* This is a work of non-fiction based on actual events as told to me by a family member who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.
According to my mother, everyone has a mouse story, but hers is the best. I was about to tell her that not everyone has a mouse story, then I realized I had one too, but that’s a story for another day.
My parents moved into a house that had a resident mouse. The mouse lived in their bedroom closet, and it made very disturbing noises in the middle of the night when my parents were trying to sleep.
My mother has never slept soundly, and once she wakes up she is awake. The sound of the mouse shaking and squeaking in my parents’ bedroom closet annoyed her until her nerves were raw. Once she heard those telltale sounds, she couldn’t sleep for the rest of the night.
When she couldn’t bear another sleepless night, she went to the hardware store to buy some mousetraps. Unfortunately, at the time, they only sold one type of mousetrap. There were no mousetrap options for owners who wanted to catch and release rodents in a grassy field somewhere. His only option was an old-fashioned wooden mousetrap with metal springs.
My mother baited the mousetrap with cheese, slipped it into the bedroom closet, and prepared to do battle with its miniature rival. When she heard it close in the middle of the night, she felt a thrill of joy and dread.
“I felt like I hit the lottery,” she told me.
Was the mouse dead? She should check the mousetrap if she wanted to know. It couldn’t wait until morning.
She squinted at the mousetrap in the dark. There were no mice. The mousetrap was empty. “He ran away,” she told my father.
Weeks passed without my mother catching the mouse. The elusive little pest has filled these two weeks with midnight squeaks and squeals.
My mother was livid. She went back to the hardware store and bought a bigger trap. Then she put it on with a bigger piece of cheese. This time, when the trap closed in the middle of the night, she knew she would be victorious.
It was a mixed victory. The mouse had escaped the jaws of the trap, but it had sunk its two front teeth into the wood and left them behind. My mom said they glowed bright white and shone in the light from the bare bulb hanging from the closet ceiling.
“I still don’t know how it happened,” my mother told me, “but the mouse never came back, and that was enough for me.” My parents could finally sleep soundly without interruption.
My mother doesn’t know where the mouse went, but she said you can recognize it by its missing front teeth. “He must have been ashamed after losing his teeth,” she told me, “because he never came back to our house.”