El Ratón Muerto

I am not sure that I have a context for what I have just done. I have just killed a mouse.

It all started as I sleepily walked to the shower for an evening bath. I flipped on the lights as usual and began to run the water. What first caught my eye were little black specks on the shower floor. On closer inspection, these specks appeared much like the leavings of a small rodent. My eyes followed the sparse trail of black where, to my horror, a mouse sat equally frightened.

It was almost as if time stopped and we made eye contact. Somewhere in the realm of inter-specific communication and beyond the realm of measurable time, we shared an exchange of primal thoughts. It was clear that neither of us was thrilled to be in the company of the other, but more was said. I can only convey to you now that in that moment, The Mouse and I experienced a deep connection and mutual sorrow. In different times, perhaps, or different worlds we could have been friends, maybe even good friends. We knew this then.

But the water was running. I knew my destiny. He knew his.

I alerted my wife to the situation, shut the bedroom door, and began to formulate a plan for his removal. The tub’s steep sides and the rising water line were presently keeping The Mouse occupied. I searched for a box to capture him but soon ruled this out for various reasons. My rival’s will to live was too great to allow him to go quietly. No box could hold this worthy gladiator. He would have fought me to his death or mine, and I was not interested in his running around my apartment. No, I knew; as I had inwardly known since birth, that a conflict such as this would always end in the death of one whose death came too soon. The fates demand such as this.

I searched and found my implements, a cardboard packing tube & 409 cleaning spray. As form would dictate, I began to spray The Mouse with 409 to dim his wits. The limiting of his pain was my concern. After a score of full sprays, I could observe the swiftness of his swimming diminishing. It became clear, however, that the valiancy of my opponent would forbid him from succumbing to so weak a blow.

With this, I was forced to take more severe measures. I knew the suffering must end quickly. Packing tube in hand, I began to strike at The Mouse anytime he surfaced for air. Clever and in full possession of his wits, he countered by climbing up the tube. With great strength I shook it, but his steely grip kept him there affixed. Shrieking, I gave full strength to my next shake, and flying he went into the shower wall.

He slid back into the water, but not before impressing me with his determination. Soon after, I made my fateful decision.

I began to poke him intermittently with the express purpose of keeping his head below the surface of the water. It was over very quickly. I took no joy in what I did.

I realized in the course of my final action that I had never caused our witnessed the death of a vertebrate organism. Something in his struggle to stay afloat reminded me of similar experiences learning to swim. His fear was almost palpable. Almost human.

I can say nothing as to what this episode has taught me, only that creation bears an amazing economy of means. Committed meat eater, though I remain, I see to appreciate what creation is and what it can be.