There is a mouse in the house. Since the beginning of the cold weather I have felt another presence in our little 3 bedroom NYC apartment. A few times out of the corner of my eye I would occasionally think that I saw a darting shadow. However the last few nights, my house guest has decidedly become another roommate.
“Gus” as I have named him, has boldly gone where no mouse has gone before. In fact, the other night as I was sitting on my couch relaxing, I looked up to see Gus meander from behind the bookshelf, stop and look me in the eye, and then walk nonchalantly past the peanut butter trap and behind the TV stand. Gus has moved in for the winter. To be completely honest, I don’t blame him. Our apartment is cozy and NYC has some pretty tough weather.
I suppose I am unusual, as mice don’t really scare me. Stick Gus in a cage and feed him a couple times a week and some would call him a pet. And Gus seems to have pretty good manners for a NYC mouse. He has not gotten into my food (I am not sure why, but I would guess that he has Seamless on speed dial) and if I could only potty train Gus I think that things might actually go well. In fact, Gus is almost cute for being in the rodent family. He is round and grey and very small, even for a mouse. Still, the thought of having a third roommate is not one of my fondest ideas.
However, last night…Gus and I had quite the epic battle. I shut off my light and climbed into my bed around midnight. A short while later I thought I heard a plastic bag on the floor near my bed rustling. A minute later I definitely heard the bag move. In a half asleep state I thought to myself, “If I turn on my light am I going to see a mouse sitting there? No, you are silly Jess, what is the likelihood that he is just sitting there waiting for you.” But low and behold I reach over to switch the light on and Gus is just hanging out next to my bed in the corner. As I sat and pondered what to do about the situation Gus just sat and looked at me. So I did as every sane person in this situation would do, I pulled out the Galaxy and snapped a quick photo. I believe that I may have seen teeth as Gus pulled back for a smile.
Now I am not a sadistic being. If Gus gets greedy and goes for the peanut butter trap the end will surely greet him, as is the way of city life. But looking at Gus helplessly chilling in the corner I knew I did not have the heart to take a broom to him. So I assessed the situation and pulled out an old towel. I threw the towel over Gus, quickly wrapped him up, and put the whole thing in the plastic bag he seemed to love so well.
Feeling triumphant, I slipped on my shoes and at 2:00am made my way outside and into the freezing cold. I walked a couple of blocks in hopes that Gus would not find his way back home and then went over to a park like grassy area. I opened the bag and pushed the towel out unwrapping it to let Gus free in his new home. I partially expected Gus to walk a few steps and then look back at me in appreciation of my charitable kindness. A hallmark moment let’s say.
But as the towel unraveled I saw to my utter confusion that it was empty. My mouth dropped open. There was no way! I had thrown it right on top of him and he didn’t run out from either side of the corner! I ran back into the house and inspected my room. I found out that Gus has a middle name, and it is Houdini. There in the corner was a tiny hole about the size of a quarter that led over into the next room. As I grimaced and sighed I thought I heard a small chuckle emit from within the tiny hole.
Today, as I sit and write stories about our new roommate, I look over across the room and see him happily trot along. He turns to seemly bid me say hello to all of you from him. He walks past yet another trap that I have set and scurries behind my shelf. Or should I say “our” shelf.
Gus has earned my respect. He is the boldest roommate I have had by far, and seems to be socially competent as well as extremely street smart. So now, the only thing left to ask is…how does one go about charging rent to a mouse?