It was the most primal of days. Man vs beast. The ancient contest to see who would look like an idiot. I’d first caught site of the monster the day before. There he was, a wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie. When he jumped out on me it wasn’t just him with a panic in his breestie. I had visions of going on holiday to return to the locks changed and a family of mice having taken over my flat. It could not be tolerated.
For the two days previous I would sit down to my writing, the silence of the flat broken only by the clack of keys against my laptop. That’s keyboard keys, I wasn’t stabbing at it with the house keys or anything. And there it was, crawling out to have a look. I’m not sure who was more startled the first time; probably me. And so a day of editing was lost to the epic hunt for the mouse hole. With all the noise I was making I felt sure it would run straight for home. When I discovered a long established entrance to the mousey domain hidden next to a radiator pipe I was certain I had conquered the problem. They have never caused me issue, other than the questionable confidence my girlfriend has of my manliness when I squeal as a rodent jumps out on me. They just sort of pop their head in for a look. Either way, hole sealed, job done, there’s no way in. Back to work.
So the next morning the clacking fills the silence once more. And out pops a little head from the seat to my right. The little bastard hadn’t gone home.
He’d decided to stay a bit too long, and now there was no way home. We had sealed the beast in with us. So it was the traps went down over night. I offered him a choice, in trap A was death, swift and choppy, in trap B was life, a relocation to a new land covered in verdant grass and full of drizzle. The little git went for option C. Option C it turns out, while not on our cards, was very much on his. It was to make a new home for himself in an armchair.
Now I’m not sure if any of you have ever truly thought about how many places a mouse can hide in an arm chair, but it turns out it is rather a lot. So it was I spent an entire morning ripping out the covers to find the beast. I was armed with a trusty torch recently purchased for my mission and of course my mouse gloves. Yes, I have mouse gloves. They’re like marigolds but a sickly green colour and way cooler. All the while I tried to dig him out of his entrenched position, he just scampered around inside. I was ridiculed by every moment of those tiny black eyes looking at me, mocking my inability to catch him.
Finally I had him cornered. I’d torn apart a chair, leaving it upside down with no way out. In went the humane trap. I’d already traumatised him enough. Out comes the bloody mouse. I squeaked in a manly squeal that quickly turned into a roar in case the builders on the scaffolding opposite could hear me. So it is with the door sealed and his exit downwards blocked by steel wool I spent an hour and a half of my day, chasing a mouse around the room. It was one of my more dignified moments. In one hand I had a box ready to whisk him away to a new home, in the other hand I had a torch, because he kept bloody hiding. All the while my guilt was building. I didn’t want to terrify him, I just wanted him elsewhere. In the end I’d turned upside down most of the furniture, removing some and sealing up others. With his hiding places slowly diminishing he took refuge behind my TV. Given the impending 50th anniversary Dr Who next month I couldn’t risk him damaging the wires. I pounced. He pounced back. Luckily I was bigger.
So with a mouse in a box I went for a walk to find its new home. Nobody I passed that day knows the burning temptation I had to open the box next to a bus stop to see who screamed loudest. Nobody knows how badly I wanted to share my prize with every passer who passed of the by. All they knew was that some sweaty man with the grin of a triumphant hunter was walking down the street, with a bag stretched out in front of him, trying very hard not to laugh.
The important thing is though, I could get back to my editing. And so it is that I am so very nearly finished on the second edit of my first novel, working title Broken Sunlight. No mice were harmed in the making of this book. Although it was a bloody close call.