In 20 years of city living I’ve seen all the usual small wildlife that comes into homes and apartments–house mice, house centipedes, cockroaches, fruit flies, house flies, a vast array of spiders, all that sort of thing. It didn’t prepare me for this morning.
Rubbing sleep out of my eyes (and not wearing my glasses), I thought I saw something light-colored, and moving, behind my bedroom bookcase (a stack of book crates, actually, but I call it a bookcase). I’m not awake, I thought, I’m seeing things. Except I also HEARD a faint noise.
I got my glasses, and there was indeed a vague white shape back there in the darkness. Maybe something fell out of the book crates, I thought, or the plaster is crumbling; I’ll get the flashlight. I got the flashlight. Sitting in the beam, staring back at me, was a white mouse.
I actually wondered for a stupefied second if the toy rubber white mouse I have somewhere had somehow ended up behind my bookcase. But it couldn’t have learned to sit up…and it certainly wouldn’t know how to move. The mouse had strolled into a gap between two of the book crates; I took the flashlight there, and the mouse looked at me some more.
Clearly this was a pretty tame mouse. It was white, it was well fed, and it was looking at me, instead of darting off like a furry bullet the way wild mice do. I wasn’t about to kill it (I’m a little soft about mice), but I wasn’t about to break out the cookies and adopt it, either. Which raised the question of what I COULD do about it.
The WTF factor of the whole incident was many points higher than I can deal with at 6 in the morning. Since the emergency didn’t seem to require police, fire fighters, paramedics, or a plumber, I decided to get dressed, while pondering how to improvise a humane trap. By the time I was done, the mouse had disappeared (probably into a gap between the baseboard and the floorboards), so the “what to do” question was solved. Which left the title question.
–Someone in my building is missing a beloved pet.
–Someone in my building is missing an intended meal for a beloved pet snake.
–Some kindly lab worker brought home some surplus mice rather than kill them.
–Some demented lab worker is conducting unauthorized experiments at home.
Someone, in any case, needs to cage their critters more securely.
It’s also possible I met the advance guard for Pinky and the Brain’s latest effort to take over the world. In which case, what’s the plan?