Mark Hunter (ozma914) wrote,
Mark Hunter

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next week's column: To Rodent, With Bug

Honestly, I have no idea where the James Bond thematic thing came from. It just -- crawled into my head.


Why is it that mice and rats are ugly little disease carrying vermin that deserve to die horribly, while chipmunks and squirrels are cute?

They’re all rodents.

I’ve been killing mice with great abandon, as I do every fall. Frankly, I don’t care if they carry disease or not: I just don’t want my headstone to read, “A mouse chewed his wires” – or, “Hungry Mouse Burns House”.

Not that the disease thing would be any better. Look at me, first guy in America to die of the Black Plague this century!

So far this year’s confirmed count is five mice dead. I say confirmed because several times I’ve discovered my traps clean of bait, and that much peanut butter just can’t be good for their little hearts. Oh, and there was the time I found the trap behind the stove dragged all the way to the hole by the cupboard, a distance of about three feet. After it had been sprung.

That’s one tough mouse that I don’t want to meet. It’s probably sitting behind a wall, holding a cat hostage.

Which begs the question: Which of us is the heroic James Bond type, just trying to keep his homeland safe, and which of us is Dr. No? Maybe (you Bond fans will get this), that superstrength mouse is actually holding the cat in its lap! Imagine how scared the cat must be. And there I am, fighting off its minions while it (the mouse, not the cat) cackles and lays elaborate plans.

“Do you expect me to give up, Dr. Mouse?”

“No, Mr. Hunter – I expect you to die!” (Actually I think that was Goldfinger, but never mind. Besides, this whole routine has been done with Pinky and The Brain.)

The real mystery came the other day when I went into the basement to do laundry. Don’t judge me for this, but I have a habit of throwing my dirty clothes down the basement stairs, where they wait on the concrete floor until laundry day. This is harmless in theory, but it’s a gang initiation for those big hairy field spiders to crouch under my shirts until I pick them up, then scream “Boo!” and scurry between my feet. For years I’ve reflexively stomped them, until one day I went down there barefoot and – well, it was painful, and not pretty.

This time I lifted up a shirt, and there was a dead mouse. Just laying there.

I don’t have a clue.

The only thing I can figure is that it was scurrying around down there, trying to negotiate a truce between Dr. NoMouse and GoldSpider. The door opened and, before it could react, the mouse equivalent of a ton of clothes dropped on its head.

(Cue James Bond theme.) My jeans live to serve, Your Majesty.

Recently I took the battle outside. We had unusually warm weather, and I like mowing the lawn this time of year because it means the grass hasn’t been covered by That White Substance Which Shall Not Be Named. What I don’t like is picking up sticks prior to mowing (my trees shed branches like Rush Limbaugh sheds cigar ashes), only to find myself overcome by a vicious swarm of man eating ladybugs.

Okay, maybe they were actually Japanese beetles, and they weren’t really man eating – not even the one who stayed in my hair and walked onto my neck hours later, making me scream like a girl and run into a door. Just the same, there was a swarm of them, and that swarm was trying to work its way into my house. Possibly they were led by James Bond’s other nemesis, BloFlyFeld.

Ouch. Sorry.

I think I actually saw one of the bug leaders, when I remembered the garden hose needed to be taken in for the winter. There, perched on top of the coiled hose, was a huge black bug.

“Hello,” it said, “I’m Plenty.”

“I’m sure you are,” I replied.

“Plenty O’Bug.”

“Well, you’re certainly bugging me.”

Look, just go back and watch the old Sean Connery Bond films, okay? It’ll be funny then.

So, naturally, I left the hose alone. I mean, she was a lady, after all – and she had one heck of a set of pincers. I think she was eating a mouse.

By now all I wanted to do was finish the job and enclose myself in a giant plastic bubble, so I went to the garage to get the lawn mower. I opened the door and a giant rat ran over my feet.

007 would have handled it very coolly. I am not 007. However, I developed that day a very James Bondian ability to do a standing jump onto my car roof.

Then I realized it wasn’t a rat. A chipmunk saunter around in the garage, casually looking over its shoulder to make sure Dr. NoMouse wasn’t nearby, and my attitude instantly changed.

Awwww … what a cute little chipmunk! I couldn’t possibly kill that poor little thing. Clearly I’d have to gently shoo it out of the garage, which was strewn with so much junk that an army of chipmunks could have been in there, preparing to invade Dr. Mouse’s stronghold in a final battle that would be sure to level my house to the ground – which was starting to sound like a good idea.

So I spent the next hour working my way around, trying to shoo the chipmunk out the door. I’m sure three or four other chipmunks, a family of mice, and a few hundred ladybugs entered during this process, but the original chipmunk (which my girlfriend has informed me I can NOT name Alvin), didn’t go anywhere at all.

Cute little thing. She wanted me to capture it for a pet … while I continued to massacre its mouse cousins.

It’s a rodent, people.

But it’s a rodent that’s going nowhere. I brought it a bottle of vitamin water, some little plastic swords from Halloween, and a watch that converts into a laser beam. The battle should break out any time now, and I can only hope this minion is backing the right side.
Tags: column, new era, slightly off the mark
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