Growing Old

I must admit I’m growing old. For the first time ever, earlier this week, I used a mousetrap, successfully, too. In my younger days, I didn’t ever need such deception to handle mice. I’d ruthlessly hunt them down, with a plastic pipe and a broom, and beat them to death. This time (for the first time after I moved to this house, I must say), there were a couple of occasions when I spotted the rodent, but it managed to give me the slip both times before I could hunt it down. I blame it on this house’s lack of doors (open kitchen and all that).

Back when I was a rat-hunter, I would feel no remorse while I hunted it down and killed it. The moment of remorse, and the feeling of having committed sin, would occur when it was time for me to throw out the carcass. I would feel terrible, though I never became sick. Near the earlier house, there were some vacant fields where I’d dump the carcass, for the benefit of some crow or hawk.

This time, the moment of remorse happened earlier, before I had even killed the mouse. After the mouse had been trapped, it was making a hell of a lot of noise trying to extricate itself from the mousetrap. And not knowing what to do with it, I followed the wife’s recommendation (her “native house” is frequently infested by rats, I learn) to dunk the mousetrap, along with its inhabitant into a bucket of water, thus killing by drowning. I thought this was a cowardly way to kill, rather than hunting down and beating. I remember singing “ding dong bell” as I performed the murder.

Mouse, given the havoc you created in my kitchen, and the cushions you chewed up, I think I’ve been justified in killing you. Now you can rust in peace.

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