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 grumpily.
"Theres a mouse over there, by the door."
Eva lifted her head slightly so she could see.
"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 thing?"
"Well they can cause a lot of damage."
"Couldn't we get one of those traps that catches them alive?"
"Then what do we do with it?"
"Couldn't we let it out in the garden?"
"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 colour."
"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 Eva
"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 fire thing.
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 machine.
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
"Oh great! now we'll have to get the plasterer in again."said Eva eyeing the holes in the wall.
"It's in the wall and I'm going to kill it!"
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 doing?"
"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 bastard."
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
"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
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 news."
"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 it?"
"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 rubble.
"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.
© Copyright 2016 Richard M Bromley. All rights reserved.