For a few years now, there’s been one tale that fills me with dread. I’ve heard it from various friends at various different times, and my reaction has always been the same. “You poor thing” I’ve told them. “I don’t know what I’d do if I were you.” And it’s genuine sympathy, because they have mice and I am horrified for them. They are going to have to catch the mice, and there are going to be nasty snapping sounds as the trap shuts and then a great big mess of exploded mouse to clean up (I have always imagined that the force of the trap causes the mouse to explode. I have no idea why) and the whole thing is just dreadful.
But this week, it’s been my turn. I was doing some good old fashioned sitting on Monday night, when I suddenly realised that there was something moving in my kitchen. I looked over, and sure enough, there it was; a tiny little mouse sat in my kitchen doorway, looking straight at me. I looked back for a few moments, amazed at how it was actually quite sweet and dinky looking and just like those ones you get scurrying about on the tube tracks. And then it occurred to me that I’m meant to be scared of mice.
“MOUSE!” I exclaimed loudly, pointing at the poor thing. “MOUSE!” And then I refused to move from the sofa in case it tried to climb on me and kill me to death with its smallness. It had of course by this time run back behind the washing machine, and after having a little glance behind there with his torch, my Farthing Wood Friend decided it was probably gone.
By this point though, I’d reverted to stereotype and started frantically googling ways to get rid of mice. And then I realised what it is that upsets me about them; it’s the idea of coming home and finding a tiny little mouse corpse in my kitchen, or even worse, a tiny little mouse stuck to a bit of evil mouse-paper, wrenching its tiny legs off trying to get free.
And suddenly, I didn’t want to get rid of the mouse any more. He wasn’t doing me any harm (so long as he didn’t climb on me when I was asleep and crap in my mouth). He was too small and cute to hurt anyone. Besides which, my Farthing Wood Friend had already named him “Bert” and taken to saying hello every time he entered the kitchen. It was like we finally had the pet we’d always wanted.
The only problem is, we haven’t actually seen Bert since. We’re starting to just have an imaginary mouse-pet, which I fear possibly makes us both entirely insane. But I’m sure he’ll reappear soon. We might just have to forget to clean our kitchen floor again.