I am afraid of mice. I always have been and I always will be.
I would like to rationalize this ridiculous fear by saying that mice carry disease. Mice ruin grain. Mice are a bad lot. But then people like Walt Disney show us mice can be delightful creatures, if a little annoying.
When my husband and I first started dating, he glimpsed this cowardice in me early on. I awoke one morning to a mysterious “squeak, squeak, squeak.” I couldn’t figure out what the noise was until I tracked it down to my shoe. Inside was a mouse, who I suspect had been put there by our cat, Gizmo. I screamed; it ran. I called Chris and said, “You have to come over now! There’s a mouse in my house.” Sounds a little like Dr. Seuss, doesn’t it?
Chris came over and despite his best efforts, the mouse remained on the loose. He couldn’t catch it and, the nerve of Chris, he had to be at work at 7:30 a.m. so he left. You would think the cat, Gizmo, would take care of it. Nope. She was bored. Could I please let her outside?
Later that night, having trapped the poor creature in my bathroom, I summoned every bit of courage I owned and caught that mouse in a shoebox. My youngest daughter likes to remind me of my battle cry: “I will not be afraid of you!”
Like a lot of writers, I incorporate my everyday life into my books. Things that happen to me happen to my characters. I’m not unique in this way. Ray Bradbury wrote about being stopped by a policeman while he walked at night. He used that experience to pen “The Pedestrian.”
Like me, my main character, Josey, is afraid of mice. When she finds one in the kitchen, she asks her dad, Carl, why she has never seen them before. He explains that Josey’s mother put out poison to kill the mice. Her mother is gone now, so Josey begs her dad for a cat to catch this mouse. I’m glad to tell you he says yes.
Josey’s cat, however, is no better of a mouser than Gizmo was that day. So I stole the idea of how Josey actually catches the mouse from my mother-in-law. Hers is a kinder, gentler mouse trap. It’s also hilarious. I tested it myself when I found a mouse living behind our stove last fall. Yep. The Edith Poole mouse trap works. Please note: it requires a microwave. Write to me if you want the blueprints: Write2me@Annettedrake.com.
Hands and arms inside the cart, please. Tomorrow, meet my critique group.
Above, Chris and our son, Jack, caught the mouse Ruby brought in on Valentine’s Day. Perhaps it was a small token to show Ruby’s affections.