In her quest to further explore the not-so-secret hierarchy of NYC critters, Staff writer Sydney takes a deep dive into one of the more overlooked rodent factions: mice.

One fateful, snowy morning, I was walking into my kitchen, ready to resurrect my barely animated corpse of a body with a nice cup of coffee, when I heard something that made me jump. It was faint, subtle, but ultimately, was the unmistakable sound of a squeak. Immediately, I sprung onto the couch in pure fear. I had upset the natural order, betrayed the hierarchy, stepped a foot out of line. And the mice knew…they knew…

Now, I know what you all are thinking. “But Sydney, mice aren’t like those gross rats on the subway, they are cute, sweet, and harmless and all they want to do is be your friend.” While I am aware that mice are tiny, cute, and ultimately way preferable to rats (sorry Remy), I believe this is a lie created by the mass media we have all been complacent in consuming and believing from a very young age. What with Mickey and Minnie Mouse being the faces of the corporation that constructed our childhoods as well as fictional mice like the Mouse you give a cookie to and Stuart Little warming our little, malleable minds and hearts, it’s all a smokescreen. Mice are not cute, they are menacing, calculating, manipulative, spiteful, and petty little creatures who, much like their brethren roaches and rats, have figured out how to live in nice NYC apartments rent-free. (I’d like to think they watch us, sad-sap humans, from their little hiding holes and laugh when they look at us opening our bills.)

Now, onto how I wronged the specific mouse clan that had set up shop in the walls of my apartment. Well, about three months prior, my roommates and I were in the thick of a diplomatic and territorial conflict with a certain mouse whom we had named Mousilini. He was the first mouse to boldly grace our kitchen countertops, and several times forced us to deep clean our kitchen. After a week or so, I was running out of patience and Windex, and my roommates and I decided we were done bending to the whims of this fascist, mouse dictator. So, we got a whole bunch of traps, put them everywhere, and waited for the desperate streaks of Mousillini to emanate from underneath our oven. However, Mousillini made it clear he wasn’t going down without a fight. Multiple mornings I walked into the kitchen to see our elaborate strand of glue traps pushed out from underneath the oven, a gesture that was Mousilini’s equivalent to slapping us across the face. He was not amused, but neither were we. Seemingly at a stalemate, and out of options, my roommates and I sat at the dinner table, fatigued, humiliated, ready to surrender, when all of the sudden, we heard violent squeaks from under the oven. It was then that we saw Mousilini desperately trying to pry himself off of the sticky, glue trap. His boldness had gotten the best of him. He had fulfilled his Icarus-like prophesy and his day of reckoning was upon him. Squirming on that glue trap, he no longer looked the part of the clever, omnipotent, fascist dictator but rather a sad, scared, squeaky mouse who wanted nothing more than to be set free.

My roommates and I decided to show him mercy. We respected his tactical ambitions and his cleverness in avoiding us for so long, so I picked up the glue trap, slathered him in melted butter to release him from his sticky prison, and let him run free in Riverside Park. What should have been a gesture of mercy, however, turned out to be a regrettable moment of weakness. The mice that still resided in our walls were enraged by the deposition of their fierce leader, and, under the assumption that we would not dare use kill traps against them, grew bold and decided to launch a full-scale invasion of our kitchen.

It’s been months, multiple packs of mousetraps (which so far have only been successful at catching humans), bottles of repellent spray, endless cleaning of countertops but the mice have stood their ground. Their ingenuity and ability to squeeze through the tiniest holes have rendered them a formidable foe, as they are determined to avenge their leader, Mousilini at all costs (except for the cost of rent which I have resolved to charge them triple of if we ever settle, mostly for emotional reparations.) However, I can tell they are growing desperate. Frequently, I see wood chips scattering my floor, evidence of their desperation to escape our apartment. I sometimes find myself waking up in a cold sweat, thinking I hear the faintest scurrying across the floor, or the tiniest squeak emanating from the kitchen. I sometimes think to myself on those nights, maybe I should go out into the kitchen, face them once and for all, put an end to the madness. But no. For I know who would win in that fateful confrontation. So, I have resided myself to maintain this tête-à-tête with the mice, as long as they are willing to engage in battle. Perhaps they will overtake us one day, or overtake the apartment rather when we move out in August, but I refuse to give up. Sometimes I feel like a fool, thinking about how much I underestimated these little devils, thinking how naive I was to let their leader live. If there is one thing I have learned in my six months of living in New York it’s that mice are not cute, but rather, the true menaces of NYC.

Image via Bwog Archives