Meet Mickey.

Keep smiling, mouse. Your time shall come. Photo: Wikipedia
Keep smiling, mouse. Your time shall come. Photo: Wikipedia

We have a mouse.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “No, Mary Fons. You live in New York City. What you have is a rat.” But I assure you, we have a mouse. If it were a rat, I would not be writing this from inside the apartment because I would be in Toledo.

About a month ago, I was here, minding my owns and zip! The ol’ peripheral vision registered a tiny off-black dot moving extremely fast across the parquet floor. When you see a mouse for the first time, you don’t think you have. Reason scolds fact into thinking it imagined something. I guess if you walked into a small, windowless room and flipped on a light switch, if there was a mouse in there, you’d see it. But when there are rugs, table legs, and adult-onset exhaustion in the mix — and you aren’t used to seeing mice — you just go back to your book.

“I think I saw a mouse,” I said to Yuri several days later. My peripheral vision had caught the fast-moving off-black blur again. Fool me once, mouse, shame on you. Fool me twice…well, you’re not gonna fool me again.

“Naw,” Yuri said.

A few days later, I came home from a business trip. With wide eyes, Yuri told me about the astonishingly nimble, light-footed mouse that had been keeping him company while I was gone.

“That little sucker moves fast,” he said, he told me how he was up and working into the wee hours several nights in a row and saw the mouse once each night, lasering from one side of the apartment to the other. I said we should get some traps or ask my sister if we could borrow her cat. My sister’s cat was born sometime during the Jurassic Period; we opted for traps.

And we named him Mickey, naturally. We’re tell ourselves we’re battling just Mickey, but sure, that’s naive. Where there is one mouse, there are many; where there is one critter that can steal the cheese from the trap without getting caught, there are legions of them, all in Cheese College, learning the trades while stupid humans ask each other if maybe chocolate will work, or peanut butter.

Earlier today, Yuri said, “Mickey. Just like a woman. Can’t live with ‘im, can’t live without ‘im.”

This made zero sense. In no way did this make sense on any level. Sometimes this man tries out idioms just for fun, just to say them. He’s curious and provocative and I smacked my forehead and shook my head, lamenting this.

But he sets the traps.