Iganga Town, Uganda
October 27, 2010

Mickey was cute…at first. Funny in his lack of fear and disregard of anyone sitting and watching him meander across the concrete floor, climb the book shelf, and nestle there like we were all pals.

He was Ralph S. Mouse minus the motorcycle.  Ralph S. Mouse with the added benefit of fleas and disease.

Mickey was funny, but only when I assumed he was an outside mouse come to visit. I should have known better, he looked too comfortable.  So when my roommate discovered a mouse hole in her room – impressive because our walls are solid concrete – she decided it was time to wage war. Everything came off of her floor (leading the discovery of piles of excavated chunks of concrete wall and an additional two mouse holes).

More than war – this was mousekrieg.

Dedicated, she went into town in search of mousetraps, only to discover there are only rat traps and the necessary lusoga phrase to find them in the store is akatego. Then there was the poison and the sticky sheet traps…a sticky sheet and spring trap in her room, a spring trap under the kitchen sink, one behind my door.

At first it wasn’t working. The previous war, waged on the office side, yielded three quick kills in rapid succession. Apparently their neighbors – our rodent roommates – had evolved.

They evaded us for days. My roommate was losing heart. Then, sadly, she caught a gecko. they eat mosquitoes and are ugly cute and familiar in that “gieco will save you money” kind of way. sadder still because she caught it in a sticky trap and a brick had to finish the job.

But a few days later she was all smiles. She’d caught one. And it was as if a damn burst: two in her room, one in the kitchen. Then, the other night, I came home to one in my trap. Too late and too gross to deal with the deceptively cute and fuzzy corpse, I went to sleep. My roomie, having heard the snap the previous night, inquired first thing the following morning. Then she rolled her eyes and grumbled loudly, “you are such a girl” when she asked if I wanted her to take it out of the trap.

Hey, who am I to look a gift mousekrieger in the trap?

The traps have been quiet for a few days. I’d like to be naïve enough to believe the inactivity is proof that they are all gone, but I know better. Mice reproduce much like their hoppy long-eared twitchy-nose friends.

We haven’t figured out what they’re eating. Our food is carefully stored in the kitchen and only the concrete walls seem to have holes. It might be as simple as shelter, the rains have come and our place is mostly dry and just a quick scurry away from the compost heap in the backyard. Compost, a veritable feast if you into that kind of thing…and they are.

Unsure of how many extra roommates remain, for now I’ll call the uneasy quiet a temporary peace…all is quiet on the mouse-strewn front.

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1 Comment on rodent roommates

  1. Marston says:

    This should be published… I mean all these pieces. Linnea I had no idea you were do prolific and talented..maybe a little idea… Food and words… captured …my attention

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