I bought a “humane” mouse trap a couple of weeks ago, a metal box with holes on either side and a handle. You slide the top open to put food in. The mouse goes in and triggers a mechanism that traps him. For each of the three days prior to my purchase three baby mice visited. I trapped each of them in a shoe box and let them loose in the woods. Years ago I trapped a mouse on a glue trap. He was on there bleeding, squeaking — I cried all day, swearing never to kill another mouse. The next one who came I fed.
After that third baby mouse a couple of weeks ago, when I decided to get the trap, I didn’t see any more. The contraption made me nervous. I feared hearing the clacking noise caused by the mouse getting trapped inside. I checked, peering into the holes every day — or I’d kick it. Days went by and and no mice.
Last night at 4am I heard skittering, clacking, scraping. It was a mouse in the box. It frantically scratched, scraped and clacked, desperately trying to get out. I let it go on. I wasn’t going to the woods at 4am to let it out. It disturbed me emotionally so when I slept, I dreamed of holding the mousetrap, a larger version, with a dog inside, frantically butting at the top of the box. I could see its head. I was on the train taking it somewhere to release it. There was another dream with two mice and some other kind of creature in the box.
I woke up preparing to free the mouse. I sank inside, thinking of it in that small space with the bits of bread with peanut butter I had put in there. (I tear up typing this part.) He was hungry, so it was a logical place for him to be. He had no idea he’d be trapped. I shook the box lightly to make sure he was in there. He poked his nose into one of the holes. He was in there.
Across the street I placed the metal box on the dirt, turned the box sideways and slid the top off. After a couple of seconds, I told it to go, go, be free, run. Finally it scampered up the hill through the dirt, its tail trailing behind. I breathed out and headed back, thinking that the trap was not humane at all as the thing is in there terrified.
Should I just let the little bastards run around here until they die in the walls or find their way to another apartment? After work I came home and looked out the window at the woods. Where is the mouse now, I wondered. What is he eating?