If ever there was a gruesome discovery, it was what I found under my hood that fateful day. My cat’s sudden obsession with my car began to alert me that something was afoot (literally) beneath my radar. Not gifted with supersonic ears sensitive to subterranean animals, I had no idea that I would find a nest under my hood. In my understanding of mice, I had made a few critical errors:
1) Mice live in fields, trees, bushes, and occasionally houses—not cars.
2) Mice are small.
3) Mice are not intelligent.
When I opened my hood, I discovered an intricate nest, crafted of twigs, papers, and the interior engine lining from my car. Most notably, the mouse had chosen to chew up a Charles Bukowski chapbook I had in storage in the shed, Betting on the Muse. “Now the telephone doesn’t ring, the young girls are gone, the party is over,” the shred of paper mourned.
Pele the cat followed me in my investigation, sniffing and then pulling away.
“What cat is afraid of a little mouse?” I teased.
I removed the nest, tossing the work of art into the bushes, hoping the mouse would pack up and move to a more appropriate home. Pele followed, sniffed, and ran into the house.
Next morning, it was still dark when I got in my car to go to work. Everything was quiet. Curiosity guided me to my hood again; this time, I slowly opened it and peeked in.
Prior to that morning, I had never screamed like a girl. It came out of me like a surprised drunken hurl. My hands went to my face and I did the little ballerina dance of a scared child.
This was no ordinary mouse. This was a supersized genetic oddity. A rodent on steroids. A squirrel mouse hybrid. This was the leader of the teenage mutant ninja turtles. Not Turtle Power—Rat Power!
Believing in the radical notion of non-harm, I decided to find a peaceful solution. Little did I know that my rat friend would declare war.
Little Red Vs. Big Mouse Part One: Pele's Message