seem to have a superior mouse in the Madeley household and even the finest Hungarian goat cheese didn’t bring them to the table. By Saturday night, I’d got so desperate that I rang up Dr. Raj who agreed to come around and lend me a hand. He’s an expert in pretty much anything, and with two great minds on their tails, the mice would stand no chance.
Saturday night found us climbing up into the attic. I took out a whole elbow’s value of skin as I went but Dr. Raj insisted that he knew what he was doing. I keep all the old bric-a-brac from Good Morning up there and it was behind a large cardboard cut out of my head that we found the hole. Just as Dr. Raj had predicted, the mice were using the chimney to climb up from the basement. Dr. Raj put his hand on my arm and tapped the side of his nose.
‘I have just the solution to this particualr problem,’ he said in a breathless rush and opened his medical bag, which he carries with him at all times, and removed a small bottle and a piece of cheese. ‘This will kill them instantly,’ he said as he applied a few drops to the cheese and pushed it through the hole. ‘It’s a very powerful nerve drug. Lethal to mice. Come on,’ he said, snapping the bag shut. ‘Our work here is done.’
Well, there wasn’t a squeek out of the mice all Saturday night and into Sunday morning. Then, around three o’clock yesterday afternoon, I heard Judy scream and the sound of a body hitting the floor. At first, I didn’t bother myself too much. Judy is always screaming and usually fainting. I’ve known her to have a dizzy spell just because we’ve run out of butter.
I found her slowly coming around on the kitchen floor.
‘What the hell’s the matter?’ I asked. 'I saw a fresh block of butter in the fridge door only this morning.'
She waved a trembling hand towards the sink. ‘Look,’ she said.
With my mind on butter, I didn't expect to see a mouse in the bowl. It had become trapped. Not only was it trapped, but it was in a terribly agitated state. It would give a squeak and then run around the bowl and give another squeak towards the place it had been previously standing. It kept on doing this for as long as I watched it. Then Judy gave another scream and jumped up from where she’d been lying next to the dryer. Sure enough, behind the dryer, another mouse seemed to be holding a conversation with itself.
I grabbed the second mouse by its tail and stuck it down the garbage disposer unit along with the first. Not that it solved the problem, except by two insignificant mice with obvious psychological problems.
‘You’ve done it again!’ I told Dr. Raj when I got him on the phone two minutes later.
‘What’s the problem? Didn’t the drugs work?’
‘Work? I’ve got a house full of mice all suffering from multiple personality disorders,’ I screamed. ‘Technically, you’ve managed to double the number of mice in the house in a matter of hours.’
‘How odd,’ said the good Doctor, ‘but if this is now a psychological problem, then you know I can’t help you on a weekend. Ring my office first thing Monday morning. I’ll book the mice in for a few sessions.’
I told him what he could do with his sessions. A few thousand mice, each requiring a course of Dr. Raj's therepy, would cost more money than there is currently in the Bank of England. We’d have to start another phone quiz just to pay for it.
And that’s how things stand this Monday morning. We’ve got a house full of mice who think they’re also rats and who only knows what else? However, before I go off and ring for some professionals, I have a few mice facts for you. Did you know, for instance, that mice are some of the most psychologically fragile animals, followed by ferrets, turtles, and the tufted sand hopper? They eat ten times their own body weight in a single day but are very susceptable to criticism about their weight. They don’t always eat cheese since they prefer low fat alternatives. Mice are extremely good pets, though the government have issued new policies about their disposal. No longer is it advisable to flush them down the toilet when they die. Special pre-paid mailable boxes are now available free at vets and all dead pet mice should be sent to the government for correct disposal.