I draw the line at teeth marks in the butter. But poison is a bad idea: the bodies rot between the basement joists or who knows where and though the smell is brief because mice have such little bodies and such delicate bones, it is a terrible stench.
Sometimes they fall into the sump well in the southwest corner of my studio. They can’t get out. They either starve or, if there are a couple of inches of water down there, they drown.
I hope this isn’t the wealth corner of my studio, but if it is, that would explain a lot.
I was down there looking for the lid to a carved African object that a friend gave me. The book I’m reading about babalawos and Ifa made me think of it. I didn’t find the carved African top. Instead, there’s Pikachu! Oh and look, a miniature plastic pram with little wheels that roll. Of course I think of Saskia, but unlike Nancy who recently mailed a menagerie from her home in California to Saskia‘s in Holland, I can’t give these away. Not yet, anyway. (No matter how much I would love to hear Saskia’s marvelous and inventive storytelling).
The African carving is embellished with two snakes, two fish, and a turtle. The figure’s face is stylized and mysterious. The bent body looks capable of holding up continents and storm clouds. But then again, the crouch gives off the impression of coiled power, as if it might at any moment spring forth to perform magic or juggle planets. Picture this: Pikachu on the window sill next to the lidless African figure. Ouch! “There’s my morning,” I think. I’m Pikachu hoping to learn enough about Yoruban divination methods to be able to write a credible and respectful chapter about same.
The lid is a monkey. I wonder where it is. It feels important, this morning, to find it.
If I am a synthetic, diminutive, cute plastic figure that speaks gibberish, I will at least give myself points for being curious.
And to be fair, that’s not my whole morning thus far.
I am waiting for Raffi who will see if he can walk Finn with two or three other dogs from the neighborhood. A big experiment.
(I know Raffi doesn’t have children, because if he did and he had spent even a FRACTION of the hours that I have spent in a vehicle listening to a singer by the same name, he would call himself “Rafe”).
Finn and I played fetch in a bitter winter wind earlier. I want him to have run off some of his enormous stores of physical energy before this novel experience.
Gusts of wind sent fans of new fallen snow off rooftops. It made me pull my hood up over my woolen hat. It was not a good day to have walked out without gloves. But I find gloves, leash, and treats a little unmanageable.
Up at the field, I thought about how the wind traveled across so many miles to arrive here in Massachusetts… gathering up cold from Canada as it swept across the Great Lakes… shoving snow and ice onto Indiana…. pushing tractor trailers off of highways in Pennsylvania and Illinois.
It’s okay to be a little cold. And to confess: it’s also okay to emulate writers I love. You should read how Mark Helprin describes wind in his novel, “In Sunlight and in Shadow.” It’s un-fucking-believable. I kid you not.
But back to the cold? My physical discomfort has a way of disappearing in the face of Finn’s unalloyed and athletic joy. His graceful sprints never fail to impress. He barrels in loops with this easeful velocity before scooping up the tennis ball and running back. Another loop, this time behind me. He barks after dropping the ball at my feet: ‘throw it again. Again! AGAIN!!’ His reserve of play-energy seems bottomless. It cheers me up, every time.
Pikachu, African power-figure, Finn, a bitter wind scouring the landscape. And somewhere, dead mice. Back to work!
* I just read that Pikachu is supposed to be a mouse. Who knew?!