Note: Post updated on Sept. 21, 8:10 p.m..
This is a true story:
09/17/2007: I wake up, check the clock. 2:00 a.m. I hear noises coming from the darkness outside of the bedroom. Tapping noises. I wait a minute, heart thumping deep, hoping it was my imagination. Willow begins to bark as it starts up again. Definitely not my imagination.
V is awake now. We both lie still, listening carefully, whispering “what the fuck is that?” I get up the courage to check it out. It’s coming from the kitchen, where the back door is. When I get close, the noises stop. I turn on the light to the back porch and quickly look out; nothing there.
Must’ve been the neighbours coming home or something. I go back to bed.
I try to sleep, but a few minutes later, there it is again. Tapping, scraping on plastic. V urges me to get up again; I swear it’s right at the back of the house. This time I grab our biggest knife after flipping the lights on. Again, the noise stops as soon as I get close to the kitchen. I figure if it was a leaky faucet or the fridge or the house shifting, it wouldn’t react to my presence. This scares me.
I bring the knife back to the bedroom. This time I don’t even try sleeping. Five minutes later the tapping starts up again. This time, I creep slowly to the kitchen and don’t turn the lights on. It’s definitely not coming from outside. It’s definitely coming from the vicinity of the sink. That leaves two possibilities: it was a leaky faucet after all, or someone is trying to break into the window directly above the sink.
I inch closer. I don’t see any dripping.
But then I look into the sink. There’s a bowl filled with bubbly water there. A bubble pops and it makes a faint plasticy tap. Relief fills me, I dump the fucking bowl of water that has been popping all night, keeping me up, and curse myself for being so worried about something so silly.
With an explanation found, I’m able to fall asleep, but in the back of my mind, I’m wondering if the noise stopping whenever I got near could really have been sheer coincidence. I’m drifting off to sleep, but in the back of my mind, my ears are still picking up something scraping at the back of the house.
09/18/2007, 9:00 a.m.: There’s no sign of anyone trying to break in. I guess the water bowl theory was correct after all.
09/18/2007, 2:00 a.m.: I wake up for no apparent reason, then realize it’s the same deal as last night. Willow barks, I sigh and grab the knife.
I sneak into the kitchen real slow and ninja-like. This time I left the light on out back, and there’s clearly nobody there. This time, the sounds don’t stop when I get close. They’re coming from the kitchen sink; no, from the cupboards beside the sink; no, from the other set of cupboards. Only a very small midget could fit into my cupboards and move that fast. Unlikely. I come to the realization that it was something alive all along – probably mice or giant cockroaches – just not a human.
I’m not gonna do much critter killing with a knife, so I go back to bed and eventually get to sleep.
09/19/2007, 12:00 p.m.: I go to make Indian food, and my suspicions are confirmed. There’s wet mouse shit all over the pots and pans.
Later, V looks in the other cupboards. There’s shit everywhere. Either there are a lot of mice who just became our roommates, or it’s one mouse with overactive bowels. I hope it’s the latter.
I go to get mouse traps. In addition to the normal wooden ones, there are cardboard tents with glue on the bottom. Mice run into these, they get stuck, then they lie there all night until they dehydrate to death, have a heart attack out of fear, or someone kills them. No thanks. There are also plastic ones. The diagram on the package shows a line drawing of a hand squeezing the trap, and a little line-drawn mouse is falling directly into the garbage can. Touch-free operation, like it’s changing the bag on a vacuum cleaner or something. I get a lump in my throat and consider turning around and just living with it. But shit in my food probably isn’t healthy, so I skip the gooey tent of horrors and get the two less sickening deathtraps.
I load them up with peanut butter and discover that sleep is hard when you’re constantly anticipating a loud snap that means you’ve just murdered something.
09/20/2007, 10:00 a.m.: I get up, check the traps. Nothing there. I do a double-take; nothing there. No peanut butter, no body. The little rat bastards managed to lick the peanut butter up without setting off the trap. I’m both happy for them and annoyed, and it’s a weird feeling. Looking closer, there is shit all over the ground below the trap. Man they shit a lot. I redo the traps, putting PB right on the trigger this time.
09/20/2007, 11:12 p.m.: Just as I start writing this very blog post *, there’s a snapping sound from the kitchen. I’m afraid to look. I won’t be able to sleep tonight if I look. It can wait until morning.
Just before bed, I see one running across the floor. So it’s a family, then.
09/21/2007, 9:00 a.m.: So there it is, this little creature that shares most of its DNA with mine, dead because of me. I do it quick, just like in the line drawings, not looking too close. I especially don’t want to look at the underside, because then it might go from being an “it” to a “he” or a “she”, and that would just be too much for me.
09/21/2007, 8:00 p.m.: As I update this post, another snap. Fuck!/Yay!
Well there you go. Another joy of owning a house, I guess.
* Astute readers will notice that yes, I write blog posts in advance sometimes. It’s so people don’t realize I’m loserish enough to have more than one thing to blab about in one day. Is that so wrong?