May 26, 2009

The Tale of Mr Squeaky

A few weeks ago, I heard a rustling.

Then I saw a flash of shadow, darting under the front door.

Then, one night, I saw it long enough to realise what it was.

A mouse.

It's not an easy thing to admit to the wider world that one has a mouse in the house. It's something of a poor reflection on my standard of house-keeping. Now that I know my parents read this blog, I fully expect a judgemental yet slightly confusing email from my Dad's Palm Pilot, stating that if I only went to bed earlier, none of these things would ever happen to me.

Not to mention the fact we're in a second floor apartment - hardly what you'd describe as a typical mouse hang-out. Obviously our mouse was an urbane mover and shaker, one of the hip vermin groovsters normally found snacking on boccocini at a James Street cafe, or catching The Adventures of Despereaux at the Palace Barracks cinemas.

After realising that I was not, in fact, having a lend of him, The Wah named the mouse Mr Squeaky.

A week or so ago, we found him in the back of the fridge:

He'd found a cosy little cubby hole, and was in there nibbling on an errant pasta shell.
The noise was deafening.

We tried to capture him, but the little bugger was fast. He dashed out of the fridge and shot past our hastily assembled barricade of cushions and laundry baskets. The Wah then turned the lounge room upside down attempting to outflank Mr Squeaky with the kind of military precision General Montgomery would celebrate with a G&T and a fat cigar:

No luck. Mr Squeaky had foiled our attempts at capture - he was the Tom to our Jerry. Or Jerry to our Tom, I can never remember which is which.

We gave up, and considered the mouse trap option. Despite his vegetarianism, The Wah retains the Hard Edge required to embark on homicidal missions against rodents. I, however, am a Complete Coward, and wondered if we could just capture Mr Squeaky and set him free to roam in a park near our house, but far enough away to discourage his return.

Fortune smiled on us a few days ago, when we came into possession of a proper humane mouse trap, and set it up near the fridge with a few sultanas in it. The next morning brought no news; the trap had snapped shut but there was no Mr Squeaky inside. That meant either the trap had been set off by the overnight vibrations of the Westinghouse, or we were facing a very clever adversary indeed.

Last night, I saw the now-familiar flash of grey fur, and called out to The Wah that our Mousey Moriarty had returned. He soon heard a rustling in his beloved Bat Cave, and moved heavy bookshelves and filing cabinets out of the way to try to find Mr Squeaky. Before he knew it, the critter had zoomed out the door, and straight into the spare bedroom.

Curious, The Wah attempted a impromptu capture attempt, throwing pillows in front of the doorway to prevent an escape, as Mr Squeaky buzzed round and round the room. After a few seconds, Mr Squeaky disappeared, leaving The Wah confused and intrigued.

At this point my preparations for bed were interrupted. "Nat, come here - we have more mice!"

You may, at this point, be able to see where this story is headed.

I poked my head around the doorway, still buffered by pillows and doona covers. The Wah had lifted the entire double bed onto its side, revealing a bundle of ruffled white paper, and something else:

That's right. It turns out Mr Squeaky was, in fact, Ms Squeaky. Hard-working single mum of two little baby mice. Despite the two flights of stairs, she had chosen to give birth in our apartment, carefully constructing her nest out of toilet paper. I don't really want to think about where she got it from. I still can't decided if I'm a little heart-warmed by her feeling secure in my home - or revolted by the whole process. I think maybe I'll just try to ignore it all.

People are just never going to talk to me again, are they?

But all of this complicated things. Our simple plan to catch and release Mr - sorry, Ms - Squeaky didn't take into account two babies, still blind and reliant on their mother for survival. We could have picked the babies up there and then, but with Ms Squeaky still in hiding somewhere, we decided to replace the bed, turn out the lights, and hope she might come back, so we could attempt to capture them all together.

This evening we spotted Ms Squeaky again, so we know she's still around. We've reset the trap, and really hope she'll take the bait this time. Because we can't leave two baby mice in the spare bedroom. For one thing, I'd like to get in there to do a massive clean before I lose the last remaining piece of house-keeping respect my mother has for me.

And secondly, their eyes will open soon, and the next thing you know I'll have inner-city trendy mice raiding my cupboard for cous-cous and soy & sesame water crackers, and demanding we watch At The Movies re-runs on ABC2.


  1. When i lived at northgate for a few years, I was on the third floor of an apartment complex and we got the mice up there. Didn't matter what we did couldn't get rid of them (all our food in tupperwear - no boxes) took me 3 weeks to get rid of them, using a humane mousetrap (the ex was a vego).it was warm in our place so more kept coming in. 3 weeks of getting up at 3am in 4 degree temps, when the trap would go off and we could hear them in the trap, so dutifully I would dress, and walk 500 metres to the creek and release.
    I so just wanted to drown them in the toilet

  2. What a delightful story,

    people do still use that word don't they?

  3. We once had a humane mouse trap that worked like a crab trap. They could get in, but not out. Of course, you're supposed to check it more than once every couple of weeks.

    We checked it once and found one fat mouse and the half devoured remains of another mouse. Kind of defeated the purpose of a humane trap.

  4. In breaking news... Ms Squeaky just bit me.

    I have become Were-Mouse Wah

    ... that almost sounds like a Nazi Officer rank.

  5. Laughing quite a bit right now. Ta.

  6. Perhaps if you get a mouse cage, and transfer the mini-mice into that, Ms Squeaky will follow? At least then they'll be in a safe and monitored environment until the little mices are able to open their eyes.

  7. As your mother in law I just want to say I wish I could read of your exploit in the sunday paper, most times your doings are better at making me laugh than the doings of Mike O'Conner

  8. Tell The Wah this is what his size nine boots are for...
    Ten minutes of stomping around the spare room and all that will left will be half a dozen whiskers wafting in the air
    The Ancient Man

  9. Four years in a mouse research lab. If you need 'em offed, I gots the skills.

  10. I think my BIL needs an award, standing in the kitchen when the months had turned colder, we heard the definite sound of a trap triggering. The BIL's response .. "We have a winner". Sounds like you need more winners.

  11. I have to go against the popular opinion here and say that they are quite sweet looking. Horrible vermin, yes, but awfully cute. Could you set them free in a park or something instead? I know...I'm soft.

  12. Oh! Just re-read the relevant bit. Good show!

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  14. Hi all - thanks for your words of encouragement re: violent rodent death. ;)

    We have a few updates.

    Of course you may have seen that The Wah was bitten by Ms Squeaky today, and is currently growing suspiciously long nose whiskers as we speak.

    The reason that The Wah got bitten is because we actually CAUGHT Ms Squeaky in the trap. Huzzah! We found the tallest thing we could find - a laundry basket - popped her in and put a towel over the top. She spun around freaking out for a while but then seemed to settle.

    Of course when we turned out back to grab the babies and put them in a box... she escaped.


    So, the babies are back under the bed, the trap is re-set, and we play the waiting game again.

  15. Use peanut butter for bait. If you want to humane-trap 'em, that's fine. There are plenty of mice in the world, though, and cute or not, I use the old Mk 1 Mod 0 mouse trap. Dead.

  16. Hope his lordships Tetanus shots are up to date?