NOTE: If you really, really, really can't stand the thought of mice or are phobic (or if you're anti-animal cruelty), you should maybe stop reading this post right now. It's just that I have mice in my head because the place I work right now is completely overridden with the ghastly things (yes, I'm looking for a different job) and it reminded me of this...
When I was a kid, our family lived in a trailer in the middle of what used to be my grandfather's hay field. Not only are trailers good for up-close-and-personal tornado-watching, they are also invaluable if you want to start a mouse farm.
So mice were a fairly common occurrence at our place. Somehow I never actually saw any of them -- my mother always had the misfortune of seeing them scamper across the kitchen (except once, when that honour fell to the most mouse-phobic member of our in-home Bible study group).
One time, my mother, sister and I were eating dinner (our father would normally have been there too, but he had gotten away from work late), when suddenly Mom got up and rushed over to the stove. She grabbed a wooden spoon and stared at the stove in a fighting stance.
My sister and I thought she'd lost her mind.
"What are you doing?"
She didn't answer straight away. Instead, she backed away to the counter, still brandishing the wooden spoon, picked up the phone, and dialed a number.
"Who are you calling?"
"Why?" we asked, but at that moment, he picked up.
"How soon are you home?" Mom asked.
My sister and I had stopped eating, feeling that something was seriously wrong. Then she continued.
"Oh. Well, er, there's a mouse in here. It was standing on top of the stove and now it just went into that gap at the back."
My sister and I looked at the stove as she spoke but of course there was nothing to see now.
"No it's not on now, but it's probably still hot... Okay. See you in a few minutes then."
She hung up the phone and sat down, but kept her eye on the stove.
When Dad arrived home a few minutes later, they poked down the back of the stove with the wooden spoon and other sticklike objects, but no sign of the mouse. Finally they shrugged and gave up.
A few days went by. Some way or another they discovered that the mouse had come out of the stove's innards and was making use of the ledge at the back of the counter that prevented us from blocking off the 'mouse highway' with appliances such as the toaster.
So my dad concocted a plan.
He set up a mouse trap on the ledge, just before the stove, and blocked off the side of the ledge with various appliances and things. Therefore, the mouse would have the wall on one side, a barricade on the other, and a mousetrap in front of him. Presumably he's running, therefore he has no time to turn around and sprint back the way he came once he realises his situation.
I personally have no recollection of this because I'm a late riser, but my parents have told the story so often that I can picture it.
At six o'clock the next morning, my mother heard the trap spring. She woke my dad -- "The mouse! We caught the mouse!" -- and my dad dragged himself out of bed to go check.
As my mother waited for him to return, she suddenly heard all sorts of banging and crashing noises, like he was attacking something.
Finally he returned and said, "Stupid thing was caught by the toenail."
Apparently the mouse had attempted to jump over the trap and had been caught literally by the toenail. When my dad got there, it was very much alive and trying to escape. My dad had to beat it to death with the broom.
My mother still tells this story whenever the conversation turns to mice.