It was a brutal affair, from the discovery to the chase, from the ambush to the frontal attack. The collateral damage was immense. The broken glass, the upended rice tin, the scattered biscuits and oh god, the spilled bottles of seasoning. The panic came as an escape appeared likely, prompted by a careless miscalculation of the hastily prepared fortifications. But the worst moment came mid-morning as the hunter and the hunted faced off in the confined quarters of a dark, dingy setting, one that meant only one would come out alive.
“Yikes,” screams the good lady wife.
There’s a mouse in the house.
It’s over there, it’s under the chair,
Open the doorway, it’s down the hallway,
Grab the big broom, it’s in the bedroom.
What to do?
Ginger the cat is scratching the mat
She’s going mental, no longer gentle
She’s also too fat, my fault that.
But, has she the nous to catch that mouse?
She has no pace, but watch this space…….
It took days before it was all over. Ginger was useless. All noise and no grit. A full investigation on how the mouse got into the house revealed Ginger had carried her in, hanging by the mouth clutched between those razor sharp teeth of hers. Ginger was not a killer, as it happened. She just wanted to play. But she loosened her grip, let the rodent slip and now this mouse put both fear and loathing into the hearts of we two gentle, if not slightly demented, definitely forgetful, aged pensioners.
We never realised there was a mouse in the house until we noticed that Ginger was showing more than a passing interest in the goings on underneath the single seater armchair adjacent to the three metre long entertainment unit. It was unusual for her to be lying on her back with one leg reaching out underneath the couch as far as she could stretch it. What a sight! She already had a scratching pole. Why was she doing calisthenics on the floor?
What was she up to, I thought, just as the Brisbane Heat star opening batsman smacked a mighty six into the SCG crowd. That’s when the mouse caught my eye, as if the cheering of the crowd was the cue to make its bid for freedom.
It’s under the unit, I just saw it
The furry little thing, I’ll give it something
But now that we know, it’ll probably keep low
I should buy a mouse trap in the morning.
Ginger sprang for the chase
Tried to grab it with her face
Didn’t work drat, it’s too smart for that
As it made a break for the pantry.
After some convincing, the good lady wife agreed that we keep the pantry door shut thus assuring the safe incarceration of the rodent overnight. Morning came and my local Coles had the traps stacked on the shelves. There they were alongside a plethora of deadly alternatives in nicely packed boxes all blazoned with colour and design that oozed success.
I decided to throw some ratsac in for good measure. You never know what fear does to one’s culinary tastes. And, one never knows what else might be lurking in the dark corners of an overstocked pantry.
Do we have any cheese, I asked of the good lady wife, as I recalled those images of Tom and Jerry I use to love at the Saturday matinee at the Broadway theatre in Camberwell. Ah, those were the days. Lots of mice hung around the house back then. Lots of traps set. Lots of waking during the night to the sound of a sudden and precise snap that pierced the still night hush. I never saw the poor things in the morning. Dad always protected us from psychological traumas during our tender, formative years.
I arrived back from Coles and planned the assault with my deadly weapons. As I opened the pantry door, a lone trickle of sweat rolled down my cheek. The big moment had come. My heart was pumping a zillion to the minute. There was no turning back. The hinges made a squeak and immediately ruined any element of surprise. No sign of the rodent as I entered the field of battle gently closing the door behind me. I rustled a few items in the waste paper basket and listened for some movement. Nothing!
There was only one way to do this; clear out the pantry, one item at a time. Laborious to say the least, but what can one do? The good lady wife took up position just outside the pantry door. We called it a rearguard defense in the army because she was in the rear and it was defense, of sorts.
We tried so hard not to make a mess
But in the end I must confess
Bottles fell and opened packs spilled
Liquid flowed freely, oh my god, really?
Then in a flash the rodent appeared
Stuck his head out looking weird
I reached out suddenly, not very well planned
And grabbed it firmly with a clutching hand.
“I got it,” I yelled to the good lady wife. “Open the front door and let me out.” With that I scrambled to my feet and headed off down the front driveway. This intruder would never darken our door again. As I walked across the street to the vacant lot, a feeling of confusion overtook me. My plan was to kill it stone dead but compassion took charge of the moment.
It was an honourable victory
No need to be cruel
We fought a good fight
A gentleman’s duel
So I let him go
To live another day
Told him never come back
As I waved him away.