Tuesday, February 12, dawned cold and clear in Manhattan. I was working the day watch out of public relations, Park Ave. South Division. The name is Purdue. Ratt Purdue.
As I clomped into my office, the radiator was blasting away like Mount Vesuvius with a hangover. Just looking at it made me sweat.
I exhaled. There it was, staring me in the mug: that bundle of computer cables I’d been meaning to untangle for years. This thing was messier than my second divorce. Swearing under my breath, I toed it with my Florsheim wingtip. Man, I need a shine, I thought.
Just then my partner, Lee Tuesday, wandered in. “Let me help you with that,” he said. Good ol’ Lee. More loyal than a mutt and half the trouble.
Lee peered under the steaming radiator at the spaghetti bowl of cables. He recoiled. “Call the meat wagon,” he spat. “We got us a stiff.”
My blood ran cold. Not another one. I squatted Yogi Berra style and looked under the radiator. A mouse…or what was left of one. Fur and a limp tail.
RIP Peppermouse. Lee reached under, grabbed the tail, and yanked it out. I’ve seen a lot of bodies in my time, but nothing like this. Just fur and bones, really. Good thing for my cast-iron gut. This little guy made Tut’s mummy look like Clark Gable.
What a waste. I stared down at the desiccated carcass. My heart beat like a badly tuned V8. “You don’t belong here, little guy. Everybody needs a place to belong. God knows I do,” I whispered. “But where you are now? This ain’t it.”
Lee took the mouse from me. He found an old staples box. He laid it to rest.
Another day. Another mouse. Another death.
All I kept thinking was if only we had something to keep these mice away. Something…non-toxic.