As happens every year around this time, our charming hundred-year-old Victorian bowfront limestone has been invaded by mice. I think they spend the warmer months outside – either in our small back yards or up in Prospect Park, which is just at the end of my block – but right after Labor Day each year they set up shop indoors. I’m up late most nights, and they’ve been pretty bold this time around: skittering across the floor, squeaking behind the cupboards, even jumping out of the sink when I went to put a dish in there the other night.
Usually it’s not a big deal. I get some old-fashioned mousetraps, bait them with something attractive, set them in strategic places, and typically take out three or four of the little varmints each night. It’s the big ones at first, then the smaller ones, and after a few days it’s all over. This year, though, something has gone horribly wrong. I haven’t nailed a single one.
I started trying three or four nights ago. I put out four traps, baited with peanut butter (Skippy, the professional’s choice). I toddled off to bed, confident that the Night of the Long Knives was underway. But in the morning, nothing. And the next night, the same. Meanwhile, I can tell the mice have been up all night, watching TV, snacking, downloading porn, and generally taking advantage. So I redeployed: four traps again, this time two with cheese, one with chocolate, one with strawberry jam. Not a nibble from the mice, though I did catch a waterbug with the chocolate. (I don’t like waterbugs either, but I’m after mice right now, and that poor sucker was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Collateral damage.) Since then I’ve tried various other toothsome comestibles, but to no avail, and for the mice, who by now are as emboldened as a bunch of Baathist insurgents who’ve just been watching John Murtha on C-Span, it’s all beer and skittles.
So what’s the deal here? Have I, by ruthlessly slaughtering these beady-eyed interlopers autumn after autumn, inadvertently bred a strain of trap-savvy Übermäusen? I’m starting to think that must be it. I’m going to need to devise a better mousetrap. And that means I’ll be needing a new front door as well.