Sunday, September 21, 2008

I've been called laura little mouse since I was two days old. my mom says it's because I was always small and quiet, which I never quite understood, because I was nine pounds at birth and didn't sleep through the night until I was almost a year old. I was neither small nor quiet.

nevertheless, I have always had an affinity for mice. the mouse stuffed animals, mouse ornaments, mouse stationary and other mouse-themed articles I have possessed could fill a small museum. when I was five, I memorised a poem about mice and recited it at a church talent show. my mom scattered bits of cheese across the stage and geoff, who was two and had just started walking, toddled about nibbling on it, all dressed up in a furry mouse costume.

I think mice are rather nice
their tails are long, their faces small;
they haven't any chins at all.
their ears are pink, their teeth are white;
they run about the house at night;
they nibble things they shouldn't touch
and no one seems to like them much
but I think mice are rather nice.

(merci a rose fyleman)

a couple nights ago, our last night in NB, I woke up to a tickle on my arm. when I moved, I heard the pitter-patter of little feet. I leapt out of bed and threw back the covers, because the pitter-patter of dog feet has a rather different sound quality to it, and as much as I love all animals besides slugs, earwigs and certain flying insects, random is the only non-human animal welcome to sleep in my bed. the mouse was brown, round and making a beeline for my pillow. I caught him in a basket and took him outside.

then I went back to sleep. a short while later, I woke up to a tickle on my face and the pitter-patter of little feet beside my head. this time, I leapt out of bed before opening my eyes, because nothing touches my face unless it passes certain hygenic requirements at a level I guarantee no rodent will ever achieve. this mouse was also brown, but smaller than the first. I caught him in a basket and took him outside.

I didn't go back to sleep after that. I moved to the couch in the living room, where I spent the next couple hours huddled in a ball, freezing because all the blankets were packed except the one random was sleeping on, and trying to ignore the sounds of little teeth nibbling in the kitchen and little feet scampering across the floor. the third mouse I collected just as the sun was starting to rise. he wasn't in my bed; he was on the windowsill trying to jump through the glass. he looked suspiciously like mouse no. 1. I caught him in a basket and took him outside.

a couple hours later, when we were packing up to leave, I stuffed blankets into plastic mouse-proof cartons with a vengence. I watched my dad set traps with wry smile. I recalled that the cheese he was using was moldy and let out a cackle of malevolent satisfaction.

but I still think mice are rather nice.

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