I have forgotten how slick and comping the Lancaster mice were. How they shape shift from one dimension to another and ease through cracks so small one cannot see them. One mouse had- has now for weeks outsmarted prisoners and guards and turned his nose up to trap set to ensnare him. The mouse had telepathy or something.
I had just moved into cell block five and my plastic container lid was cracked. The mouse came in and slithered through the slit where my packaged food was and proceeded to eat his way through sunflower seeds, destroying two bags. And then he feasted on my Oreo cookies, not just one, but he nibbled on five different cookies.
Normally I sought to commune with the different animal species I encounter in prison, yet there was no communication with the super mouse. I only found out about the second bag of sunflower seeds when I picked it up. Seeds fell like rain. The next night I was given a Stick-Em type mousetrap. Sticky traps, ones that are considered humane.
For many years building five had been the hole, which means there were no prisoner movement except in handcuffs and chains and shackles around the legs. Nothing was ever cleaned, so the mouse had the run of the place for years, until recently it was brought online and made a regular building. So, the mice, like any thinking, living creature, we’re protesting against their homes and lives being changed, like animals losing a habitat, like a forest or a lake.
The next night I waited in silence and in darkness for the mouse. I blocked the bottom of the cell door, except one small area where I laid the trap. I knew how much he loved Oreo cookies, so I placed a double stuffed crum in the middle of the trap. I waited and about 1 AM the shadow of the mouse appeared by the door. He looked in, sniffed the air and then strolled on down the hall. I thought I heard a giggle.
I told some people the next day what had happened. Prisoners and guards told me, Oh, you used the wrong bait. He probably reached across the trap and nibbled at the cookie, but what really excites him is peanut butter. So, I asked the guard, you have trash all over your off- how many mouse have you caught? Oh nine.
That night, I dropped some peanut butter on the trap and left it at the corner of the door, the only entrance to the cell. One night passed, then through two, three, the whole week passed. Nothing happened. I was given many ideas on why the plan did not work, all, saying mice are just stupid little animals.
If that is the case, all of us are just dumb because not one mouse has been caught in that building. Some cats put sticky traps all across the doors and on what they thought were a mouse pass. Nothing works. Sticky traps were everywhere like mine fields. A mouse never showed, but some of the food disappeared from the traps. Another person said I had too much peanut butter on the trap and the mouse probably stood at the edge and reached over and ate like cattle in his backyard.
I decided to block the door and moved all my food to higher ground. The mouse did not come back to my cage, but he frequented the other cells where some still sought to trap it. No sticky trap ever caught a mouse. They jumped them like hurdles or hopscotched them and went on about their business. Everywhere, everyone who thought they had an edge ended up cussing and punching the air, throwing away soups, cookies, and crackers.
The fat handball-sized mouse just ran out of my cell, or my neighbor’s cell, in broad daylight and scooted down the hall to the green door that leads outside, where it flatten itself like paper, and slipped under the door like an envelope. I’m sure the super mouse was just scouting and planning his next journey for food.
(Sound of a cell door closing.) These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.