On Sunday night I did my duty as security guard for the mercantile. I pulled my van between the mercantile and the rentable yurt behind it. I hung my curtains immediately, and no one bothered me.
On Monday morning I woke up early and went into the mercantile before 6am. I used the WiFi to check Facebook and schedule a couple of short blog posts. While I was standing behind the counter messing around on my laptop, I glanced across the room, and under shelves holding t-shirts I saw a mouse butt disappearing into the shadow.
Get out of here! I shouted at the creature. You don’t live here!
I don’t know if my words influenced the rodent of if it was just the vibration of my yelling that sent it on its way. I didn’t really care why it left; I was glad to see it go.
On Tuesday morning The Big Boss Man handed me three boxes of rodent poison. I put on latex gloves, pulled the cover off each tray, then placed the trays full of poison pellets behind and under lockers and shelves.
The Man is really sad about killing the mice. I’m not too happy about the murder of mice myself, but I haven’t come up with a another effective solution.
Possible Solution #1: Let mice live in the mercantile.
Problems with Possible Solution #1: Mice will shit and piss everywhere. Having shit and piss all over the mercantile would be gross and unsanitary. Also, mice would chew merchandise and use clothing to make their nests.
Possible Solution #2: Catch mice in a live trap.
Problems with Possible Solution #2: Mice caught in a live trap must be released miles from their home, or they will soon return to the original location. I doubt The Big Boss Man is going to drive mice miles down the road looking for a place to release them humanely.
Possible Solution #3: Get one of those devices that (allegedly) emit high frequency sounds that (allegedly) drive rodents away.
Problems with Possible Solution #3: I’m not sure those devices even work. The devices need electricity to work, and one might use more electricity than the store’s solar panels transmit to battery storage. Such a device might cause the store’s generator to run at night, interfering with the quietude of nature and possibly annoying campers.
Possible Solution #4: Get a cat to live in the store.
Problems with Possible Solution #4: Some customers will be allergic to cats and have a bad reaction when they walk into the mercantile. The cat will sleep on stacks of shirts, leaving fur and allergens behind.
Later on Tuesday morning, an extended family from Missouri walked into the mercantile. The boy child was about six, and the girl child was probably ten. Both had blond hair and round checks. The mom and dad seemed wholesome and spoke to the children and each other calmly. This branch of the family—parents and kids—wore matching t-shirts in support of the girl’s friend who had cancer. The grandparents came in a little after the rest of the family.
Grandpa sported a mustache and wore a ball cap and a t-shirt from a Christian fishing event with a quote from the Bible on the back. (Of course, he had on pants too, but there was nothing remarkable about them.) Grandma had permed her thin brown hair and wore glasses and simple, casual clothes appropriate for a walk in the forest. I suppose I’m old because the grandparents seemed closer to my age group than the parents were.
The members of the family were lingering, seemingly looking at every single item in the mercantile. I stood behind the register and daydreamed while I waited for someone to bring up selections for me to ring up.
Suddenly Grandma screamed! It was a high-pitched, scared scream, not angry yelling. Probably a better word for the sound Grandma emitted is “shriek.”
Everyone in the store turned to look at her.
I’m sorry, she gasped. There was a mouse!
She said she’d picked up a t-shirt and as she lifted it, a mouse fell to the floor, then scurried away. She was apologetic, obviously embarrassed, and still terrified. She wouldn’t even go back to the side of the store where the mouse incident had occurred. She handed off the mousy t-shirt to the other clerk and picked out a shirt from a shelf as far away from her rodent encounter as possible.
I identified with her discomfort. I would have shrieked too if a mouse had fallen out of a t-shirt I was considering for purchase. I probably would have left the store and never returned.
I felt for the poor little mouse too. It had probably just eaten some poison and was looking for a softly comfortable place to die. Instead of finding a peaceful death, it was shrieked at and dropped to the floor. I hope my own passing is less eventful.