"How are you?"
"Tired. I didn’t sleep at all last night."
"Because . . ."
"It’s a really long story. . ."
"Yes. . ."
"Well, the tenants have mice. So my neighbor and I went out and finally found live traps. They were expensive but. . ."
"And you trapped the mice."
"Well, we got one. We brought him home and put him in one of the Mexican bird cages and fixed it up really nice. We put in toys and cheese and water."
"What about the cats?"
"You know the red armoire in my bedroom? We put him in there."
"With your socks and underwear?"
"Are we talking mouse here, as in vermin?"
" It’s so cute . . .You should see its little whiskers."
"The kind that carries fleas with bubonic plague?"
"It’s a little door mouse."
"The kind with hanta virus?"
"Well. . .yes."
"That kept you up all night?"
"No. The mouse went into shock."
"It just sat there, breathing hard. . ."
"How can you tell if a mouse is breathing hard. How do they usually breath?"
"You could tell it was sick."
"Had the hanta virus."
"No, it was in shock. We called the all night vet. The emergency vet."
"And. . ."
"They said to feed it a drop of sugar water every hour, so we did. They didn’t even try to charge us. Mice come under the wildlife ordinance. They treat wildlife for free."
"So that’s what kept you up?"
"No. The sugar water worked. I went to check at two o’clock and the mouse was gone."
"It was a wooden bird cage, right?"
"Carol and I tore the whole bedroom apart. He wasn’t in the armoire, or the closet. We had piles of clothes and art supplies all over. Carol almost had it more than once. . ."
"What time was that?"
"We caught it about three. . .but we still had to get up and feed it."
"Well, I guess we have to let it go."
"If you put it outside–it will come right back in.
"I thought about a restaurant. . with a dumpster. But they’d just kill it."
"I suggest the park. The farthest one away from you."
"Maybe. . ."
"How many more mice do you have to trap?"
"The tenants all have different stories. According to them, they’ve seen everything from a moth to a opossum!"
"What about a rent-a-cat program. ‘For a mere thirty dollars,’ you could rent them each a cat."
"I could use the money."
"Or snakes. . the rent-a-snake program. Or hawks."
"Oh, I almost forgot the biggest thing. The police came to the door today."
"They told us there’s a mugger working on our street. He doesn’t break into houses or anything. . .he just stops people on the street and takes their money."
"He just stops people on the street and takes their money?"
"Well, it’s better than robbing houses."
"By how much?"
"So the police were warning us. Giving out the man’s description. They were very polite. There was a meeting this morning for all the people in the neighborhood."
"How was that?"
"Oh Carol and I couldn’t go. Really, we were just too tired."
Christina Adam divides her time between a ranch in Idaho and seven acres in New Mexico which she shares with one horse, eight dogs, nine parrots, ten geese and legions of mice. Her stories have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly and Cosmopolitan as well as in anthologies and literary journals.
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