I Am Not a Mouse (Though Sometimes I Feel Like One)

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Two days ago, I opened the dishwasher door and let out a scream. A mouse was in one of the silverware-tray compartments. We stared at one another, me and the mouse, both of us slightly in shock, and then I watched as he scrambled out of the plastic mesh compartment and scurried deeper into the dishwasher’s bowels, amongst the dirty plates and saucers. When I pulled out the rolling dish tray, not quite certain what I’d do when I found him, he was gone. God knows what little crevasse he’d escaped into (or how he’d gotten in there in the first place), but he was definitely gone, this Houdini of mice. I made a mental note to go to the hardware store and buy some more mousetraps.

I had actually been meaning to buy more traps for near to a month, as I’d used up the last of the four I’d purchased previously. Yes, I admit it, I am a serial killer of mice. I do not say that proudly. I do not like killing these little creatures. Yet it is necessary. They leave their little mouse droppings all over the kitchen, which is neither pleasant nor healthy for us non-mice types. But more important, there are others in the house who I am sworn to protect and serve. So I made a mental note to do what I had been meaning to do and had not yet done.

And of course it slipped my mind again–I say of course because although it is true I am increasingly forgetful, there are times when it is because I actually don’t want to remember. But then last night, it was sweet Alice’s turn to open the dishwasher drawer. The scream that followed surpassed my own rather tame “Blaaa!”

So first thing this morning, I hit the hardware store.

I really wish there were some other way. I grew up watching Tom & Jerry and Mighty Mouse and Mickey Mouse. I always rooted for the mice in cartoons. I don’t want to be the mean cat. I don’t want to make that trip down to the kitchen tomorrow morning, not knowing what awaits me and dreading it either way.

Mickey, old friend, I hope you understand.

By Peter Alson

Peter Alson is a writer and editor. Among his published books are the memoirs Confessions of an Ivy League Bookie and Take Me to the River. He's also co-authored (with Nolan Dalla) One of a Kind, a biography of poker champion Stuey Ungar, and Atlas, the autobiography of boxing trainer and commentator Teddy Atlas. His articles have appeared in many national magazines, including Esquire, Playboy and The New York Times. He has worked as a writer for People magazine, and as an editor for Playboy and for Hachette Publications. He has written screenplays for Paramount and various independent producers, and his TV pilot, Nicky’s Game, starring John Ventimiglia and Burt Young, appeared in the New York Television Festival and the Vail Film Festival. As a poker player he has finished in the money numerous times in the World Series of Poker and other events. He lives in New York with his wife, Alice, and their daughter, Eden.

2 replies on “I Am Not a Mouse (Though Sometimes I Feel Like One)”

Hey Pete,
Really loved reading this ! Laughed out loud. I, too. grew up rooting for the mice in all those cartoons. (We probably watched them together, in fact.)
Oh, man. I don’t know what I’d do if we had mice in our apartment.
Frankly, I think we’ve never had a mouse because we’ve always had a cat.
Are you allergic to cats? if not, maybe it’s time for you and Alice and Eden to visit the ASPCA and pick out a cute kitty !! And of course they make great mousers.
your cuz Betsy


Petras-you should have heard my wife scream at our place in Mexico at 4AM when she encountered a huge rat. She shook me out of bed. I thought I got rid of it and then at about nine it came running out from under our sink. I chased it out the door and it ran down to the ocean past the Iguanas. I had a girlfriend in college whose father was a famed surgeon. He showed me a design he made for a mouse trap. It was incredible. (invent the perfect mousetrap and they will beat a path to your door etc etc). I will try to describe it here as I remember it. Picture a container about the size and shape of a cereal box. Now fill it about halfway with water. On one edge, there is a ladder. At the top of the ladder is cheese or some sort of bait. The rat/mouse climbs up the ladder to the cheese which is in a small space. As the rat goes for the cheese, he triggers a door which slides down behind him like a guillotine so he can’t go back down the ladder. The only way to go is forward to a slide. He slides down the slide and lands in the container full of water and he drowns. As he slides down the slide he hits a lever which opens the door to the bait. So now it awaits the next vermin or small child who ventures forth. Insidious, no?


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