Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Day 3. A Far Bigger (smaller) Problem
Peering out from the cloistering space of his greasy hollow- from the untouchable realm between floorboards and stove- the graveyard of fallen knives and salt shakers, where washed hands fear to reach- he snuffled his spindly nose, and launched himself into one last brave cannonball run to the light.
“AHH, ANOTHER ONE??” I leapt into the air with all the grace of a wounded zebra, and my spatula fell to the floor. In true stereotype housewife fashion, I began to tremble and squeal, as nervous dribble splashed from my mouth, as if I were a brain-zonked vegetable. The arrow of spit trembled, as if in slow motion, then drifted apart as it descended to ground, nearly hitting the mouse on his forehead.
The little rodent just stood there. He was sickly, perhaps dying of scurvy, as I hadn’t put any fruit under the oven in at least a week, and the chicken bones I’d left him were as vitamin-filled as a punk. He just sat upon the green vinyl flooring, shivering, as if he were cold, or epileptic, or about to spew or something, and my initial shock turned into jaded realisation.
“Mice die of old age in this place. This is like a Buddhist retreat for the furry vermin,” I thought it in meditative silence as I scooped him into a bucket.
I am living with a serious mouse problem. This is not funny. In previous universes I have neighboured with crack monkeys, dived head first into drunk dens, spent routine mornings brooming wolf spiders from their fertile nests behind furniture, and found renegade redbacks by the tips of my toes under the rim of the backyard kiddy pool.
But this is too much.
Not exaggerating, I have thrown three mice out of my first story window this afternoon. Count another one from yesterday, that’s four flying furballs in twenty-five hours. These are the ones I have found.
What about the unseen, the dark dwellers, the scratch, scratch, screeching at the sides of the cupboard, chewing at the chipboard of your consciousness, just as you begin to beggar into slumberland. What about them??
The first mouse I threw had appeared to be engaged in some kind of sneezing fit. The little germ bag waltzed out from his hideout beneath the refrigerator, and then he just sat, and began blowing bubbly sounds, and no doubt toxic snot, from his noisy mouse-haired nostrils. I stood transfixed from the middle of my mashing potatoes.
I mean, am I NO THREAT? When an asthmatic rodent is unintimidated by your presence, you really get a feeling as to what you equate to in the scheme of it all.
I’m actually surprised he didn’t walk over my face, or vomit on me.
I slanted up against the stove, eyes clear, wide, white, hair near catching alight on the burners, which were boiling steadily, attentively, where my potatoes were awaiting action. I raised the masher in front of my fear tangled features, protecting myself, crossed it against my scummy spatula and held it forward to act as my prayer stick, my crucifix against this brazen little demon.
And then, the ill, infested creature (not me, the mouse, you arsehole) started sneezing. Abstractedly I stared at him, wondering if I should lend him a tissue, or if he will sort himself out. THEN I remembered; the battle lines had already been etched, there were no free handouts, not today, Mickey.
Unabashed, he crawled in hay-feverish circles, ambling around the kitchenette like a doped-out don, owning the joint. I gently scooped him, with the finesse of a garbageman, into some soiled receptacle at hand.
I had captured the spook.
The little spooker of housewives, elephants, and now, he adds to the list, this Litho maniac, who runs in cold heat through the hallway. The mouse tried to clamber out of his container, but to NO AVAIL, anddddd LIFTOFF…
The fat fucker blew out into the orbit, to travail through the abyss of the afternoon.
Sniff the air, I did, in brief repose…the afternoon was accompanied by the gentle wafts of new spring shoots, I noticed as I leant out the sill, the muddy receptacle still tightly clutched in my palms. I took a far-reaching, all-endowing breath into my gullet, and gulped my fear of being entirely engulfed by pestilence away.
For five minutes.
The next feral I found, let’s call him “Big Bill”. This one, too, seemed to have a case of the willies, and was swooning spastically on the bathroom tiles. What was wrong with these things? Too many bucket billies rat features, you’re sliding all over the place. My bulging eye sockets came close to him. Ugly black-tinged hairs poked out of his back, as if he’d been misbred by a pug and a porcupine (the mouse, you dickhead). But he was in actuality, as they say in German, einen kleinen SCHMUTZIGEN mauschen, and as they say in Lithuania, it was time for him to fuckin’ fly.
Soooooaaaaaaring away into the infinite, number two went off to meet his cosmonautic fate.
In this state of war, being overrun by vermin, feeling like I was drowning in the suckers, I tried to avert my thinking by delving into some work.
I retired to my computer to transcribe an interview; A Lithuanian NATO officer who had recently returned from Afghanistan, whom I had recorded last week in a cafe. With calm, though grammatically poor, breaths, he was hammering on about “Explosions in the east,” and the “Security deteriorations caused by local Mullah,” or some such recountings, and with my headphones fortifying me from the rest of my foreboding flat, I finally felt tranquil. ”Women risk their lives just to go to school,” he drivelled on, as I swam into some disconnected nirvana. Total peace. But!
Just as there is peace in my minds middle east, my malfunctioning bladder decides to run AWOL on me.
It began to palpitate with drastic urgency, as I shuffled around in my seat.
“#&@**!#” (as they say in the comics), and I chucked my headphones down. The thin voice still bleating on about war torn hellholes, as I pelted to the toilet through mine.
I absconded to the depository. And there. THERE, mid-flush, between the chain yank and the woosh of water, out of the corner of my evil eye I spotted number 3.
Lucky Number 3.
This one was scrambling in the bathtub, unable to climb to freedom, trapped in a porcelain prison. His pink limbs scrambled up the walls in quick bursts, then in a fit of trying, (which probably would’ve looked cute to eyes less disgusted than these), it slid down the tubs green and hard-water tinged sidings with a cacophonous rrrrrrrrrrrrr, like a window squidgee of filth.
“Enough,” I thought in the mindset of a radical religionist, “This Buddhist temple is shutting its wooden doors TONIGHT.”
I retrieved my loyal receptacle.
Somewhere inside me, as I walked to the window, a little bell chimed, a dinging nugget of truth,
“This is oblivion. This is what it looks like,” The bell-ringer whispered.
And as he went on gonging his preposterous binging triangle, I shook and sweated, and vowed to the Starlets of the Moon and the Twenty Seals which bind them, ONE DAY, yes, one day, I will get a real job.
As I opened the shutters and sent our third astronumbat into the evening sky, (pre-warning him of aviation lesson number one, primarily to land ALIVE) I noticed a pair of glinting green eyes watching from beneath my window.
Perched and purring, a fuzzy black and blue tortoiseshell buddy was winking up at me.
A cat had taken roost beneath my ever-giving sill.
“You wait the night out, Ginger. Methinks it’s just the entrée.”
And I shook out my receptacle, departed the night air, and crawled back into to my safely dimlit spot- between the oven and the floorboards, where the hands of washed men fear to reach.