I'm relaxing and watching Trigun
on Adult Swim
on cartoon network
, when I hear the snap of the mouse trap
from the kitchen.
A traditional, old-fashioned mouse trap. The kind that breaks the mouse's neck and kills it instantly. We set it earlier in the day, after finding rodent poopy. I wait until the next commercial break to go put the dead critter in the trash. Once the obnoxious Adult Swim text bumpers comes on -- "blah blah it's 1am we can say whatever we want cause you'll still come back to see Vash the Stampede in action" -- I head to the kitchen. I'll have just enough time to put the mouse in a Ziploc bag, and into the trash.
Now I've done it before; probably trashed 3-4 mice in my life so far. It's always a little creepy. Mice are so small, they have to be a little cute -- small things are always cute -- but a mouse in a trap has its mouth wide open like a zombie. Their legs are so tiny, I wonder how they can move so fast. And the little body sits there so clean, like it's just sleeping ...
... but what's this? Blood? Never seen that before, in this situation. And it's not just a little blood. Big spots of it. And rays of blood, radiating outward from a scratching, flailing ... oh, gross, it's moving. Twitching. Probably some final reflex left from its recent death. Since the trap killed it. When I heard it go off. About ten minutes ago.
Oh no, it's still alive. I... I don't know what to do. So I stare.
The trap is upside down, and the side of the trap has caught the mouse's face. Rather than break its neck, it has broken the mouse's jaw. I don't look closely, but it seems like the blade is in its mouth, and the upper jaw is in the gap, keeping him pinned on his back. Still flailing. I now realize that the rays of blood were not made by some explosion of blood from when the trap snap shut, but from the panicking and struggling that has occurred during the ten minutes in which I was too busy watching cartoons to put him out of his misery.
And I understand now, that I have to do just that: put it out of its misery. If it doesn't bleed to death, the broken bones will make it unable to eat or move. So I am trying to figure out how to do it quickly, and neatly, and hopefully make it back to watch the rest of Trigun. It's clear that I'm going to return from the commercial break late. (It's an episode I haven't seen! #13, Well OK it's mostly a clip show, but I really want to get back in time to see the clip where Vash saves the day in Hard Puncher. And I definitely can't miss a random appearance by kuronekosama.) But I'm not sure how to do it. (In retrospect, it probably should have involved a large, sharp knife, for humane reasons..) But I decide I will wrap it in plastic bags, and use a very large book.
I get the plastic bags, and open one up. With the other hand, I pick up the trap and dangle it over the bag. This is something I've done before, but the mouse has always been dead, and has never left blood on the bag. As I seal the bag, I think about robots, as I often do. In particular, how could a robot ever mimic the sensitivity of the human finger? Even more specific, how would a robot notice that the surface of the bag, as it is being sealed, is a little more slippery than it should normally be? I didn't notice any blood there, so it must have been something else, I tell myself. I seal that plastic bag in another one. It's still twitching.
Back in the TV room, I see the commercial break ending. I scramble around the kitchen looking for the giant box of trash bags; one of the bulk boxes from BJ's. (Am I panicked because I'm missing my anime, or because I have to kill a stupid mouse?) Finding the big old box, I put the mouse entombed in plastic bags -- still struggling with its upper jawbone being crushed in the trap -- in a trash bag, and notice Vash facing down a baddie with a rocket fist. I put the trash bag in another one, and put it down on the tile.
This is it ... gotta do this now ... I wonder for a moment where I'll find a large book.
Then I grab the bulk box of trash bags and slam it weakly onto the body bag. And again. A few more times, with feeling, until I hear a squeak. I dump the whole thing in the trash without another look, and head back to see Vash sprinting in bullet time. (It is another moment before I realize that the squeak came from the metal on the trap, and hope that the first hit did the job.)
Someone will probably get miffed that I post this at all. (c.f.
Everyone has a dead bird story) Others may get annoyed that it's posted as October 3, when it was late night October 2. To both, I can only say, it's six hours later, and I still haven't slept.