Mother Goose usually smiles, but on this day between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, there were few smiles to be found in the home of the goose. There were tears springing forth from the weak eyes of Mother Goose and sobs of frustration and nauseous gagging and retching.
WARNING: This post contains graphic images of a dead mouse.
On the previous evening, the teenage sons of Mother Goose informed her that there was a very sour smell upstairs in their bedroom loft area. Dutiful as always and feeling the need to be a good mother about this, I climbed the steep staircase and sniffed loudly. “No,” I answered. “I don’t smell anything except perhaps the ink on this newly printed T-shirt.” I left the area, confident that there was no need for alarm.
The next morning a sickly green haze hung in the air of the teenage sons’ bedroom. The plants of Mother Goose had all wilted away. The noxious fumes had permeated every square inch of air in the home of the Goose family. Young men and women all around the house were choking and gagging. Mother Goose was quick to realize that their home was infested with a horrible smell, and that all of the teenage gym shoes and Axe sprays were not going to cover the harsh and putrid aroma in that bedroom.
Husband Goose announced in a very loud voice, “There’s a dead mouse upstairs!” And then he promptly left the house for an unexpected client meeting downtown.
With a clothespin on the end of her beak and a sturdy broom in her hand, Mother Goose began the search for the dead mouse.
The upstairs is home to three teenage sons, none of whom are familiar with the magical wonder of a vacuum machine. I looked here and carefully looked there. Nothing to be seen on the first quick glance around the area. Though the temperature outside was less than twenty degrees, I threw open the window and gulped the fresh cold air as if it were the finest draft of spring water in the world.
It was then that Mother Goose realized that this would be the most difficult project of her life. I am quite certain that you have heard the phrase “like finding a needle in a haystack”. At this point in the life of Mother Goose, I would welcome the search for the rhetorical and theoretical needle in the haystack.
Like an undersea diver, I stuck my head out the window and filled my lungs with outside air. I began to pull boxes and bags out from under beds. I peeked carefully into each and every shopping bag, shoe box and gym shoe. I will surely find some physical evidence of the mouse, I thought to myself.
Walking from one bed to another, I sniffed and sniffed. I sniffed here and I sniffed there. Here it was not so bad… and here it was not so bad… but over here, the smell nearly knocked me over. Mother Goose sensed that the rotten mouse must be very very close to her nose.
You may ask Mother Goose to describe the odor.
It was the smell of death. It was the smell of rotten cabbages. It was the smell of century old pickles spilled down the front of my feathery breast. It was the smell of garbage.
It was the smell of sewage and the smell of skunks.
It was the smell of hell.
Tears sprayed from the stinging eyes of Mother Goose.
I removed the sheets, blankets and pillows from the bed and shook them out. I single-handedly hoisted the mattress and removed it from the bed frame, giving me a clear view of the infested area.
No sign of the corpse, but the vapors were getting thicker by the minute.
A heating radiator runs along the length of the outside wall — it became my immediate target. The broom of Mother Goose was dispatched along and under the radiator, but bringing out no mouse whatsoever.
On my hands and knees I crawled down the floor to try and locate the putrid source. Tears streaming and throat retching, Mother Goose finally just laid down on the old wooden floor and wept for the complete frustration and sinus pain that had been inflicted on her. Her head throbbed and her stomach heaved as she lay on the floor trying to see under the heating vent.
And then she spotted something! “Quick,” shouted Mother Goose. “Hand me the flashlight! I believe I see something cooking here underneath the radiator cover!”
Suddenly and with much gusto, my sons ran to all four corners of the house to find a flashlight for their dear Mother.
“Here, Mom, here’s a real good one with an LED bulb. Can you see the rotten mouse?”
And there, sure enough, as still as a mouse will ever be, was the poor body of the poor house mouse. But how to remove the furry creature lodged so securely under the one inch opening. Indeed, Mother Goose has touched some nasty articles in her day, but none quite like this. I could only lay there prostrate on the floor gawking at the horror before me.
Ingenius teenage sons! They came running with a set of wooden chopsticks, paper towels and grocery bags — all perfect tools for the collection and disposal of the decaying mouse (which continued to decay even as I stared at it).
Mother Goose is not handy eating Chinese food with chopsticks, but I could definitely work them to my advantage in the poking and grabbing of the mouse. Only a small bit of liquid putrefaction exploded out of its abdomen as I pulled it back and forth to dislodge it from its rotten resting place.
Once out in the open, it was a simple matter to bundle the mouse body in several layers of paper towel and plastic bags and garbage bags and corrugated boxes and tin boxes and plastic containers. The family cheered as Mother Goose bravely carried the decadent bundle out of the house and deposited it into the dumpster.
Meanwhile upstairs at the scene of the mouse’s unfortunate circumstance, my teenage sons had found the right mix of Lysol sprays and bleaches and various cleaning products and were briskly applying them to the floor and surrounding surfaces.
Mother Goose is very happy to announce that the house smelled better within an hour.
But even as I type this story, my son is informing me that more mice have been spotted in the last few days, and somebody has even heard a squeak. The battle rages on, but rest assured of this: Mother Goose will once again emerge victorious!