The Mouse Tragedy
Roughly every seven or eight years I am seized with an overwhelming desire to keep mice as pets.
Mice are ADORABLE. They hold little sunflower seeds in their cute little claws and nibble at them with their adorable little whiskered nibblers. They can sleep with their heads tucked under their body and look like darling little ping-pong balls of fur. They sit in the palm of your hand and clean their heads with their teeny little claw/paw things. That’s what I remember.
Unfortunately, I tend to forget the not-so-good things like the acrid stench of their piss and how much I loathe cleaning their cages and how they are often predisposed to be nasty, non-snuggly creatures. My memory is usually jogged about two to three days in and it is, interestingly enough, always a surprise.
Nevertheless. I convinced my husband that keeping mice would be “Educational” and “foster responsibility” and was soon gleefully dragging my somewhat less enthused family (but I want a RABBIT!) down to the pet store to pick out our very own skittish, terrified mouse best friends.
As I mentioned, mouse pee smells terrible. It’s like they’re on a diet of pure asparagus. Even worse, being easily captivated by fancy, colorful things, I selected a space-age cage made of a million pieces of snap-together colored plastic that would absorb the smell of the pee and hold onto it forever and ever no matter how much I scrubbed. So not only did I have to clean the cage every few days, but I also had to soak the bajillion pieces in soapy water then wait for it all to dry, then rebuild the cage, then put the mice back in. So. Many. Steps. This means I had a tendency to wash the cage all of… never.
SO VERY PUNGENT.
They were soon relocated to the exterior of our house. I rationalized that they were probably happier out there as they were, after all, creatures of the wild and probably enjoyed things like fresh air and the rustic views of the clothes line.
Now, one fine Hawaiian day we noticed our mice were becoming excessively rotund.
Let it be mentioned that the Man is a fan of “the natural” and “the organic” and delights in the tall, spindly weeds that render our tropical lawn wildly inhospitable. He’s always harbored secret desires to be a cowboy/farmer and, if he were not tied to such inconveniences like a wife and children, he’d probably live in the mountains clad only in a squirrel pelt thong with beer can wind chimes rattling in his trailer’s window.
Upon observing our obese mice, he, blathering on about the importance of indigenous diets to various cultures and and something about Native Americans and hamburgers, declared that the creatures needed a “back-to-nature” diet. He excitedly removed their food bowl —likely their only source of joy— and replaced it with a small pile of grass, weeds, a carrot top, and a lettuce leaf.
After several days of the mice begrudgingly nibbling the dandelions and wilted salad the Man would haphazardly toss in their cage, he puffed his hairy chest with pride and marveled at his work: “Ah, the cage no longer stinks, the mice are less blob-like, and we are utilizing our natural resources. All is well.”
The cage did smell better and the mice were looking more svelte, but I had a sinking feeling that despite the successful utilization of a whole .000005% of our overgrown brush, something wasn’t right.
There was too much peace, too little reek.
Wake up in the morning and…
Two of the mice ate the HEAD off of the third one!!!
Yes, you heard me correctly.
ATE. THE. HEAD.
Holy… freaking… crap…
It was a headless mouse. A chomped on, headless, bloody neck hole mouse body and the skull was NOWHERE TO BE FOUND!
And not only did the little cannibal murderers gobble up her head, oh no, they also ate their way INTO her little mouse body leaving nothing more than a flaccid furry death pouch with tiny rigor mortis claws.
There are so many unanswered questions…
Did the mouse die prior to its head being devoured?
Or was it brutally murdered by its starving, salad hating compatriots?
Were the rustling sounds I heard and ignored while doing extremely important and essential research on Facebook (yes my friend DID definitely get a boob job as in Winter 2011 her boobs were only navel orange-sized and in Spring 2013 they were the size of weighty melons. I knew it.) actually sounds of horrifying and violent killing?
And where the FREAK is her skull?!!
These mysteries will disturb me for the rest of time during which I will never own pet mice again.
And yes, the food bowl was loaded up and returned to the cage. The Man has decided that stinky, fat mice are much more pleasant than dead, headless ones.