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  • The Scrivener

Diary Entry: FEBRUARY 11, 2023.

Updated: Mar 16, 2023

It was Saturday night; I was sitting in my RV trailer watching a DVD of a TV series on my laptop.

A pale brown deer mouse scuttled over the bedclothes at the bottom end of my bed.

He looked hurried, like someone with a train to catch, or someone with an important client to meet. His demeanor was very middle class, angst-ridden, and vaguely self-important. His body language seemed to be saying he was far too busy to be trifling with me. And I was thinking, Hey I’m not the interloper here; you’re the interloper here, and it’s MY fucking bed.

At that time I thought the war against the rodents had already been won, but here was Mr. Bourgeois Mouse making it clear that I was mistaken. I just couldn’t understand how he had managed to reach the bed at all.

Maybe he had made the Long March, from the bathroom at the back of the trailer, along behind the propane furnace, taking the top of the horizontal portion of the sink waste pipe, continuing behind the refrigerator and somehow emerging at the top of the utility locker in the bench seat that formed that end of the bed. It was curious. There did not seem to be any access point to the bed from behind the refrigerator. This was the second mouse who had appeared where the bourgeois mouse appeared. His predecessor had already paid the ultimate price.

The mouse looked too respectable to provoke the usual tirade of invective. He radiated an irrepudiable air of entitlement. Entitled or not, he could not be allowed to go wandering hither and thither all over me while I was asleep.

So I wearily retrieved an unset Victor mousetrap from the bathroom, baited it with peanut butter, set it, and placed it under the table top that formed the platform for the bed when the trailer was in sleeping mode. It was pretty hit or miss; the trap was not obviously on the mouse’s way to anywhere.

The baited trap was also about forty inches from my right foot; so, I was seated in the front row for the action that was about to unfold.

After fifteen minutes, (the first time the trap was sprung), the bailer arm came over so violently that the trap jumped into the air and came down inverted. I examined it by the light of my Petzl headlamp.

But it was empty.

There was still peanut butter on the bait carrier, mixed unwholesomely with mouse saliva. I reset the trap without adding any extra peanut butter, and returned it to its location under the bed.

After a further ten minutes the trap made a more subdued clicking sound than it had the time before, as the bailer arm was released a second time.

This time the trap made a textbook kill.

The deer mouse was halfway on to the trap’s wooden baseplate. It was in the center with its body lying along the longitudinal axis of the trap; the rail on the bailer arm was lying across the mouse’s broken neck, at a perfect right angle to the mouse’s vertebral column.

Let me be clear: I derived no particular joy or pride from the geometrical perfection of the death scene. It was just something I happened to notice. So sudden death, even the sudden death of a mouse, brought some trauma with it, in the form of a jarring, incongruous image.

I was just relieved that the issue had been resolved before bedtime.

My neighbor’s sole criterion for deciding whether or not to re-use mousetraps was the question of whether or not the trap had blood on it. The bourgeois mouse had bled on my trap from the corner of its mouth; so, the trap had to go.

I found an old disposable plastic Walmart bag (liberally adorned with exhortations that it should be re-used or recycled), dropped the trap into it with the mouse still attached, and threw the whole mess into the dumpster across the driveway from my front door.

At least now I could sleep easier, knowing that I had the trailer to myself.


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