Nemesis, the goddess of divine retribution, my family was positive that name was appropriate. Webster refers to a nemesis as a formidable and usually victorious rival or a curse, and I must admit that our Nemesis was unquestionably victorious and unmistakably a curse. How could four mature people and three full-grown cats be defeated by a creature that could take a nap in a Dixie cup? Measuring little more than five inches from the tip of her
twitching, pink nose to the end of her brown, hairless tail, she was the most unlikely of foes, but mouse traps were her entertainment and chocolate was her addiction.
She introduced herself by leaving her calling cards in every drawer of the bathroom vanity. Then graduated to my son’s room where she raided his candy supply. When confronted in the act of thievery, she merely blinked her eyes, then made off with an entire candy bar. Unfortunately, Nemesis was as cute as she was intelligent. She possessed a soft, shiny brown coat, a face full of long, delicate whiskers, and huge, dark eyes that made you fall in love with her the instant you saw her. This mouse was adorable. She knew it, and she used it. Her brazen and successful attempts at daylight robbery left us in awe, and the disregard she felt for traps was incredible. She would raid them and leave behind nothing but a calling card or a puddle of pee to show her contempt.
Desperate to stop her from leaving her little messes all through the house, we decided to switch to more drastic means of catching her. The cats were a complete failure. The two oldest ignored her, and the youngest, that has the IQ of a biscuit, was recruited as the mouse’s faster mode of transportation. (Note: The cat actually carried Nemesis around like a kitten. We caught them at this more than once.) Next came the canning jar. The strategy was simple. Place a candy bar in ½ gallon jar and wait. When Nemesis fell in, slap on the lid. Presto! One mouse, under glass, ready for transport to the barn. We were amazed to find that our little Nemesis could jump 18 inches straight up with a candy bar in her mouth.
No longer feeling welcome in my son’s room, Nemesis had Kitsten carry her downstairs so that she could explore new worlds and seek out new food sources to exploit. To the mouse’s dismay, the entire downstairs world was devoid of chocolate! In mere days, our little mouse was going into withdraw. Despairing over the loss of her beloved chocolate, Nemesis recruited her cat mode of transportation and retired to my daughter’s room. There she constructed a comfy, winter cottage in the underwear drawer and began the monumental job of chewing a passageway through 100-year-old, newly refinished woodwork in an effort to reach the stash of chocolate in the room beyond.
This miniature monster had to be stopped! The next trap we devised would put an end to this mouse’s chocolate stealing ways. Steps built of books worked their way to the top of a 30-gallon, trash can. Scattered about the bottom of that can were fruit, nuts, birdseed… and a solitary Hershey’s kiss.
This mouse’s addiction became her undoing. Within an hour of the trap being set, our Nemesis was seated in the bottom of the trashcan contentedly chewing on her beloved chocolate. We placed a cover on the can, and the next morning, she and I took the short walk to the barn. When I tilted the can to set her free, she paused for a moment and stared at me with those huge, dark eyes, then chose a snack from the goodies at the bottom of the can and scampered off.
Will we miss her? Kind of… Maybe…No, not actually.