Saturday, April 20, 2024

THE ‘NETTE EFFECT: A mouse loose about the house


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FOLKS, HAS THIS ever happened to you? It is the dead of the night and you hear an indistinguishable noise. It is an intruder for certain. Not of the criminal type, but more of the pest type.

In the stillness of the wee hours you train your ear in the direction of the noise. Could it be? No, it couldn’t.

The noise is coming from the garbage bag. Lord have mercy.

With everything else quiet, the noise is amplified ten times. I thought it was my old nemesis the cockroach – but I said “no”, that rustling is far too loud.

O Lord, a mouse, I thought. I almost fainted at that idea but my heart was pumping too much blood and the thought that if I went unconscious, that creature would have free rein kept me very alert.

I screamed for my back-up Ya Ya, rousing her from a blissfully ignorant sleep. With rapid speech I brought her up to speed – noise coming from the garbage, suspected vermin. Her sleepiness disappeared and her eyes widened as she turned her focus towards the garbage.

She made a split-second assessment and agreed that a cockroach could not be making that much noise; it sounded more like a (cue, dramatic music) . . . mouse. We don’t normally have a problem with mice but it seemed this was about to change.

More noise came from the garbage. We kept our distance and now thoroughly freaked out, could not come up with a game plan. I told her to call my brother from next door. I was reckoning that he would run to the rescue of his dear niece rather than if I called him out of bed to report a mouse sighting.

In the meantime, I enquired about the stray cat we had partially taken in. If the Tom & Jerry show had an iota of truth, these two creatures were mortal enemies. Even though Jerry the mouse usually prevailed in the cartoon, I was hoping for a turnaround in fortune on this night.

Ya Ya had christened the stray LME, some sort of play on the name Emily. I wasn’t particularly fond of the feline who had taken to marching in at will, staring you down as you ate and had developed a knack for appearing at the sound of a plate, pot or the opening of a snack bag. And the arrogance – LME also liked to jump on you and relegate you to its entertainment. The nerve!

A day after we found her lurking in the yard, LME had a run-in with Poopie the dog. When we saw the blood after the encounter, we gave up the missing LME for dead. Miraculously, a few hours later, she reappeared, not a scratch. All the blood shamefully was from Poopie, a creature about five times her size.

If there was anyone for this job, it was the fearless LME. Sorry, make that EMRS; after about three months we realised Emily was really an Emmerson and made the adjustment.

We opened the door and there was the faithful EMRS who headed straight for the noisy garbage. The game was on. This mouse was about to meet its deadly match – we prayed. We didn’t quite think ahead about what if the animal within escaped E’s clutches. For the moment we just wanted a defender/protector.

E toyed with the garbage bag for a bit and with every increasing crinkling, my stomach sank. It must be the despised mouse that sometimes masqueraded as what others – not me – regarded as the beloved hamster.

Then out pops a roach, not even the size of the average pest, scuttling around before E and Ya Ya, armed with some insecticide, took care of him.

I hate roaches; I do not understand their existence and no one has ever been able to give a suitable reason for their place in the ecological system. I fear them without reason. I want them dead but lack the fortitude to do it. The same with rodents.

Sometimes in your fear you escalate matters to a level they are not. The insignificant E is now the hero of the house; I now recognise his value.


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