Friday, October 1, 2010

The Mouse That Roa[m]ed

Roughly fifteen years ago, I was living with my sister and mother in my sister's house. After a year or so of this arrangement, I needed to find a place of my own. My full-time job had turned into a part-time job a couple of years earlier, so when my formerly-trusty Hyundai decided to breathe its last, I needed a cheap car, in a hurry, so I could search for an apartment.

I found a "cheap" one, all right, via a car dealer who was an old family friend. He'd bought a mid-1980s Chrysler LeBaron at an auction, which I purchased for the measly sum of $550 cash. The car had been parked in a field for many months prior to its sale, I was told. Nevertheless, the old Chrysler looked and ran pretty well, so it was more than sufficient for my needs.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the trunk for the first time and found that a family of five or six mice had taken up residence in the recessed area which held the spare tire. They'd stolen some of the rear seat's stuffing and made themselves a nest of sorts.

Anyone else would have either reacted in horror and killed the poor little beasties, or been more humane and simply relocated them to a nearby outdoor location. I did neither. I was so amused, I let them stay there. I bought a packet of those oddly-orange cracker sandwiches with the peanut butter filling, and put one at a time in with the mice so they'd have something to eat.

Unfortunately for the mice, the fact that the car was now in use rather than sitting still in a field meant that the spare tire would shift occasionally... The unfortunate effect of that was that every few days, when I'd check on my de facto "pets," I'd find that one of them was no longer among the living. (And in case you're wondering, of course I removed each dead mouse as I found it. I may be quirky enough to let a family of rodents live in my trunk, but I'm not about to let the smell of a dead animal permeate my car, no matter how tiny it is!) I probably should have freed them then from this sad and eventual destiny, but... I didn't.

Finally, I was down to one mouse.

One Sunday afternoon, I was at the now-defunct Auburn Flea Market in Massachusetts, where I set up every Sunday selling collectibles. I stepped outside through the back door and into the parking lot for a cigarette, and looked toward my own car, parked nearby.

"My" little mouse was standing -- yes, standing, on his (or her) hind legs, looking remarkably anthropomorphic -- right behind the passenger side's rear tire.

Well, it made sense (the mouse's being outside the car, that is, not the standing part). He (or she) had obviously been able to get into the car weeks earlier, so there had to be a way out. I stayed where I was, roughly twenty feet away from car and mouse, while I finished my cigarette. The mouse and I even made eye contact a few times, or so I thought. During those several minutes, li'l mouse didn't move from its position! Finally I went back inside, assuming that my little escapee would end up scurrying into a nearby wooded area to live out the remainder of his/her life.

The next time I checked the trunk, however, I discovered that the feisty little sucker had climbed back inside my LeBaron, sometime before I'd left the flea market that day!

Soon after, I decided to let the little guy (gal?) go, however, if for no other reason than to spare him/her the fate of the others. And it was easy enough to part with the little rodent. It's not like we'd ever bonded in any way, as pet owners do with their animals. I hadn't named it, played with it, brought it into the house...

So, off went the sole survivor of the mouse family, into the bushes near my home.

I hope he or she wasn't eaten by any of the neighborhood cats, and since it was another ten years or so before I got my own cat, Orson... Well, at least I don't have that thought on my conscience.

(And gee, this post was even more self-indulgent than usual, wasn't it?)

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ Once again, my topic was inspired by a recent post by my friend Betsy, author of the My Five Men blog. If this keeps up, I'm going to have to give her a co-writer credit! Sheesh!


  1. nice...never thought of keeping my pets in teh trunk of my car...smiles.

  2. I'll send you a bill. :)

    Now that is a hilarious story! Aww...the cutest one, obviously with the most personality was also the smartest to survivie the bouncing spare tire!

  3. So, you were a mouse taxi for a while, eh? I hope the little bugger appreciated the wide world you introduced it to!

  4. I enjoyed this story very much. But then... I kinda like animals...even Foxes. :)

  5. Fun title for this post.
    We had a live-capture trap under our sink some years ago because we heard the little guys at night. One morning there were two of them inside the trap, terrified of course. We drove out to the country and set them free. I will remember the sound of eight tiny paws going "poof" into the dry grasses. Then they scampered and I hoped we hadn't just served dinner for an owl.

  6. That's an adorable story. We used to keep mice as pets. I'd rescue them from the pet store where they awaited the fate of snake food. Gross.

    AFter moving to New England, we found families (one family at a time) of them living in our old Ford 350 truck which we kept parked near the woods. The made a nest in the engine compartment. My husband would leave them til he needed the truck which was almost never in Winter (no 4WD). They are so cute with their babies.

  7. You, quirky? Well, I would have never known! ;)

  8. It's amazing how some people can be really cruel to little animals. I read a newspaper story several years ago where an elderly man tried to dispose of a mouse he found, by throwing the little critter into a pile of burning leaves, with disastrous results... for the man. This great little story may be found here! Enjoy!

  9. Just read the fire/mouse story! Oh my...the mouse got his revenge, didn't he? The man should have just fed him peanut butter crackers and let him set up home in the trunk of his car! :)

  10. We had one in our office kitchen, once. My boss kept putting out traps and I kept disarming them when he wasn't looking...

  11. This did make me laugh - and also made me recall when as a young girl I was allowed to keep two little mice - I named them bubble and squeek. How brave I was when every morning I would go down to feed them and love to have them run up the sleeve of my robe and down the other sleeve. It was quite a trick, as they ran across my shoulders - I cannot imagine this now !! I would not be best pleased if a mouse even entered the house but my sisters still recall this tale and your story reminded me of this time - thanks. All best wishes

  12. Are you certain sure that the "oddly-orange cracker sandwiches" weren't responsible for the demise of Mighty Mouse's pals?! I'm telling ya...that color is NOT known in nature!

  13. @Sparkle: Hm. You may be onto something there, cutie-pie!

  14. This is the most funnsy and nice history I read i times, loved it!!!:))

  15. Is there anyway you can contact me about your little mouse photo? Thanks!

    1. Only if you signed up for follow-up comments, Kendra. Go to my profile and you can email me. I tried to contact you and got your Google+ page, and I can't contact you from there.


I strongly urge you to sign up for follow-up comments, because I (usually) reply to your comment! Comments left for me more than two weeks after a post is published will not appear until I approve them, but they will be answered eventually!


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