I received the telephone call while I was at work on Monday morning.
Sam: The Wildlife guy is here.
Me: Did he find anything?
(I was a little skeptical after Friday Night’s Adventure produced not so much as a “dropping” or a fur ball).
Me: What did he find? Was it flying squirrels?
Me: Was it squirrel-squirrels?
Me: (a little quieter) Was it bats?
Me: (whispering) Was it Satan?
Sam: No it wasn’t Satan.
Me: Then what was it?
Me: MICE??!!? MICE??? (I could hear my co-workers snickering). How could mice possibly make that much noise?
(Although I had a hard time believing it was mice, I was happy to know that (a) – I wasn’t imagining things, and (b) – I didn’t have to call Pope Francis)
Sam: Well, the wildlife guy said that when you have enough of them the sound is amplified.
Me: Amplified?!? I don’t get it. How can the “amplified” sound of scurrying mice cause the ceiling to shake and the cats to run away?
Sam: Well, we have a few colonies.
Me: How many mice in a colony? Is it like 12 eggs in a dozen? 6 mice to a colony?
Sam: Quite a few I guess.
Me: We have three pathetic cats then.
Sam: Actually, he said that the reason the mice aren’t in the house is that they can smell cat hair and they won’t come anywhere near that.
Me: How did he find them? Darlene and I didn’t see any trails or droppings. The only thing I found was one small hole in the insulation right up against the eave. WHERE did he find them?
Sam: The was one entrance on the south…
Me: Don’t say “south” to me. You know I don’t know what that means unless I’m looking at a map.
(I do know which side of the house is south because the sun rises in the front of the house, making that east. But I was in no mood to channel my inner Magellan, and I was still trying to figure out how mice can have the strength of Arnold Schwarzenegger).
Sam: well, the side of the house that faces the Butler’s is south, and there was an entrance there. And the other entrance was on the west side.
Me: that’s where I found the hole.
Me: So can he get them out?
(This is where I realized that I had not thought this through)
Sam: Yes, he’s getting the poison.
Me: WHAT? No!! I don’t want them dead – I just want them OUT!
Sam: Alright, John Flanagan (referring to my father who has used Have-A-Heart traps to capture – and release – skunks, possums, raccoons and a neighbor’s dog). We are not capturing hundreds of mice to set them free to crawl right back up here
Sam: I don’t know. A LOT.
(At this point the Wildlife killer entered with the poison and overheard the conversation. Sam explained my issue).
Sam: Paula, the wildlife guy says he has another option, but it’s a little more expensive.
Me: (relieved) That’s okay! What is it?
Sam: He says he has a flute out in the truck and he can go get it and play it so the mice will just follow him out.
Sam laughed so hard that he couldn’t continue the conversation and hung up. He told me later that he was on his knees crying.
That night I couldn’t sleep. I remembered when we found evidence of mice in the cake mix cabinet 5 years ago. We fixed the problem by putting steel wool in the small entrance they had been using, and the problem went away. Or so I thought.
Maybe they have been in the attic all this time. Generations of mouse families safe from the winter storms and bitter cold, coming and going, not really bothering anything, and now they are up in the attic eating poison and dying.
I know they can potentially cause a lot of trouble, but I couldn’t help but feel guilty.
But they will get their revenge when those carcasses of mice colonies decompose in the attic and in the walls. Sam won’t think the Pied Piper idea is so funny then, but he may still find himself in tears and on his knees.