Friday, December 4, 2009

The infiltration

My boss loves to bake and cook, as do I. Many Mondays find us exchanging casserole samplings or baked goods, the occasional cookies, etc. It's fun, and a nice way to break up the monotony of eating meals at work, which can get pretty dull.

Recently, a new week began and I found a lovely pumpkin muffin awaiting my return to the office after a weekend. There it sat on my desk, pretty and browned, wrapped in clear cellophane, beckoning to me. I was strong and left it sitting next to my keyboard; I had plenty to eat already that day, the office traffic was frenetic, and as I bustled about talking to clients, I thought about how it would brighten the following afternoon.

The next workday came, and a couple of hours into the day I looked longingly at the muffin. It would be tasty with a cuppa tea... and then I saw it. Crumbs near the wrapper. I eat so many things at my desk that I assumed my own messy nature had brought about the crumbs; I'd probably dribbled them from a recent cookie or bread. But no. A closer look revealed something in the cellophane wrap that made me shudder: a hole.

A nibbled hole. A small, rough-edged entry, further marked by an indentation in the muffin itself. A perfect little proof of rodent infestation.

I looked. I looked again. I turned to my boss, who sits behind me. "How concerned should I be about this?"

She glanced at my computer screen, assuming I'd managed to invite yet another virus into the office server. She looked pointedly at the monitor, perplexed. "What?"

"No, THIS." I indicated the hole in the muffin with a disgusted finger.

She looked, and looked more closely. Her face changed completely; the inquisitive, confused expression was suddenly repulsed, her mouth twisted involuntarily, her brows rose and her eyes widened. "Oooooooooh!"

"Oh, yes." We looked at the ruined muffin with shared horror. She mentioned some earlier indications from months ago, where she'd wondered whether there was an issue but had blamed the bad-mannered, sloppy students. Now, though, we knew: sloppy though those students may be, they were not to blame for shredded candy wrappers. Oh, no.

I threw some of my now-contaminated food stash away, and left only a lone granola bar and a foil-wrapped bag of rice crisps. Mice couldn't eat through foil, could they? They couldn't get inside the desk drawers. My goods were safe.

The next morning, I am saddened to say I learned I was so very wrong; yes, they eat through foil, and yes, they can climb inside desk drawers.

All the food has since been banished from my clearly penetrable desk, straight into the work-kitchen garbage. And the traps sit, waiting. Poised to catch a mouse. Set to snap on an unsuspecting, treat-seeking critter. A sly, sneaky, hungry pest that, if I saw it, would likely charm me with its cuteness.

But I have not seen it. I see only the evidence of its filthy, thieving ways. When next I see it, IF next I see it, I hope it is caught.

Truth be told, I'm hoping it realizes what it's up against and just moves elsewhere. I really don't want it dead. I just don't want it in my desk. OR in my baked goods. YUCK.


Athelas63 said...

Oh for heaven's sake. Cut off the nibbled corner and eat the rest. It's a MOUSE, chances are slim it's an Ebola carrier or such. Pests are part of life. Yes, I, too, would put out a trap. I would tidy up the loose food at the desk.

But I would have eaten the rest of the muffin....

Mel said...

I thought I could eat it. I could not. The hole was fairly deep and was centered perfectly on the side. I pictured the tiny beast slobbering as he ate, thought about how his possibly contagious spittle would dry and be invisible to any other viewer, and I simple was unable to bring myself to try any other portion of the muffin. Tainted or un, I had lost my appetite for it. I'm usually not squeamish about bugs and beasts, but knowing something got to my edible before I did really turns me off of even the sweetest tidbits.

chris h. said...

We have an ongoing battle with the critters in the unfinished part of our attic in the eaves. So far, the death count is 14! (over a couple years -- can't figure out where they're getting in) We've reused the same "can't see it, just throw it away" mousetrap they advertise on TV...saving $70 in the process... grosses me out every time, though.

chris h. said...

Oops -- that should be $40 savings...and climbing. There's probably another victim up there now.

Mel said...

darned mice. still haven't caught it--the rascal took the granola bar bait and left the stupid trap unsprung. you realize, don't you, that this means war.

yep, bringing out the peanut butter. I'll get that sucker.