Originally published in Homelife, 1997

:::: The Mickey Mouse

I never minded field mice. They kept out of my house and I left them alone. That is, until I got married. My wife absolutely hated mice. So, one day she discovered we had a mouse scurrying around in our bedroom.

For the next two days, all I heard was, "Did you kill IT yet?"

Well, after I gave it a chance to leave on its own, I went out and got some glue traps. The mouse was hanging out near my computer, so I put the trap near the corner. Two days went by and no mouse showed up. I figured it was gone, so I didn't bother checking the trap hourly.

Unfortunately, my wife continued to look, almost every ten minutes. She did a blood-curdling, low-boiled, pee-your-pants, stand on one leg and double over at the waistline scream. I ran in expecting to see some hairy stalker with a rusty knife, but it was only a little one-inch brown fuzzy mouse, looking very forlornly at his back feet, which were stuck in the glue.

I looked around for a stick and a dustpan so I could dispose of the mouse. My wife recovered her composure, and was looking at the sad little fuzzy thing. I came back in with the disposal tools, and she said, "Please don't kill it. It's so cute! Let it go."

Sigh... The mouse looked at me with little beady eyes and seemed to say, "Listen to the lady!"

I scooped up the mouse. It was evening, and I went out to the street, across from a large park. It took me a few minutes to peel the mouse off of the glue. Unfortunately, its back feet were stuck together. It did a kangaroo hop back towards my house. I ran around it and herded it towards the field. At this time, my neighbor's cat decided to have a snack. It ran up and snatched the mouse, which squeaked once and was silenced.

I told my wife I let the mouse go. I left cat out of the story, and I kept my mouth shut when the cat had half of its mouth glued shut.

:::: Oh, Rats

After the fuzzy little mouse, my wife was not too scared of mice. We moved a few years later, and we were renovating the bathroom of our new house. I threw the old tile and wood in large dog food bags and kept them in the back of the yard until trash day.

My wife was taking the load out to the curb (since I'm an equal rights kinda guy), and she grabbed one of the bags. As she was carrying it, she looked down just as ten large rats were erupting out of the bag. Her face was less than six inches away from the opening, and these were not mice. They were large gray California Roof Rats, about eight inches long with a foot-long hairless tail. She did the same dancing scream as she threw the bag far beyond what I would've thought possible. The rats scurried out and ran around, all heading over to the neighbor's yard.

She didn't like fuzzy mice anymore, she confessed.

:::: King Rat

A week or so later, one of the rats was in my back room. I kept most of my piles of computer junk there, and it apparently was a comfortable place for rats. I set out a glue trap, and the next day it was gone. I never found it, even after I was packing to move to Colorado years later.

I then set out a spring trap. The next day, it too was gone. I began to suspect my kids were goofing around, but they insisted that they never touched the traps. I went to the Home Depot to get a huge rat/bear trap. It was very large, about a foot long, with a spring lever that would take off your fingers if they were caught.

I heard the trap go off in the night. I got up and peeked out the door to the back room. There was an oversized rat in the trap, a good 12 inches long and very fat. His tail was thicker than my middle finger. Half of the rat was in the trap, but it wasn't dead. It was trying to get out a hole I never noticed before, but the trap was too big to fit. I picked up a metal pole, and the battle was on.

I tried to smash it, but it was very quick. It tried to jump, but the legs were useless because of the trap. The metal pole kept banging off of the concrete floor, ringing out enough to wake the rest of the family, as the rat dodged blow after blow. It made a mad scurry towards my leg when I finally got it. It died a quick death, and I had to rest and have a cup of coffee to calm myself down. My wife refused to even look at it, but my oldest daughter thought it was cute. Kids...

:::: The Mutant Rat from Hades

I plugged up the hole, and we didn't have many problems for a while. I was cleaning out some of the back room and I accidentally left the sliding glass door open when I went to bed. I heard a noise loud enough to wake me up a few hours later. I went out to see what the ruckus was.

When I looked in the back room, I saw two things that made me freeze. The first was the two beady eyes reflecting some light. Eyes that were a bit high off of the floor and a bit too wide to be your normal everyday rat. The second thing I saw was a hairless tail. This tail was a good sixteen inches long, and was twice as thick as my thumb. I admit, I almost did the dancing scream, but all that came out was a very loud, "HOLY COW!"

I went and snagged my Ruger Mark II 22 caliber pistol and my 6-cell Mag flashlight, which is a large club made from tough spun aluminum with the added convenience of a light bulb on one end. I was ready for battle.

I peeked out the door to see if the mutant rat was still there. It had not moved, so I shone my flashlight on it.

It turned out there were two animals in the back room. The large rat turned out to be a possum, which I had not seen in San Diego before (but I saw them in upstate New York, so I knew what it was). The second was our neighbor’s stupid cat. It was attempting to mate with the possum, which was ignoring the stupid cat. The possum looked at me, decided that it was too crowded in the back room, and waddled out with the cat trying to roll it over to mate.

It took me a while to calm down after that episode. Since these rat-type creatures have been growing in size with every encounter, I shudder to think what the next one will look like.

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