A Mouse (or Ten) in the House


When I moved into my dee-luxe Miami Beach apartment in the sky, I figured that the most I would have to worry about would be prudish neighbors complaining about the hard bass lines pounding through the walls. But recently, when I heard a scratching noise in my cabinet, I knew then that my piece of the pie had been gnawed on. And I immediately knew who/what the culprit was.

So I made a silent pact with the rodent -- let's call him Gentle Ken -- that he could have that cabinet. Look Ken, it's yours. Two stories, fully stocked with food. I won't come in and fuck with you if you don't come out and fuck with me.

From that day on, I heard him maybe twice, but I figured that he had found something nicer, perhaps with the view that he had always dreamed of. So imagine my horror when I'm sitting in my living room and Ken comes scurrying out of the kitchen and into my coat closet. I hurled insults at him, screamed, and threw shoes, but the bastard wouldn't leave the closet. He would peek out, go back in, peek out, run out a little, go back in.

I grudgingly kept quiet while Ken did his little dance in and out of my closet. Finally, he ran his furry ass back into the kitchen while I cringed on the couch. So disrespectful. I had no choice but to put the extermination wheels in motion. I called a friend who called a friend who could "get rid of that motherfucka."

Uncle L came over. Empty handed. He proceeded to tell me his plan: put down a couple of glue traps, go home, mow his lawn, and smoke a cigar.

Later, in the middle of the night, Ken came back out, and he brought his crew. Walking to the fridge for a glass of water, I heard an eerie screaming sound. I added my own scream to the creepy soundtrack as I peered into the kitchen and saw it: a five-inch mouse struggling on a glue trap.

Like the bitch I am, I ran downstairs to security and demanded -- er, persuaded someone to come up and get it. Over the next ninety minutes, a guard had to come up to my $1500-a-month one-bedroom unit at the Mirador to get four more mice.

I spent a mousy-dream-filled night sleeping in my Pier One papasan, waking at 7 a.m. to see two more mice running around in the living room. Hell no. So I pulled on some rain boots and stomped to my closet for the phone book. After calling 12 exterminators, none of whom wanted to come out on a Sunday, I reached Roberto at Gold Coast Pest Control. At my door in a jiffy, the gregarious Roberto laughed at my fear and threw some poison in the previously-undiscovered, quarter size holes in my walls. He promised me that they would die, never come back again.

Two days later, I found one of Ken's friends struggling on a trap again. I had to call Terminix. I needed a commercial guarantee. I needed the guy in the all-white. But when he arrived, even he didn't come to my rescue. After a lot of talk about contracts and $300 up front, he persuaded me to forget about Terminix.

As a favor to me and Ken, he went in his big black box, saying, "I'm going to do something for you." He pulled out a long stick swathed in yellow plastic.

"Is that a Slim Jim?"

"Yup," he said. "They love it." Do they ever: Five more of Ken's friends have showed their ugly little faces since then. -Raina McLeod

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Frank Houston