Friday, September 21, 2007


Note: Post updated on Sept. 21, 8:10 p.m..

This is a true story:

09/17/2007: I wake up, check the clock. 2:00 a.m. I hear noises coming from the darkness outside of the bedroom. Tapping noises. I wait a minute, heart thumping deep, hoping it was my imagination. Willow begins to bark as it starts up again. Definitely not my imagination.

V is awake now. We both lie still, listening carefully, whispering "what the fuck is that?" I get up the courage to check it out. It's coming from the kitchen, where the back door is. When I get close, the noises stop. I turn on the light to the back porch and quickly look out; nothing there.

Must've been the neighbours coming home or something. I go back to bed.

I try to sleep, but a few minutes later, there it is again. Tapping, scraping on plastic. V urges me to get up again; I swear it's right at the back of the house. This time I grab our biggest knife after flipping the lights on. Again, the noise stops as soon as I get close to the kitchen. I figure if it was a leaky faucet or the fridge or the house shifting, it wouldn't react to my presence. This scares me.

I bring the knife back to the bedroom. This time I don't even try sleeping. Five minutes later the tapping starts up again. This time, I creep slowly to the kitchen and don't turn the lights on. It's definitely not coming from outside. It's definitely coming from the vicinity of the sink. That leaves two possibilities: it was a leaky faucet after all, or someone is trying to break into the window directly above the sink.

I inch closer. I don't see any dripping.

But then I look into the sink. There's a bowl filled with bubbly water there. A bubble pops and it makes a faint plasticy tap. Relief fills me, I dump the fucking bowl of water that has been popping all night, keeping me up, and curse myself for being so worried about something so silly.

With an explanation found, I'm able to fall asleep, but in the back of my mind, I'm wondering if the noise stopping whenever I got near could really have been sheer coincidence. I'm drifting off to sleep, but in the back of my mind, my ears are still picking up something scraping at the back of the house.

09/18/2007, 9:00 a.m.: There's no sign of anyone trying to break in. I guess the water bowl theory was correct after all.

09/18/2007, 2:00 a.m.: I wake up for no apparent reason, then realize it's the same deal as last night. Willow barks, I sigh and grab the knife.

I sneak into the kitchen real slow and ninja-like. This time I left the light on out back, and there's clearly nobody there. This time, the sounds don't stop when I get close. They're coming from the kitchen sink; no, from the cupboards beside the sink; no, from the other set of cupboards. Only a very small midget could fit into my cupboards and move that fast. Unlikely. I come to the realization that it was something alive all along - probably mice or giant cockroaches - just not a human.

I'm not gonna do much critter killing with a knife, so I go back to bed and eventually get to sleep.

09/19/2007, 12:00 p.m.: I go to make Indian food, and my suspicions are confirmed. There's wet mouse shit all over the pots and pans.

Later, V looks in the other cupboards. There's shit everywhere. Either there are a lot of mice who just became our roommates, or it's one mouse with overactive bowels. I hope it's the latter.

I go to get mouse traps. In addition to the normal wooden ones, there are cardboard tents with glue on the bottom. Mice run into these, they get stuck, then they lie there all night until they dehydrate to death, have a heart attack out of fear, or someone kills them. No thanks. There are also plastic ones. The diagram on the package shows a line drawing of a hand squeezing the trap, and a little line-drawn mouse is falling directly into the garbage can. Touch-free operation, like it's changing the bag on a vacuum cleaner or something. I get a lump in my throat and consider turning around and just living with it. But shit in my food probably isn't healthy, so I skip the gooey tent of horrors and get the two less sickening deathtraps.

I load them up with peanut butter and discover that sleep is hard when you're constantly anticipating a loud snap that means you've just murdered something.

09/20/2007, 10:00 a.m.: I get up, check the traps. Nothing there. I do a double-take; nothing there. No peanut butter, no body. The little rat bastards managed to lick the peanut butter up without setting off the trap. I'm both happy for them and annoyed, and it's a weird feeling. Looking closer, there is shit all over the ground below the trap. Man they shit a lot. I redo the traps, putting PB right on the trigger this time.

09/20/2007, 11:12 p.m.: Just as I start writing this very blog post *, there's a snapping sound from the kitchen. I'm afraid to look. I won't be able to sleep tonight if I look. It can wait until morning.

Just before bed, I see one running across the floor. So it's a family, then.

09/21/2007, 9:00 a.m.: So there it is, this little creature that shares most of its DNA with mine, dead because of me. I do it quick, just like in the line drawings, not looking too close. I especially don't want to look at the underside, because then it might go from being an "it" to a "he" or a "she", and that would just be too much for me.

09/21/2007, 8:00 p.m.: As I update this post, another snap. Fuck!/Yay!

Well there you go. Another joy of owning a house, I guess.

* Astute readers will notice that yes, I write blog posts in advance sometimes. It's so people don't realize I'm loserish enough to have more than one thing to blab about in one day. Is that so wrong?


Jennifer said...

Honey, you have mice. Welcome to fall.

Phronk said...

You're giving away the ending!

Harry J. Sachz said...

Living in the violence-filled, crime-infested place we call SoCal, we sleep much better after getting an alarm system. So instead of staying awake with fear, you can just roll over and think, "oh, its probably something stupid making that noise"

sirbarrett said...

It could have been gremlins. There is a big gremlin problem going around. They threw a whole roll of toilet paper in my toilet and plugged it up and I haven't even found them since. They could be making those noises too, not the rats.

Wouldn't that make you feel horrible to know you were viciously murdering furry little creatures that were as innocent as Gizmo?

SharkBoy said...

the last time I screamed like a girl was when I got up at 5am to to the bathroom in the brand new house we had just bought and a mouse ran over my foot... At 7am, I was a the convenient store down the street waiting for them to open, got 5 traps, loaded them with PB... I caught 2 by the following day...
Then I looked at my 2 cats and told them that this was how you caught mice... idiot cats.

Nancy said...

Do you want to borrow a cat? I have three. One is about the size of Willow and used to catch pidgeons. I could send them all over but they would probably (as cats do) gang up on Willow and kill her.

Pavel Chekov said...

When you stop murdering rodents, the terrorists win.

tornwordo said...

I love the Fuck/Yay part. I know the feeling exactly.

Salem said...

There's something about having mouse shit all over your dishes that makes the killing a little easier.

Phronk said...

Saschz: Good idea. An alarm system is something I do want someday, especially with easy to steal electronics around.

Sirbarret: That's true. Though according to a documentary I saw about Gremlins, it could also be my dead father rotting in the chimney after a failed attempt to play Santa Clause.

Sharkboy: worst fear is to have one run over my foot.

Nancy: I would, but sadly, even one would probably be willing and able to eat Willow.

Chekov: I knew I saw tiny turbins on those mice!

Tornwordo: Yeah it's a weird feeling.

Salem: A little. Maybe that's how terrorists do it; "see that shit on your bed? AMERICA DID THAT."

madamerouge said...

Did you name your dog after Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer ?

Phronk said...

Mmmmaybe. But that's sorta embarrassing, so I tell people she's named after the midget Willow.

Jason said...

I think we have mice too. I can deal with just about anything except mice. There is something really filthy and creepy about having these invisible things running around shitting everywhere.

madamerouge said...

D'oh! I remembered tonight that I already asked you that question.

Sorry for the repeat. I was a huge, huge Buffy fan. I can't get used to Alyson Hannigan as a brunette on her new show.

Phronk said...

Jason: Yeah. The mouse's ability to go invisible is highly underrated.

Madame: I knew I'd seen that question before! And look, I gave exactly the same stupid answer too. People are so predictable.