A Man and Mice

Saturday night I’d reached this point where I realise I’ve not been productive. So around 9.30, I get up to do something. Food shopping. I figure the supermarket will be quiet at this time.

I step out the lift and the man who lives downstairs is out.

I speak to him on occasions. You can tell he’s a good person, Sometimes he’s super drunk. Sometimes he forgets previous conversations and who you are. But you can tell he’s a good person.

It’s almost impossible for you to try and pass him without him trying to talk to you. But on this night, he just looked back and then at the ground. No attempt to talk. Could barely get a hello from him.  He looks upset. He’s cradling something.

My head didn’t really want to stop, I’m on a food mission. But my heart could tell he was distressed. So, I ask him.

 ”What’s wrong?”

He shouts.

“Look! I don’t know what to do!”

He’s crying.

He walks up to me and holds something out.

Now I know what he’s cradling – it’s near my face. It’s a mouse! My instinct, reflex, is push him and the mice away and run, but thankfully instead I manage to jump back quickly.

“I don’t know what to do, it’s pregnant, what do I do?”

I come a little closer and take a look. He was right. It looks pregnant. It’s stuck in a glue trap. All it’s little fur and feet is fixed and meshed into it. It’s struggling to move. It’s so inhumane. I feel so bad. It’s a little living creature.

“I don’t mind them, I really don’t, it’s just they can’t live with me, in my cupboards and everywhere. What do I do?! “It’s pregnant!?”

He grabs the chain around his neck, holds the cross and says a prayer

Everything’s happening so quickly. And it’s so dark on the estate.

“Ok. It’s ok. Let me put my torch on and we’ll see if there’s any way it can be freed”

I say that as if I might have a clue. Truth is, I don’t. I didn’t even know that “gluetraps” existed. I watch the mouse squirm. I avoid shining the torchlight from my phone in it’s eye. I take a breath and I take a few moments to think. That normally helps. Unfortunately, there is absolutely nothing helpful in my head.

He says:

“I don’t want to pull it, I’ll pull it apart”

He starts to touch it.

“Don’t do that! You’re right. It’ll hurt it more.”

I say.

I get flash backs of Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” and how distraught Lennie feels when he hurts the animals not realising its own strength.

He looks at me to help. I look down, the mouse stops moving. We wait some more.

 “I think it’s gone- it’s a peace now”

He’s distraught. I feel sad for the mouse, but genuinely believe it’s better at peace.  I say:

” There’s nothing you could do, you can’t have them live in your home, it’s not good for you.”

He discards the remains and asks me to say hello to his dog. He opens the door and the dog runs towards me.

 “Oi! Don’t look at her! “

I turn to find a group of young men in cars watching me. They drive away. That’s what I mean when I say you know he’s a good guy- he looks out for people around here.

“They’re annoyed at me, they tried to offer me a “tester” the other day – I told them to get lost “

I reply.

” Yeah. Good, stay away from all that”

His dogs run around the block.

“Can you go get him, he listens to you”

Considering my limited encounters with that dog, I highly doubt that.
But I try. All of a sudden I’m wondering around this estate trying to get his dog back.

I get him back and by now, a friend of he man arrives. I get introduced. The man tells his friend about the guys in the car and retells other stories about drugs. His friend advises him well:

” yeah you need to surround yourself with good people and stop caring about idiots. Look after yourself.”

I’m glad he has good people around him. I figure now’s a good time to leave. But the man says:

 “I’m not dumb. If anyone could give me a chance. I’d write a dissation,,, dissertation.”

Talk turns quickly to this man’s passion: physics.

“If my dog runs from here to… here at the speed of light…it means…”

His friend counters him:

“Nah that’s not right, you’re talking about time travel”

I’m now standing here like a spectator to this intense physics debate. They each keep turning to me for approval with their calculations. I nod a lot but respond quite truthfully.

“I really don’t know…”

I tell them both it’s definitely time for me to leave and wish them all the best with their debate. And that was that. I run back upstairs, change my clothes and wash my hands. Just in case. I hear mice can carry lots of diseases. And I felt weird food shopping with that.

It was an unpleasant, unexpected and unwanted experience but what I took away most was the man’s kind-nature and empathy towards the little pregnant mouse that had been living in his home. He genuinely didn’t want it to be hurt or harmed and was distraught by having to rid of it in the way he did. Honestly speaking I think he completely forgot that mice existed by the time I left. Good nature never quite leaves people though -sometimes we just see it under unexpected strange circumstances.


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