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The Mousetrap

October 14, 2012

This is a story that may end up in an anthology of short stories about my own family’s history. I leave it as written, and hope that you enjoy it.

* * * * *

The Mousetrap

In order to protect the people, innocent and the guilty, especially one in particular, who would be greatly embarrassed if I didn’t, I will change the names of at least some of the characters in this story. Maybe. The rest of the story is true to my best recollection.

We lived in a large, two story, red brick house that had been built in the Colonial style, but finishing touches, such as shutters and a porch railing had not been added yet. It sat on a corner lot, and boasted a circular driveway in front of the house, although we rarely used it. We parked in the driveway leading into the garage, which was on the end of the house. From the front of the house, you couldn’t even tell there was a garage because the windows were the same as the rest of the house and looked just the same. It was in a nice neighborhood, and was near fields, where, eventually, apartments for senior citizens would be built.

We had put in a half-court basketball area, a six-foot high block wall with a wrought iron custom made gate. We added a large 12 foot by 12 foot dog kennel that would be used by our Great Dane when he wasn’t in the house or playing in the yard with us. I had a beautiful 20 by 70 foot garden area, complete with berms to increase the surface area, a brick path that curved among the berms, and a bench under a tree, just begging for someone to sit and read. We also added a 30 by 30 foot covered patio on the east side of the house. It had a block floor and would be a wonderful place for parties, or just sitting outside on hot summer evenings.

The basement of the house had three bedrooms and a full bathroom where the oldest three kids slept. There was also a huge storage area downstairs. The rest of us slept on the second floor, where there was also a family-sized family room over the garage. There were plenty of hiding spots and “secret” pathways upstairs between the dormer windows and the rest of the roof area. The main floor had the large entry way that led into the sitting room. The music room, where the grand piano was, was next to it, and the dining room was on the side of that. The kitchen was behind the sitting room, and adjacent to the dining room. That level also had the most beautiful craft and sewing room and laundry room with lots of cabinets and drawers. Sunshine brightened that room through the large triple-paned window and overlooked my garden. Just at the top of the stairs going downstairs was the door to the pantry. That pantry was bigger than some kitchens I have seen. It was a very nice house in a very nice neighborhood.

Now that the layout of the house, and its locale have been explained, you will better understand the rest of the story.

One day, CJ’s friend gave him a beautiful baby California king snake. Her white stripes were very white, like brand new white socks, and her black stripes were like polished ebony. I am not especially fond of snakes, especially as pets, but I am not afraid of them, either. They have their place in the world, and as long as they are not venomous, and they don’t surprise me by being somewhere unexpected, I can tolerate them. CJ took care of his snake,giving her water, feeding it pinkies, and later, fuzzies, and cleaning her terrarium. He kept it in his upstairs bedroom, a room which had originally been intended as an office, complete with built in bookshelves, and a door that opened to a very small closet with a ladder of sorts leading up to the cupola on top of the house. He usually had the snake’s cage on the desk. The snake grew from a tiny, almost pencil long snake to maybe two feet long.

Sometimes she would get out of her cage and escape somewhere in the house. CJ would tell us when that would happen, and we would keep our eyes open for the black and white snake in all the rooms. She went everywhere. Whenever she got out, she was usually recovered and returned to her terrarium within a day or two. One time, she was found snuggled up in Lolly’s bed! Lolly’s room was in the basement! We were careful to whom we would mention that the snake was loose in the house because some people who came to visit (like my stepmother) were mortally afraid of snakes, even pet ones. We could always tell which floor of the house she was lurking on. How did we know? Well…..

One thing that I haven’t mentioned that this house had was mice. Because the field was only one house away from us, and the house was so big, mice had decided it was a great place to live. They were well-established before we ever bought the house. There were little holes near the floorboard in the pantry, and in certain closets, they had their ways of being in any room they choose. We would find “evidence” of them being around.

We set traps to catch as many as we could. Our cats caught some. The dogs worried a few mice. However, the best mousetrap we had was the snake. Whenever she would get out, we knew which floor to search, because there would be no mice on that floor. She either feasted, or they evacuated that level until we found her and put her back.

Those mice were in every room of the house, living in the walls. We fought diligently to rid the house of them. We did not want to use poisons because of our dogs and cats…and the snake. Still, no matter how often we put traps down and thought they were gone from a room, a few days or weeks later, they would return. That is, according to Lolly, every room but hers. You see, she had politely asked them to leave her room. She insisted there were none in her room or in her large walk-in closet. None. Zip. Nada. They simply were respecting her request to not go in her room. It didn’t matter that her room was next to that HUGE storage area, downstairs, and nearly under the pantry. Nope. Those mice were not in her room. Plain and simple. Ask her. She would tell you.

The rest of us knew better. Mice couldn’t give a rat’s behind about a human’s request. They don’t care. They are mice. If there is a food source, or a nesting source, they will go there. We all tried to tell her the mice DID go in her room, but she would have none of it. They were NOT there. She absolutely insisted there were no mice in there.

So…… One day, her brothers, JR and CJ, and I decided we would pull a trick on her. We bought one of those toy mice for cats that is furry, and looks real. We took a brand-new, unused mouse trap, and carefully put the toy mouse’s head under the snap. It looked just like a real mouse caught in a trap. We put it just under the edge of her bed, and waited.

When she came home from her friend’s house and went to her room, we followed her, and told her we had put more mouse traps out, and some were in her room. No need, she told us. There were no mice in her room. Still, we followed her, chatting with her as she went into her room and sat on her bed. Since she hadn’t noticed the tricky trap under her bed as she walked in, we decided we had to mention it.

The boys and I were standing in her bedroom doorway.

CJ said, “Hey, Lolly! What’s that under the edge of your bed?” and he went over and picked up the trap with the toy mouse, holding it with two fingers just like it had been a real mouse in the trap.

Lolly screamed! The boys and I were laughing so hard, we were crying! CJ showed her it was a toy mouse, but she was still screamed! It took a few minutes for her to calm down enough to get the joke. She wasn’t sure if she thought it was funny at the time, but it remains a great story even now, many years later. I don’t know if she thinks it is funny now or not.

And, Lolly, there were real mice in your room!

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From → Family

One Comment
  1. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after
    I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Regardless, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

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