Three Dead Mice



There are many signs that could make a person aware of the squalid state they have let themselves and their house slip hopelessly into; a dirty plate still smeared with the spaghetti Bolognese from three nights ago lying next to a maltreated sink, perhaps, or a carpet that still bears the impressions of a rainy day’s kick about in the park two weeks prior. Yet, no symptom of the absence of sanitation is clearer, or indeed more sobering, than the discovery of a certain creature. Minute, furry, four-legged, wormy-tailed beasts that for thousands of years have been synonymous with dirt, disease and squalor: mice.

One night, about two months ago, the evening’s ceremony of ‘Football Manager’ and Tesco snacks was drawn to a close and my housemates and I retired to bed. However, upon the placing of my head on the pillow, I received a phone call from one of those who had equally prepared themselves for sleep but had just witnessed a terrifying event; an event that was to change everything.

“I’ve just seen a mouse…”

The words alone shook me to my core and I was abruptly hit with the enormity of the situation. I bounded out of my bed after only that moment’s hesitation and ran to the door of his room. I opened it and, with a flash thought of the creature I fell across his room in an awkward ballet resulting in him and me, two men with a collective 41 years of life experience, standing nervously upon the bed looking fearfully to the spot where the fiend had been sighted. We were joined by one other who took to the desk. Make that 61 years.

The plan was to shake the canvas wardrobe, of which the witness had seen the mouse climb (“I saw it’s disgusting little face looking at me from there!”), until it ran out from under it, at which point we would implement our death-devices: a boot, a brush and a mini-ironing board. The following chaotic scenes, across several rooms and for a good two hours, saw boots flung, mattresses removed, rooms scoured, people shushed, bags rustled, brushes slammed and many, many boyish shrieks, which all ultimately ended in futility. It was not the only night, or day for that matter, of its kind. The kitchen, the hallway and another bedroom have become witnesses to events of an equal nature; absolute cartoon scenes involving six men chasing creatures the size of their noses around their own home with saucepans and tennis rackets.

Two months and a third dead Jerry later, and Tom’s problem is still rife. The evidence: midnight scratches and diminutive faeces, the culprits: mischievous, cunning rodents, and the victims: pathetic, outwitted men. The situation does not look promising, and with a further six months left of living in this ‘house’, morale is at an all-time low. Nevertheless, we will not give up in this quest. We will finish this bathed in glory, the heroes of this mouse-human conflict. We will catch the mice that are left if it takes all the pans in the kitchen and all the man-muscle we can summon.

Or, we won’t because it’s too hard really.