There comes a time in every woman's existence where she looks deep into herself, searches her soul and asks:
'Which is worse- a live mouse or a dead mouse?'
It all started about ten days ago when something large shot across the kitchen floor and disappeared under a cupboard. I leaped back screaming and hoping against hope that our house lizards had just gotten larger and quicker. Yes, a strange hope, to be sure, but compared to the alternative, the only hope one could cling to. I followed this up by ignoring what had just happened and hoping that by not thinking about it, the problem would cease to be. Anyway, I live on the second floor of an apartment building, and we all know that mice can't scale walls, right? Right?
A few days later my mother ignored my strong denial vibes, and confirmed the existence of a mouse. In the house. In MY house. Running around in the kitchen. Feasting on leftovers. Making a home in the dishes that we cook in. Leaving droppings in random places. BLEAAARGHHHH! (If that doesn't translate, please insert your preferred expression of strong disgust.)
Still, even though I had to face the fact of the mouse's existence, I didn't feel the need to ACT on that knowledge. Until a few days later when the kitchen started smelling. Bad. Still, Indian-style-shoulders-shrugging-what-to-do-life-sucks-so let's-ignore-it, I didn't react.
Until Monday morning, when my mum peered into my room, and said "The kitchen smells. We need to find the source of the smell."
Overcoming my initial reaction of saying "Go for it!" and firmly shutting my room door, I correctly interpreted my mum's statement as a cry for help. A few similar experiences from living away from home helped me remember what the correct response was: Jump up, ready to do battle, with the words "Do you need some moral support?" (A small part of me was hoping moral support was all that was needed, by which I mean standing in the background and screaming- I excel at that.)
Unfortunately, my mum's usual partner in pest hunts, my dad, was sick, so I manfully (!) straightened my shoulders and strode into battle. We first sniffed around a lot, and came to the conclusion that yes, the smell stench definitely was reminiscent of rotting flesh, and it definitely seemed to be coming from in or behind the oven/ cooking range. We convinced my dad to come out and pry the (huge and heavy and tightly jammed into place) oven out of its place, which he did and then retired back to bed with his book. Then we peered in and around all the crevices of the oven. Nothing.
By that time we had reinforcements of the moral support variety- the lady who cooks for us, and her daughter-in-law (who comes to keep her saas company) arrived and got into the spirit of the thing, sniffing around, and very confidently pointing out the corner of the oven where the stench was worst.
I then took on the role of my dad and awesome-at-emergencies sister (who was at work), and unscrewed the back of the oven, while my mum held the flashlight. We gingerly poked around the back with a screwdriver and a knife once it was opened, while I kept my body poised to jump back three feet if in fact I actually did discover something. This was when I faced that ultimate question: Did I WANT to find a mouse? And if so, would I prefer a live mouse jumping out at me in a bouncy joie-de-vivre ENFP manner? Or a dead mouse which would overpower me with the disgusting sight of its rotting flesh and sickly stench, which would of course be 100 times worse once I could SEE the body?
Both my mother and I were disgusted and a little scared, but tried to hide our fear so as not to annoy the other. But then my mum took a quick break from The Hunt. She returned in a few minutes to let us know that she had called her ladies to ask them to pray. Yup, it had reached that level of seriousness. Christian ladies were now storming heaven for the end of the Evil Mouse Stench.
You do want to know how this ended, right?
Well, we did NOT find the body. We would have to take apart the oven into little bits to get further in, and I doubted my ability to put it back together. So we finally gave up... until, the next morning when my mum conceived of Her Ultimate Deadly Mouse Killing Plan: It consisted of three steps:
1. Switch on the oven.
2. Bake mouse.
3. Hope that mouse disappears.
Her plan was carried out, and the inhabitants of our home almost threw up when we realized that the strange and disgusting smell wafting through our home was Baked Mouse.
We were doubtful about how exactly baking the mouse would make things better, but when we replaced the word 'baked' with 'incinerated', we all felt much more hopeful and logical.
Two days later, the smell has almost gone. All that is left of the mouse is a charred heap of ashes in some corner of the oven. (Please don't disillusion me if that's not how it works.)
The End. (Please, Jesus.)
[From the archives.]