The West Wing, Red Wine and Mouse Trapping


It doesn’t get better than this.

The other night I was watching West Wing, eating cashews and drinking a nice New Zealand red wine.

Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw a furry blur. The kind that makes you wonder whether you really saw something.

But, since this happened a day after the Missus shouted at the top of her lungs, and I quote:


I knew we had a furry little visitor, and I don’t mean Toby Ziegler.

Which made the already good night even better.

In the living room, I’d get all amped up on Jed and Leo and Toby and C.J. and Sam and the BIG M.S. announcement (remember how awesome West Wing Season 2 was?), then during breaks, I’d become the Great White Hunter, shining the flashlight under all the furniture, getting all strategic, trying to think like a rodent. (Easy enough. I used to be a journalist.)

I found the mouse traps and had some decisions to make. Peanut butter or cheese bait? Big trap or small trap? And, the $64,000 question, where do you place the traps so that they are more likely to catch a mouse than the Crack Puppy, who has a bloodhound nose for anything cheesy or sweet.

It took several wines, lots of cashews, and two episodes of West Wing before I had weaponized the peanut butter, set up a perimeter and was ready to execute “Operation Mickey”.

Initially, I had planned to put big traps baited with peanut butter outside, under the house by the lawn mower. The small traps were to be armed with cheese and placed under the kitchen sink and way behind the dishwasher.

But activating the plan proved to be a problem. It seems that eating lots of cashews, or something, inhibits your hand-eye coordination. So I could not position the traps where they needed to be without firing their hair triggers.

The Tension Mounts

Between my accidentally setting off the killer mousetraps in the kitchen — SNAP! SNAP! SNAP! — and the HUGE STRESS in the living room as the entire cast of West Wing freaked out about whether Jed and his M.S. would run for a second term, I was personally getting a bit “aggro”, as they say in mousy Nu Zillans.

The mouse traps were strategically embedded about the same time President Bartlett, standing in front of 900 rabid media, had put his hands in his pockets and gotten that gleam in his eye. And we all know what that meant.

So, all up, a GREAT evening.


Turns out the best laid plans of mice and men tend to favor the mice.

The little bugger had picked my pocket during the night. He tripped one of the traps, probably just messing with me, and he took all the baits. I think he even took some of my cashews, too, and the wine cap seemed a bit loose. After a discussion in the Situation Room, we escalated Operation Mickey.

I went to the store for even better mousetraps, and I mixed up some delicious bait that would be harder to resist and impossible to take off the traps without getting croaked. (By “croaked”, I mean put to sleep in a totally humane way, in case PETA and the NSA are monitoring this blog).

I carefully moved furniture around to create Mouse Avenue, which would be great fun for the mouse, right up until his his widdle head was taken off. (Humanely.) And so we waited. Just me. The Mouse. The entire West Wing cast, Season 3. And the Crack Puppy who, it must be said, despite several pep talks, has absolutely ZERO game when it comes to mousing.


Laugh. Go ahead and laugh, little Topo Gigio.

You must think it is soooooo funnnnnny to move the mousetrap under the dishwasher. Stealing the bait without triggering the trap.


And your American accomplice, who keeps sending me “humorous” Facebook quips like:

“Could you put out a little wine with the cheese? And by the way, I’m having a little party this weekend. Gonna invite several of my friends. You may want to stock up on cheese and peanut butter. Thanks, Marvin Mouse”

Facebook vermin!

So we began again. The traps were re-set. I used a knife to whittle away the trap safeties to create super hair-triggers. Yes, Mr. Mouse, I said “hair” trigger. What do you think of that, funny boy?

And I announced to Mr. Mouse: “If you so much as show a single whisker tonight during the Missus’ new prayer group? Woe be it unto you. And I mean a HEAP of woe be unto you. Eternal woe if you piss of the Missus.”

Day 4

Mr. Mouse, remember a few days ago when I saw your little snout poking out of a hole in the ground near the lawnmower? Back when I thought you were so tiny and cute?

Yet now? I loathe you so much that I am thinking of getting a cat.

Last night you escaped the finely-honed mouse traps again. You kept the Missus from fully enjoying her prayer meeting, because it is hard to pray when you are keeping one eye open, just in case a stupid heathen mouse were to run across the floor or, God forbid, up somebody’s leg. Lawsy. Lawsy. Lawsy.

Then, when the Missus tried to retrieve one of the “still armed” traps, it snapped off the plastic pincer of her yard-long fruit picker thingee. And somehow this proved to be MY fault.

So, Bastard Mouse, this is where we stand.

I am going to stay up all night, armed with cashews and whatever Macgyvery weapons I can assemble, waiting for hand-to-claw combat. I am ready. Hear this:

“Rodent, your sneaky, ghostly, annoying ass is mine.”

Day 5

It has become obvious to me, despite my battle fatigue, that this mouse has someone on the inside.

His tribe long ago cracked the mouse trap code. If this mouse springs a trap, he only does it after having had a pleasant evening, dining on peanut butter, cheese and dog food. He only springs the traps to let his “waiter” know to bring additional food.

I have baited six traps. I have spread them far and wide. All strategic like. Yet I remain under the direct threat of this terror mouse. It is taking a heavy toll.

Day 6

How hard can it be to kill a mouse? I have asked myself this question 10,000 times, pacing the floors, longing for a cigarette.

War is hell.

I have trolled the internet for lethal mouse bait. I have been offered helpful suggestions over Facebook that included this brilliant and evil plan.

“Try a small bowl of Coca-cola. We used to use this at the drug store. Mice and rats can’t burp. The explode internally. They do not externally explode. Their stomach ruptures due to gas formation and they die from internal damage. No muss no fuss.”

The idea of a Coke-blowed-up mouse made me smile. I liked that idea A LOT. But the GM Finance cannot deal with the thought of any mouse explosions, internal or external. So, the Coke strategy is out.


Day 7

I am a shadow of my former self. I have officially lost it. When the Facebook “Coke” friend continued to root me on, he said, “May the Force be with you!”

And it made me envision the mouse, dressed up like Darth Vader, and telling me: “Bill, I am your Father. Come with me to the dark side.”

Day 8

Just before the men in white coats came to take me away today, I gathered up all the traps and threw them away.

I got out the never-fail, super-poisonous, green blocks of death, and tied them to the lawnmower stored under the house.

So now, unless the stupid taunting mouse is too fat to move — having gorged himself on MY FOOD AND WINE — he will, today, eat himself to death.

I do hope he karks it outside, preferably in the primordial jungle out back. But alas, I will not be here to celebrate his death or, if he karks in the basement wall, to suffer through his icky mouse smell.

Because I will be sedated in a long-stay facility under 24/7 care for PTSD-M.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-Mouse.


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