DECAMERON TALES #9 Jun 21, 2020
We live in a very old house which serves as an inn for the local mouse population. Those of you who attend our annual Xmas Eve party are aware of the long back story. In short, we have been waging a never-ending campaign against the rodents, first with snap traps, then with Hav-A Hart traps. While Sal winced when the traps went off, we discontinued them only when they lost their effectiveness.
Our mice had begun to organize. In the quiet of the night in the basement, a lead mouse sat on its haunches wearing a mortarboard. In his paw, he wielded a toothpick for a pointer and drilled his class in the essentials of stripping the trap of bait without tripping it.
I soon learned that deceased mice were far easier to manage than live ones. The live ones are rude and often unruly! Since I was elected to release them at a safe distance (“that’s man’s work”), I chose the Nepaug State Forest as a suitable spot. Perhaps in remorse for the bushels of furry little heads that we have collected over the years, Sal insists that I scatter food about prior to releasing my riders.
There are a number of things a grown man would prefer not to be seen doing in broad daylight, this among them. The stage is set.
Recently when I was delivering my uber riders, I pulled into the forest turnoff only to see a semi nestled in the spot. The rig’s motor was running and I assumed the driver was catching some Zs. Not a problem. This particular delivery consisted of two mice in the same trap, an unusual development – I do believe they were newlyweds.
Mice react differently to unexpected freedom. My observations have revealed that one-third of the rodents (32.5%), stage a Banzai attack rather than run into the woods. They have been known to run up my pant leg. Little mousie claws working their way up one’s leg is a most disconcerting sensation. I long ago perfected my evasive maneuvers.
My suspicions were justified when they squeaked out a charge and had at me. My routine worked to perfection! A graceful sidle to the right, a pirouette, a leap and a clever finishing move that I picked up from Pilobolus. Thwarted, they ran under the truck. I looked up only to see the semi operator watching me in his very large rear-view mirror.
I was seen! I was observed! I was unmasked! A grown man being chased around a parking lot by mice. How can I face the world after this? But of course, he was too far away to see the rodents. All he saw was a capering, dancing figure giving homage to Creation’s silvan handiwork, the churches being closed. Given the times, a degree of spiritual ecstasy is certainly understandable. I was greatly relieved.
On my way home, I began to wonder if my routine was perhaps becoming a bit stale. I need some new moves. My niece Shannon, a slight arachnophobe, has a wonderful energetic spider dance, far more athletic than my mousie dance. Perhaps she would teach me some moves. A duet! At this year’s Christmas party we could perform to the strains of the “Nutcracker”. She could dance in place and I’d lark around her. We would provide the younger family members a memory they would never forget. I could play the Rat King. We’d have to add Shannon’s character, Arachnia, the Spider Queen. Costumes would be wonderful! But who would make them? My sister Heps is a fearsome seamstress. I have high hopes!