I walked into the barn and looked at the new mouse traps. I got them a week earlier from Amazon. They were on sale.
The reason I waited to set the traps is because of something that happened a week prior. Baylee was walking and almost stepped on baby mouse that was scurrying under him. He was maybe the size of a nickel with a tail. We think he got lost or something and wasn’t ready to go solo in life, yet. I put a few drops of water on him and he reacted, so I figured he may have a chance.
I took an old Pop Tart box (WTF is wrong with me?) and tore off the top flaps. I turned it on its side and used a stick to gently push the baby mouse into the box. At this point, he wasn’t moving at all. I remembered I had a small bit of heavy cream for a ganache in the fridge that was turning. I ran into the house and got it.
I put a small amount of the almost rancid cream on his mouth and he started audibly smacking his lips. His fuzzy little hands finding his mouth to help push the liquid in. I put some chicken food in the small puddle of cream that I poured and let it sit in the box with him. I was fully prepared to find him dead in the morning, little fingers and toes all stiff. I would use the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pop Tart box as a coffin.
The night wore on and I could not stop thinking about this stupid baby mouse. I woke up in the morning, and even before I let the chickens out, I checked the box. I bet you can guess, there was no mouse.
“Something probably got it,” Sammy said.
“Um, what could get the mouse in a locked-up barn, and nope, he lived,” I said.
Inside the Pop Tart box were tiny little baby mouse poops. He must have been a little dehydrated or injured. I felt a sense of euphoria at having saved his life. I tossed the box into the trash can with the bright yellow liner.
Later that day, I went into the porch and noticed some Amazon boxes and dog treats (My mail carrier is better than yours). My body exhibited the Amazon.com high, the one that makes you want to almost dance. I tore into the box.
Mouse traps. Four. The kind that hide their bloody faces so the murderess can drop them into the trash without feeling badly. I put them in the barn and ignored the blaring hypocrisy.
A week or so later, more evidence of mice appeared. I took four traps out of four yellow boxes. I squinted as I read the directions. Steps one, two, and three. I used frozen pizza cheese from one the kids didn’t like.
The next morning when I went into the barn, I looked at the first trap on the top step. The metal piece was still all the way back which means there’s no mouse in there. The next two were on the landing, and one was half-way back.
“Shit,” I said out loud. At six AM. I was alone.
I turned away from it and went to do my morning chicken chores.
After I was done, I left their room. As I entered the main barn area, I felt the presence of the animal I killed. I walked quickly out the front door not looking in its direction. I prayed it wasn’t my mouse.
After a few hours, I found the courage (Baylee) to go back to the barn and take care of the animal in a respectful way. With my child at my side, I put on a glove and grabbed some menacing looking wire snips in lieu of pliers. I looked at the trap and saw the mouse’s soft little body and pointy tale coming out of the back.
“Oh, man,” said Baylee.
“I know I feel bad. We can’t have mice here.”
“I know, Mom. It sucks.”
I picked up the trap with my gloved hand, and it was noticeably heavier than it was the previous day. I held it over the trash can while I pulled the lever all the way back. There was a crinkly sound as it fell on something plastic. It was larger than my Pop Tart mouse. Relief.
Baylee and I went back into the house quietly. I washed my hands a few times and turned on Little House on the Prairie. Did you know Charles Ingles is left-handed?