The Hive

I'm just another dude with too much time on his hands. It really doesn't have anything to do with ants.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Bad news in the Hive: we're being overrun by mice.

The first sign was the total havok they had wreaked upon my large stock of rice I keep around for when I decide to drunkenly make curry every 2-3 weeks. Yeah, ruined it was. I didn't see it, but my roommate Adam assured me that, had I attempted to cook anything with it, we'd all have died of hantavirus.

Adam discovered this because his parents were coming up for the weekend, you see, and so he embarked upon a massive trailer-cleaning campaign that evidently lasted almost the entirety of Saturday while I was at work. The place looked great, but we paid a hefty price for our boastful cleanliness: it stirred up the resident mouse population something fierce.

Initial visual contact came at approximately 1:30 AM Sunday morning, when I walked out of my bathroom and saw something dart across the floor of my room. After a manful shriek or two, I collected myself enough to investigate, at which point I saw a tiny mouse poke out its head from behind a slab of wood that (for some unfathomable reason--actually the reason being that Adam's brother, who used to live here, left all kinds of junk around I haven't bothered getting rid of yet) is leaning up against the wall here. If I were a cartoon character, surely a giant "!" would have popped up over my head at that point.

But I'm a man of action, so I quickly charged it, scaring it behind my mattress. At which point it basically completely disappeared: I dragged my bed away from the wall, looked up and down for mice or mouse holes, of which there were none, then eventually lied down to do some reading. No more than 15 minutes later, I saw it dash across the other side of the room and bury itself in the interminable depths of clothing I keep neatly tossed in a heap in the closet. Realizing it was much faster and evidently smarter in the ways of hiding in small areas than I am in scouring vermin from their hidey-holes, I did the smart thing, and went to sleep, hoping the mouse and the pair of totally enormous houseflies buzzing around my room would start up a poker game, get sloshed, grievously insult each other and then slay each other in a duel, leaving me with no more to do in the morning than clean up the corpses and their tiny, tiny cigarette butts.

No such luck. I got up today, Sunday, to get down to my busy football-watching schedule, and it wasn't long before we saw a mouse scamper across the living room.

Okay, I don't know how versed everyone is in mouse behavioral patterns, but that isn't really normal. Mice don't just run around out in the open where they can be snatched up by owls or clubbed down by football-watching giants (well relative to them anyway, I'm just medium-sized). Adam remarked on this himself: he's had mice before, he says, but he's never seen them just completely flaunt their presence like this before. They like to hide out and chew holes through cereal boxes, not run circles around us as we search for suitable armament.

Basically, then, we knew these dudes were serious. The war was on.

Adam had set up a number of those sticky-traps that mice get stuck to and can't move from, but educated as I was on a strict Warner Brothers diet, I knew that, as those traps stand, they won't catch any mice except by luck. They need bait. Specifically, they need cheese, and so I hacked a piecs off a car battery-sized block of pepper jack I'd recently purchased and laid it out in one of the traps. Then we sat back for more football.

Shortly after this trap-enhancement process, I asked Adam, "Do mice even actually like cheese?"

"I really don't know," he said, glancing up from his new SSX snowboarding game.

"Okay, so we're declaring science as well as murder here," I said. "Because if mice don't actually like cheese, that's got to be like the greatest misconception on the face of the earth."

Not twenty minutes later, we'd caught a mouse. Definitive proof of the irresistable allure of cheese! Along with heinous barbarism, as Adam wrapped the mouse and its trap up in a bag, took it outside, and hit it with a blunt object I never saw, but which judging from the outrageously loud hammering noises must have been enormous, like the kind of clubs you see cavemen fighting sabretooth tigers with, or English people trying to play baseball with.

The rest of the afternoon consisted of awesome football (last-second game-winning field goal for the Seahawks) and equally awesome World Series (bottom-of-the-9th walkoff homerun by ex-Mariner Scott Podsednik), occasionally punctuated by me seeing something dart across the floor or start rustling around in the pantry and alerting Adam, who took up a BB gun and lined up a shot while I hauled furniture and debris around till a mouse would sprint out from its cave and duck into a new one too fast for either of us to even be sure what it was, let alone for him to actually be able to take a shot at it. Then we'd redistribute the traps, or spray some crack-sealing foam around a few holes in cabinets and bathroom walls, or just swear a bit and then sit down again, and wait for the next mouse to show its pointy little face.

At the end of the day, I'd say the score stands as follows:

Mice 2 (pounds of rice contamined with their wretched mouse-feces), Adam & Ed 1 (mouse captured, then smashed into mouse-goo).

It is an asymmetrical warfare, where the mice know the terrain better and can easily hide among its many wall-holes, piles of dirty laundry, and dark cabinets. But we've taken action: sealing up the cracks, laying cunning cheese-laden traps in areas of heavy mouse traffic, and placing plates over the burners on the stove, which the mice seem to have been crawling up and through to get to our food supplies. (Side note: Adam and I discussed the cruel potential of turning on all the burners when we heard a mouse skittering around in there, but eventually the remnants of our humanity carried the day, along with the fact the trailer would totally smell like incinerated mouse for a really long time.)

But it's a war we can--nay, must--win. The future of our sandwiches, our Corn Pops, and our bags of uncooked California sweet brown rice depend on it. It may take months, even years, but we must carry this fight so our children can someday live in a world free from the terror of finding mouse shit mere inches from where they lay their towheaded heads at night. Because let me tell you, that's really fucking gross.


At 11:27 AM, Blogger RhysDavid said...

This probably isn't a realistic solution, but a cat would help you slaughter the mice. Prefarably a young male that still has his balls.

Cats are SO vicious and cruel when it comes to hunting. They just love tormenting their prey without killing it. Like serial killers, they seem to feed off the agony and suffering of their victims.

My cats are too old, fat, and lazy to hunt anymore. If the see a mouse, the'll just follow it with their eyes . . . then go back to sleep.

At 2:55 PM, Blogger ladyC said...

if you have any empty coffee cans, put your rice in there. you can also store your rice in the fridge. mice suck. jack russell terriers are pretty fierce for killing mice, but that's not realistic either. good luck, ed. may the force be with you.

At 5:22 PM, Blogger Ed said...

Don't worry. I am to mice what Chuck Norris is to that Eastern European dude in Invasion USA: the guy with a bazooka that is going to shoot you out a window in slow motion where we can clearly see your disembodied foot spinning through the air.

I thought briefly about a cat, but really, that's no sure thing. My parents have three and there's only one I'd trust to take out a mouse. The other two are fat idiots who won't even kill a spider.

Still, the whole cheese thing seems to be totally true--nabbed another with a cheese-baited trap today--so obviously it must also be true that, in the presence of mice, cats will do nothing but chase them (and occasionally fall off cliffs or get pounded to little scraps of fur by neighborhood bulldogs).

At 7:34 PM, Blogger ladyC said...

i had a mouse in my old apartment, and it was like a fucking sitcom. i tried to kill it with a broom as it was running and i sideswiped it. it started running on two legs like a car driving on its side. that one got away. but the next one was eaten by the dog. it was gross.
i just threw up in my mouth a little.

At 7:34 PM, Blogger ladyC said...

i had a mouse in my old apartment, and it was like a fucking sitcom. i tried to kill it with a broom as it was running and i sideswiped it. it started running on two legs like a car driving on its side. that one got away. but the next one was eaten by the dog. it was gross.
i just threw up in my mouth a little.

At 7:34 PM, Blogger ladyC said...

sorry about the double posting.

At 9:05 PM, Blogger RhysDavid said...

My dog once ate a live bird. Usually he can only catch moths and spiders. Such a better hunter than my lazy cats!

At 11:13 PM, Blogger ladyC said...

no shit. my house is bug free thanks to my dog Puka

At 1:06 AM, Blogger RhysDavid said...

dogs rule. ed's a dog-naysayer, coming from a cat only home

At 5:23 PM, Blogger Ed said...

We used to have a golden retriever named Lady, she was awesome. One time my dad went out pheasant hunting with his buddy Chris and they took Lady out with them to sniff out the birds after they'd been shot--they were hunting in Chris' overgrown asparagus fields, and as seeding asparagus gets monstrously tall and bushy, like 8-9 feet tall with little branches everywhere, it's basically impossible to find a bird once you've knocked it down without a good dog to dig it up.

Anyway, my dad shot one rooster, which Lady retrieved, and Chris shot one, which she retrieved. As they were walking around some more, she dashed out ahead, rustled around in the asparagus for a while, and came back with a third bird, completely on her own.

She also liked to catch mice, then deposit them in the yard and roll around on them, presumably to make it clear who was boss. You'd think killing them would prove that point, but dogs, who knows what they're thinking.

Still, cats are better.

At 5:28 PM, Blogger ladyC said...

dogs rule, cats drool

At 9:58 PM, Blogger RhysDavid said...

I guess the mice won . . .

I wish ed weren't the blogger person I knew :(

At 11:36 AM, Blogger ladyC said...

why's that rhys? ed! we miss your clever banter! more blogs!

At 4:00 PM, Blogger Ed said...

So evidently Adam caught two more mice when I was back in the Tri-Cities last weekend. The first one was just in a trap, but the second he saw dart behind a stack of phone books.

Adam shoved the phone books against the wall, hoping to scare out the mouse to where he could shoot it with his pellet gun.. but nothing came out.

He pulled away the phone books, revealing one crushed-ass mouse. Adam's got a thing about blood, so he took one look at that and puked right then and there.

I deeply regret not being there to see it.


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