Thursday, October 10, 2002


This morning dawned with muted light. A layer of mist clouded my little portion of the planet. The sun came up on time. Glen Zimmerman just told me so. I didn't see it. I was up late last night, sitting quietly in my laundry room... indian style on top of the washing machine. Listening. Listening. Dozing. Dozing. Snoring. Snoring. I finally had to admit that my very presence might delay the attack of the renegade rodent. I cleared my throat loudly, jumped off of the washer, stretched, and said in a loud voice, "Well, that's about it for me. I'm off to bed. I won't be back down here until after the sun comes up." And I tromped down the hall, a final confirmation to my little furry friend that he, once again, owned the night. I slept deeply, secure in the belief that my traps were more than able to handle the attack without me. Even field Generals must sleep.

And then it was morning. I rolled over in bed, reaching once again for the remote control, cursing myself for having stayed up too late yet again. And I froze. The battle. The rodent. The trap. I felt the beloved surge of adrenaline as I rolled over the edge of the bed and began working my way from "all fours" up to a standing position. I staggered down the hall, gazing ahead toward the battle ground. I delayed for a glass of orange juice served up cold and tasty in my favorite cheap, Wrigley Field plastic cup. Mmmmmmm. I moved into the short hallway leading from the Kitchen into the laundry room. Half way between the two is a bathroom. Just as field Generals must sleep they must also occasionally take a whiz. Some things will not wait. I took care of business and step anxiously into the hallway once again. As I entered the laundry room I glanced to the left. The trap by the garbage can was undisturbed. This is one smart mouse. I peered behind my gym bag only to find the same loaded trap that I placed there last night. What kind of beast is this? I might be dealing with a Harvard graduate here. At the very least he has attended "Mouse-Queda" training camps in the fields beyond the city limits.

I walked toward the corner containing the shoe rack, leaning to gaze over assorted items blocking my view. The trap had been sprung! At first I saw nothing. And then... I saw it. I saw HIM. He was upside down and I almost missed him. His white underbelly blended well with the pale, laundry room tile. But there was no denying those 4 little feet pointed stiffly sky-ward. His three inch tail told me that this was no amatuer. His entire length exceeds 6 inches. I heard a noise behind me and turned to see Bear glancing down the hall. I think he already knew. There was no smile on his golden face. Warriors take no delight in the killing. Life is precious. The moment calls for an aura of gravity. This mouse had not killed. He had not attacked human flesh. Oh yes, he had damaged my equipment and eaten my cheese but he was no killer. Still... he had to be stopped. For the sake of all that is holy and right... he had to be stopped. He was a thief... a raider. He struck without warning in the night. One of my children could have wandered into the laundry room in the dead of night searching for pajama's and he could have bitten a toe. He could have (and indeed, may have) pooped in Bears bowl. I have not told him... but I have reason to believe... And so while there is no joy... there is relief. There is a sense that justice has been done. The floors are safe for bare feet again.

I am currently processing the crime scene. Photo's are being taken. The chalk outline is being drawn. Prints are being taken. Dental records are being checked. Soldiers fight and soldiers die. It is a tragic fact of life. But he had a family and they need to know. In moments I will don my thick rubber gloves, my black motorcycle helmet with the face shield down, and I will remove the corpse. There will be no buriel... no memorial service. I will draw close to the garbage can next to my garage and I will flip his cold, lifeless body through the air and toward the can. He will fly end over end and smack into the side of the Rubber Maid container before sliding down with the rest of the garbage where he belongs. Justice has prevailed. Justice always prevails.

Case closed.