Hardscrabble 🍫

By Max Jacobson


22 Mar 2015

Yesterday morning I grabbed my pants off the floor and a mouse scurried away. I shouted, “ahh!”, ran to my bedroom, and jumped on my bed, pants still in hand.

I had my Improv 201 graduation class performance and I was running late, so I didn’t have time to worry about it. I just got dressed and left with my eyes closed.

On my way to the show, I tried to remember the things we’d been taught over the last 8 weeks, but my mind kept going back to the mouse. It was small and brown; not a startling creature. And yet, very startling!

The show went well, I think. It was fun for me anyway. Afterward we had some food and drinks and then I went home and fell asleep and slept for 15 hours. I wake up around 10am without thinking about the mouse. I’m trying to keep my mind clear, because I’m having a surgery tomorrow, and I want to feel mentally and emotionally prepared so I can be the best patient I can be. And then I start seeing the mouse out of the corner of my eye.

At first it’s to my right, flitting from behind my radiator to behind my couch. I tense up. I pause The Mindy Project. I think it could tell I was occupied.

I resume The Mindy Project. I need to take the last of my antibiotics so I step into the kitchen to take a swig of rice milk. There I see the brown mouse again, by the oven, which is precisely on the other side of the wall from the radiator. I say out loud, “I don’t like this”.

The next time I see the mouse, I’m back at my desktop, and it’s walking back into my living room via the hallway. I say, “hey!” and it turns around and walks back around the corner. I look away and see that he’s walking toward me again. I say “hey, buddy!” and he goes back. So I look away again, and now he’s straight up sprinting past me toward the couch again.

I grab my wallet, keys, and a hoodie, and I leave my apartment and call my mother. She advises me to trap the thing with a glue trap and feel nothing. She says I’ll feel satisfied, like a hunter.

From a nearby cafe I order some humane mouse traps on Amazon.

My grandma calls me and says she’s had good experiences with spring-loaded mouse traps, and that I’ll feel satisfied.

I check a nearby general store. They have glue traps for mice and spring traps for rats. With my grandma still on the phone, I buy the glue trap.

My mom suggested the mouse would die as soon as it got stuck, of a panic attack, but it just kept squeaking for several minutes while I listened in horror. I feel no satisfaction until later, when I’m sitting in my living room again and nothing scampers through my periphery.