When a rascally rodent invades my garage, it’s time to bring out the big guns.

By Steve Bender
September 29, 2020
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I know a mouse and he hasn’t got a house
I don’t know why
I call him Gerald
He’s getting rather old, but he’s a good mouse.

“Bike” – Pink Floyd

I hate to pick nits with songwriter Syd Barrett, founding member of my favorite psychedelic rock band, Pink Floyd, but the only good mouse is one who hasn’t got a house, specifically, mine. The same thing goes for another rodent, the chipmunk. Unfortunately, this chipmunk that I call Alvin, disagrees. He’s taken up residence in my garage with no plans for moving out.

I suspected we might have an unwanted guest when I kept hearing rustling behind some boxes and cat carriers we had stacked against a wall. Never saw him, though. Then, prior to boarding our cats for a few days, Judy picked up the cat carriers and became enraged. “Something has been gnawing on this carrier!” she bellowed. “It almost chewed off the edge.” That was followed by the discovery of an unpardonable sin.

“Gross! He’s pooped all over it! Look at all these poops!”

Alvin. Must. Go.

In the spirit of all creatures being beautiful unto the Lord, I granted Alvin a stay of execution, providing he vacate the premises immediately. I opened both garage doors for several hours and performed some household chores, allowing him to vamoose in private.

Nyet. Next day, more rustling, more poops. We carefully removed anything in the garage that he could eat or drink, but he wouldn’t go. Apparently, he’s set up a cozy bachelor pad behind the insulation in front of a cinder block wall where cats, coyotes, and hawks can’t get him, and thus intends to stay.

Grumpy is angry. “I’d hoped we could resolve this reasonably without bloodshed, but you give me no choice,” I informed Alvin. “Now it’s war.”

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A trip to the hardware store netted two mousetraps. Judy baited them with peanut butter and I placed them near where I heard rustling before. The following morning, I found Alvin managed to lick off all the peanut butter without setting them off. I switched bait to sunflower seeds. He set off both traps without getting squished, ate the seeds, and pooped.

“This is it!” I roared. “I’m going all nuclear on your little chipmunk a**!”

Back to the hardware store. Bought two sticky boards and placed them where the traps had been. Next morning, the boards were gone. Couldn’t find them anywhere. Then our cat, Jean-Luc, started sniffing around a pile of tarps. I glimpsed a little, brown tail.

“He’s in here! He’s dead!” I proclaimed gleefully to Judy. Not so fast. Apparently, only his tail had stuck to the boards, so he pulled off his tail to save his a**. Damn. Damn. Damn.

He’s. Still. In. Here.

Back to the hardware store. Came back with the big guns. One is a trap I call “The Jaws of Death.” Its teeth are roughly the same size as those of a T. rex. The second is a common rat trap that could put a quick end to a hog. The third is rodent poison. It smells revolting to me, but Alvin should like it.

Set everything in place, baiting each trap with peanut butter. Off to bed, can’t wait to see a grisly carcass when I check tomorrow morning. Remember, Alvin, you made me do this.

What did I find today? All of the peanut butter on the Jaws of Death devoured without setting it off. Rat trap unsprung. Poison untouched. Damn.

Alvin is still here. He may have won the battle, but the war has just begun. I will fight him behind the refrigerator. I will fight him on the shelves. I will fight him in the insulation. And I will never surrender.