Monday, January 24, 2005
Of Mice And Vegetables
My weekend began on Saturday with a kitchen experiment. Two meaty hambones, lots of garlic and black pepper, and a few hours of boiling resulted in a hearty broth and lots of loose meat. Add half the garden, and I actually made a decent soup.
So I repeated the process several times over the weekend, with variations. When the hamfat ran out, I switched to giardinara mix to provide the oil. Fast forward to Sunday night.
I'm watching my older sister's apartment for week while she vacations in warmer climes. She has a large television, and I don't mind feeding fish.
I was in the kitchen boiling an assortment of hapless vegetables in some Campbell's tomato soup when a mouse hobbled out to the middle of the kitchen floor. Generally one would expect a mouse to dart, scamper, or zoom. Not this mouse. Nor was it fleeing, hiding, escaping, or otherwise attempting to travel without attracting notice.
It stopped in the middle of the floor and began to roll on it's back like a cat with an itch. Then it convulsed, tail flailing, and the tiniest sqeak emitted from it's whiskered maw and finally it lay still. Rodent epilepsy, or the throes of death?
I grabbed a glass bowl and covered it so it wouldn't escape. No reaction. It seemed dead but I wasn't sure. I stared at it for five minutes, and then I slid the bowl around and the mouse was pushed with the edge. No resistance. It was dead. As I pinched it in a paper towel and put it inside an empty box of potato skins, fluid escaped. Yuck. I threw it in the garbage.
I called my sister to ask if there are traps to be checked or poison to be refilled. No answer. I expect she was percolating in a jacuzzi, out shopping, or perhaps deliberately avoiding me. It is her first day of vacation, after all. I left a message.
I felt sorry for the mouse. I like rodents. Unlike cats and dogs, they universally shun attention, don't smell bad, and make tiny, tiny poo. Truly a wonderful pet, especially caged. This particular mouse was polite enough to die in plain sight instead of underneath the refrigerator. Had it died there, no doubt at the end of my housesitting week I would've had to tear the kitchen apart to find the source of the stench. I would've been lucky to discover the critter's tiny, dessicated carcass decaying into soupy puddles of dead flesh with hairy pelts floating atop.
I meant to take out the garbage this morning but forgot. I'll get it tonight. If it was faking it, a mouse playing possum, I have a problem. I don't know how to check a mouse pulse, and maybe it was just passed out from labor pains, and it's splashing out little pink hairless mouse babies into my sister's garbage bin right now. They might even be swimming in the remaining tomato giardinara soup that I poured in there this morning.
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