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Avoiding the trap

Started by chaotic neutral observer, November 28, 2018, 11:20:47 PM

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chaotic neutral observer

(If you're squeamish, maybe skip reading this.  This is another artifact of "the post stuff to get it out of my head" thing I've had going on recently).


The woman shrieks.  She was checking the cabin air filter as part of the oil change package, and found a dead mouse.  "So that's what that smell was," I think to myself.  I apologize to her for the unpleasantness.  She says it's not the first time.  The replacement filter is suitably overpriced.

A few weeks later, I smell something in my car again.  Less cloying, more acrid.  I check the filter, and find a mouse nest.  This has got to stop.  How are they even getting in there?

I set a trap in the garage, and find a mouse the next day.  Elation!  Vindication!  Extermination!  It is done.  I remove the mouse from the trap, and reset it, just in case.

Soon, there's another mouse in the trap.  Well, better in the trap than in my car.

But then there's another.  And another.  And another.  I do my best to seal the garage against entry, but it's an old house, and things don't line up anymore.  Anything that could conceivably attract mice is removed, and still they come.

I'm tired of dealing with furry little corpses, cute faces frozen in death.  I dread going into the garage in the morning, but I grit my teeth, and speak my new mantra: "nodeadmouseplease."

It happens different ways.  Sometimes they bleed out.  Sometimes the trap disappears altogether.  Sometimes I am visited by a ninja mouse, who eats the raisin, and escapes without setting off the trap.  Sometimes, there's a dead mouse, but no raisin left.  "The second mouse gets the cheese" may be intended humorously, but it's not funny anymore.

Two of them survive, caught by a leg.  I drown the first one in a bucket of water.  The second one won't drown, and I get tired of waiting, or maybe I just don't have the stomach for it.  I put it in the back alley.  It doesn't run away, but just sits there, shivering.  When I check later, it's gone.  Maybe it recovered, maybe it got eaten by a crow.  I wonder if mice suffer brain damage.

And then the real horror.  I get used to this.  It becomes a mechanical exercise.  I get my gloves, open the spring with a screwdriver, dump the mouse in the garbage, replace the raisin if needed, and reset the trap.  It doesn't bother me anymore, and that bothers me.

Last Monday was mouse #70.  I've become accustomed to killing.  I've become a bit less human.

It hasn't occurred to me to stop setting the trap.
Desine fata deum flecti sperare precando.

hooplala

This was interesting. Is it pure fiction, or based in any way on reality?
"Soon all of us will have special names" — Professor Brian O'Blivion

"Now's not the time to get silly, so wear your big boots and jump on the garbage clowns." — Bob Dylan?

"Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)"
— Walt Whitman

chaotic neutral observer

This started in 2016, so parts are a bit fuzzy, but it's real enough. I have a file on my computer where I log when mice were caught, and when I took actions to keep them out of the garage.  It's how I know the count.
Desine fata deum flecti sperare precando.

hooplala

Damn. It has almost a supernatural vibe.
"Soon all of us will have special names" — Professor Brian O'Blivion

"Now's not the time to get silly, so wear your big boots and jump on the garbage clowns." — Bob Dylan?

"Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)"
— Walt Whitman

chaotic neutral observer

Mom saw something in the garden.  Big, she says, with a flat tail.  She's worried it's a rat.  It's not.  It's a ground-squirrel.  Fucking colonists.

My attention is drawn to a burrow in the neighbour's garden box; a squirrel pops up its head and peeps at me.  The neighbour has covered some of her plants with plastic bottles, to protect them.  Another neighbour--a "handyman"--apparently suggests pouring vinegar down the hole.  What an idiot.

Rat traps are too small for squirrels, so I make a trip to Cabela's, and buy a #0 Victor Longspring.  It doesn't come with instructions.  It doesn't need them.

Outside, behind the garage, there's a group of little ones playing.  Four of them.  They're adorable, almost unbearably cute.  I feel bad about what's going to happen.  But it's them or me.

Day 1.

I set the trap near the back of the garage, with peanut butter on the trigger, and a couple almonds within the trap, for good measure.

One of the little ones dies of a broken neck.  They're not so cute when they're dead; the rodent teeth and squinty eyes make them look more rat-like.

Reset.

Within half an hour, another is dead.  An adult, this time.  Fractured skull.

A couple hours pass, with no further activity.  Have they smartened up?  But no--there's a little face looking at me from a gap below the neighbour's fence.  I move the trap there.

Reset.

The third squirrel, another juvenile, survives--at first.   It's caught by a leg, desperately trying to get away; but, this trap comes with a chain for a reason.  The chain is staked firmly to the ground.

I don't want to do this.  I didn't sign up for this.  I like squirrels.  But.

I get a crowbar from the garage, and pull on the trap chain with my free hand, dragging the squirrel out from under the fence.

It doesn't die with the first hit.

I hit it again, twice...and then stop.  I really want it to be dead, to be done with this, but I don't want squirrel guts splattered everywhere, either.

It stops moving.  The corpse is disposed of; the blood is washed from the crowbar.

A crowbar isn't naturally a great weapon, regardless of what the videogames might make you think, I reflect.  Or maybe killing with a blunt instrument is a skill I just don't have yet.

Yet?

I feel sick.  I'll get over it.

Day 2.

I set the trap by the fence again.  The trap goes off almost immediately...and I see a squirrel escaping.  Drat.

Reset.

The trap snaps again...but it's just a mouse this time.  A Victor #0 is not a suitable trap for capturing mice.  It's almost been bisected, but it's still quivering.  A squirrel peeps out from under the fence, watching.  Bastard.

I chuck the mouse in the back alley.  The corvids can deal with it.

Reset.

I'm going back to check the trap again, when there's a sudden flurry of activity.  Please, not another survivor, I think to myself.  But the activity soon ceases.  This one is caught by the head.  It's still breathing erratically, but...not for very long.  I hear its final breath, sort of a hiss.

Reset.

I've seen one adult, and four pups, and killed four squirrels so far.  There's probably only one left.  Is it smart enough to leave?

No.

No, it's not.

This one survives, too; again, caught by a leg.  This time, I get an axe.  Mom tells me to use the blunt end---but as I approach, the squirrel curls into the trap frame, so I can't hit it without damaging the trap.

After a brief conference, Mom brings me a wide-mouth glass jar, one that she uses to clean paint brushes in.  I lift the trapped squirrel up via the trap-chain, lower it into the jar, and then fill the jar with rainwater.

It takes the squirrel a long time to drown.  Even after a few minutes, it's still twitching sporadically, and I don't want anyone getting bitten, so I wait.

Eventually, it stops.

I've killed five squirrels in two days.  I am not a natural killer.  But the nausea will pass.

Reset.
Desine fata deum flecti sperare precando.