Somewhere, deep in the bowels of New York city, the roaches are teaching adult education classes to the mice and I thought you should know. A thousand years ago when I moved here, I knew full well I would have no choice but to deal with the occasional roach. Bug-phobic from childhood, I endeavored to locate my steely reserves and deal with it. Thus, armed with a lifetime supply of Raid I headed for the Isle of Manhattan, a demure, nubile suburbanite, unaware of the challenges that lay ahead. Six months into studio apartment living while baking brownies I sensed movement in my peripheral vision. As the goodies lay cooling on a rack, I lounged in my livingroom-bedroom-laboratory-parlor-library-office. It was then that mouse numero uno made its appearance, running past the TV and under the heater. Mice? Oh no, I had not prepared emotionally for mice.
I did the only thing I could think of choosing to scream at the top of my lungs, grabbed my shoes, and went running out to the doorman. “There’s a mo, mo, mo, MOUSE in my apartment!” I declared with urgency. He looked me up and down smirking. With my hair in a scrunchie at the top of my head, a smudge of cocoa powder on my chin, ragged grey sweatpants covering my legs, and a pair of black high-heeled pumps on my feet, I was undoubtedly the toast of the petrified-tenant ball. The doorman gave me a shrug of indifference. “Well I can’t go back in,” I explained. Surely there was an extra apartment on the premises one could move into for just this kind of emergency?
Ah you silly, silly, girl.
For the rest of the night I remained awake, jumping at every rustle and creak. Finally, with my eyeballs dehydrated and crusty from sleep deprivation, I began to develop a theory. Clearly this creature was mocking me, probably had been for a long, long time. It knew I didn’t have a boyfriend, that the only men who were ever attracted to me were insane and had issues with their mothers. Its whiskers twitched with amusement as months passed and nary a fellow graced my bed. It curled its tail in the manner of a James Bond villain snickering, certain I would live alone for the rest of my life with no burly knight available to save me from these traumatic infestations. The critter watched, waiting for its chance to send this minor league baker screaming back to the suburbs. No! I would not become the victimized Tom to this Jerry.
If you doubt mice could have this kind of mental capacity let me describe the glue trap incident. That’s right people, I said glue trap. Go ahead, tell me I’m cold, barbaric even. But you try living in a one room abode where there is no escape from the four-legged terrors and just see if you don’t turn into Genghis Khan in the process.
The glue trap was positioned in front of the heater so if the mouse ran in or out from beneath, it would be well, trapped. I awoke in the middle of the night sensing a papery sort of rustle. The trap had been lifted up from the floor and tilted out-of-the-way. In other words, the non-sticky, non-mouse catching side of the paper now faced the potential exit and entrance that the rodent used.
Explain to me how a mouse with a brain the size of a wasabi-pea, working alone, could make this happen? I’ll explain it for you, it’s simply not possible. Unless of course, he had help. On that fateful night it became abundantly clear to me that another city dweller had a hand or, antennae in all this. We all know that neither pesticide nor nuclear bomb will ever rid the world of the stalwart roach. So what explanation makes more sense than this?
An irritable stalemate has followed between me and the beasts. Last summer, I arrived home groceries in hand and a pair of used black biker boots on my feet. (When you’re five feet tall and have a pale complexion slightly to the left of undead, the biker boot makes a particularly fetching accessory.) I placed the bag of groceries on the kitchen floor and a small mouse ran past me. A half squeal, really a mini-half squeal if that, escaped my lips. Then, I got angry. The roaches sent me a rookie? Like I’m some sort of training assignment? Please. I turned, chasing after the itty bitty thing, boot stomping behind him as I screamed, “Get the f*ck out of my home!” Not a burly knight anywhere in the vicinity. And that evening as I slipped beneath the sheets, I placed the boots on the edge of my bed, popped in earplugs, and slept like a Manhattanite.