Brian, Eva and a mouse called bastard
Brian was sitting up in bed
reading, Eva was snoring gently beside him. He gradually became
aware of the feeling that he was being watched. He lowered his
book and looked across to the doorway. Sitting just inside the
door on the mat was a mouse, it was small and grey brown and it
was giving itself a wash. Brian watched fascinated for a few
moments and then gave Eva and nudge with his elbow.
"We've got a visitor."
"I was asleep." Said Eva
"Theres a mouse over there, by the
Eva lifted her head slightly so she
"Oh yes, isn't it cute. Can I go
back to sleep now?"
"We'll have to get a trap."
"Do we have to kill the poor
"Well they can cause a lot of
"Couldn't we get one of those traps
that catches them alive?"
"Then what do we do with
"Couldn't we let it out in the
"It's a house mouse, it would be
back in the house like a shot."
"How do you know it's a house mouse
Mister know it all?"
"0h,i thought all mice were that
"No, just house mice"
"There he goes, he's gone beyond
the dressing table."
The next day Brian went to the
hardware shop in the square and bought a very expensive' have a
heart' trap which was baited with cheese and set in the knee hole
of the dressing table. For the next three nights the bait was
eaten without setting off the trap. It was then that the chewing
started. Somewhere in the wall behind the dressing table, the
mouse that came to be called bastard found something that needed
to be chewed and set about the task with great enthusiasm. After
20 minutes of this Brian pulled the pillow down and covered his
head. After 25 minutes he got out of bed and thumped the wall
repeatedly. The gnawing stopped, he got back into bed. Five
minutes later the gnawing started it again and continued
intermittently throughout the night. The next morning Brian and
Eva had dark rings under their eyes.
"That mouse must die." Said
"What happened to, 'do we have to
kill the poor thing'?"
"That was before the little bastard
kept me awake all night."
That morning Brian went back to the
hardware shop and bought half a dozen little nipper break back
traps. These were distributed throughout the house and baited
with bacon rind which the shop assistant assured him was a sure
After another five days they had
failed to catch the mouse. It had successfully eaten the bait
from all six traps without setting a single one off. On the sixth
day Brian and Eva woke from their troubled sleep to find the
ground floor of their house flooded to a depth of 3 inches. When
the plumber finally arrived it appeared that the mouse called
bastard had chewed through the pipe that fed the washing
Brian and Eva spent a weary day
mopping and rolling up ruined carpets. A skip was hired and a
fair proportion of their worldly goods was thrown into it. When
the man from the insurance company came he did some calculations,
but when he discovered that the damage to the hose had been
caused by a mouse he told them that any claim that they made
would not be honoured because there was a clause in the small
print that excluded any damage caused by vermin.
Brian returned to the hardware shop
and enquired about poison and where he might be able to buy an
under the counter shot gun. That night as Brian prepared for bed
the mouse called bastard had the barefaced effrontery to show it
to be whiskered nose. Brian grabbed the high-powered air rifle
and started shooting with abandon. The mouse scuttled into one of
the many holes in the skirting board.
"Oh great! now we'll have to get
the plasterer in again."said Eva eyeing the holes in the
"It's in the wall and I'm going to
Brian started hacking at the wall
with a hatchet, reason had gone out the window, it was now him or
the mouse. For a moment Brian thought he had the bastard cornered
but it managed to squeeze through a hole in the floor. Brian
produced a crowbar and started pulling up the floorboards.
"Brian what the hell are you
"I've had it Eva, that mouse has
met its Waterloo, he's pushed me over the edge."
Brian got a torch and started
squeezing himself under the floor, he disappeared from view.
There was a scratching and scraping and then;
"I've got you now you little
It was suddenly very quiet, Eva
strained to see through the hole in the floor.
"Brian, are you all right?"
It took more than two hours for the
fire brigade to extract Brian from between the joists of the
bedroom floor. When they finally freed him it soon became
apparent that the trip to hospital was necessary, because Brian
had put his back out.
The house was taking on the
appearance of something in a war zone, virtually all of the
downstairs was ruined, and the main bedroom had no floor. Eva
followed the ambulance to the hospital.
"Ahh Mister Smith, I've got your
scan results here, it appears that you've slipped a disc. You'll
have to take things easy for a few weeks, but I see no reason why
you can't go home tomorrow."
Eva and Brian had the best nights
sleep in what seemed like months. Eva in her room in the
downmarket hotel opposite the hospital and Brian in the noisy
public ward. At about 5:30 AM one of the firemen that had
released Brian from under the bedroom floor turned up.
"Mister Smith, I've some really bad
"Really?" Said Brian rubbing sleep
from his eyes "that's a switch."
"I'm afraid your house has burned
down, I'm really sorry, we did everything we could. By the time
we got the call the fire was already well established."
"Have you any idea what caused
"I can't give you an official
answer, but it looks like an electrical fault."
Brian and Eva stood on the lawn and
stared at the pile of rubble that occupied the space where their
house used to be. They stood for a long time holding hands and
just looking. An occasional wisp of smoke rose from the
"At least that bloody mouse is
dead." Said Eva.
"Amen to that!" Said Brian. "At
least I've still got you."
Brian turned awkwardly, dropping
one of his crutches and they kissed. Behind them a piece of
rubble slipped down the pile and a small slightly singed mouse
poked its head out, sniffed the air and then scuttled quickly
through a small gap in the garden fence. So if one day you hear a
scratching, and a gnawing in your house be warned, it could be
the mouse called bastard.