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View Full Version : A Friend Named Furball. 2 of 2. Adult Mouse 3,300.



hvysmker
March 17th, 2015, 08:43 PM
Synopsis: Tiny Jeff mouse, evicted from home, moves into my house. He proves to be a pest, though a brave little guy. Eventually, he becomes a member of my family. A true story.
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Matters in his new home were quiet enough for several days. Jeff was careful to stay out of trouble. The old female cat was easy enough to avoid and cat food was good and plentiful. His only problem seemed to be water. Sometimes it was hard to find or tasted bad. For awhile, he found mousetraps set around the walls and inside cupboards. Since his schooling had included pictures of them, as well as how to steal their food, the traps didn't bother the mouse.

One morning, in the bathroom, he climbed up a tall wooden pole with a suction-cup at one end, to watch a human doing something to his face. ( I was shaving.) A loud buzzing filled the room as the guy ran something around on his snout. When the human bent over him, extending a claw, Jeff tried to be brave. As the digit came close, he lost his courage and jumped back to the floor to run.

( Noticing a movement down by the toilet, I saw a tiny mouse perched on my toilet plunger. He was a brave little guy, sitting and watching as I reached down to almost touch him before jumping and running. That bravery is what first ingratiated Jeff to me. )

Since there was a cat, he spent most of his time -- except for eating -- in the bath and bedrooms. For some reason, the cat never went into that part of the house.

Jeff built a good nest in the bottom of a closet that the human never seemed to open. The only trouble he had with the human was when exploring another, larger, closet. Jeff simply couldn't help himself.

When he slid under that door it was like entering mouse heaven.

That closet was high, with many layers of shelves. Although the surfaces were elevated, another set of shelves on the back of the door made it easy to jump back and forth, from wooden to plastic shelving, all the way up to the ceiling.

Each shelf, large and small, was filled with wonderful foods. He could smell it in open and closed boxes enclosed by paper or thin cardboard, easy for him to gnaw open.

He spent the rest of the day and almost all night sampling one package after another. Each packet or box seemed more exotic and delicious than the next. Jeff made certain he spread the best foods around their packages so he could find them easily the next time.

Beans made funny sounds as they splattered down the shelves and hit, bouncing, onto the floor. Noodles and rice crunched under nimble little feet as he walked across them, stopping to eat a stray grain or two as he explored.

The first packet of gravy mix was too salty, but the next was tasty. He opened them all so he could try and compare flavors. Cracker crumbs clung to his legs and dropped off as he jumped to another shelf to discover oatmeal. Oh, that delightful oatmeal, much better than plain flour -- which stuck to his feet and made prints, or yellow cornmeal.

Eventually Jeff made it to the very top, a shelf on the door. That was when he saw the entire human for the first time, other than only a paw. The closet door opened, the human standing there, looking over the mouse's handiwork.

The human screamed, causing Jeff to jump in panic. "What the hell has that furball done now? Look at this mess. Thirty or forty dollars worth of damage."

Jeff glanced down and around. It looked okay to him. He rose up to answer the question. That was when the human saw his head poking out.

"I'll get you you little bastard." The human reached out a paw toward Jeff. "Tear up my pantry, will you?"

Oops, that tone again. Jeff dove for the nearest wooden shelf, alternating with the ones on the door as the human clutched futilely at the panicked mouse. Jeff hit the floor at a frantic clip, little legs pumping frantically.

Running through a doorway to the bedroom, Jeff scurried under the edge of a closet door and hid in his nest. He could hear the angry human running around and using those strange words. When things quieted down again, Jeff left for that heavenly closet but found the space under the door sealed. He couldn't get back in.

***

Later that day Jeff, going out to check the living room and his "heaven closet" found a low bowl filled with food and a can-lid of water sitting along the sideboard near his closet. His mother had raised a cautious mouse. He made a wide detour around the stuff. After a few hours of exploring, he made his way back.

Jeff was excited, having made a big discovery. The rat smell came from two cages, high up on tables. The vicious creatures were penned in and couldn't harm him. Good for them, Jeff thought. Keep them things locked up. His mother had been particularly anxious to teach her children about rats; ever since one had eaten his Uncle Willy. According to Jeff's mother, Uncle Willy had paused for a moment, one leg lifted to relieve himself, a bad time for the monster to come along.

On the way back, Jeff studied the food left near his nest. Something smelled different -- very good, in fact. There ... there, right on top. A square of chocolate. Having shared a piece with his family once before, the normally cautious mouse couldn't resist. Looking around carefully, he reached in, grabbed the delicacy, and ran like hell, even bouncing his snout on a projection behind the closet door.

For hours, well into the night, that chocolate sat in a corner of his nest, uneaten -- though not untasted. Jeff had been taught that humans often poisoned food to give to mice. When midnight came and he wasn't sick, except for a rumbling tummy, Jeff took another bite. Well, he thought, since there were only four bites left, he'd better finish it off, poison or not.

From then on the human put food down at the end of the bedroom dresser, that and life-giving water. Jeff was soon pigging out. It was even easier than his heaven closet.

But he loved to explore, which was why he was there in the first place. Jeff spent a week searching the bedroom where he had his closet nest, sometimes making noise which caused the human to yell at him to shut up. It irked the mouse that the human didn't know his name and called him a "furball." But at least he knew when the human was talking to him, which was better than nothing at all.

Once, feeling brave, he approached the human, who was sitting on the sleeping platform. He could see the human looking at him, coming closer but not really threatening. Maybe, just maybe, Jeff thought, he could talk to the guy. He did know a little human talk.

"Jeff." He pointed at himself. "Me Jeff, not Furball."

At first, he thought the human understood. Apparently not.

A huge blunt claw came slowly down to him, briefly rubbing his fur before Jeff could dart backwards. It had that icky human stink to it.

"Why hello, Furball. What you been up to?"

"I'm Jeff, not Furball," he yelled back, sounding more of a squeak to the human.

As another claw extended next to the first, Jeff thought that discretion was the best part of valor, and darted under the dresser. The human didn't seem to follow him.

Another night, he'd found a big box with small red and white lights on the front. Going behind it he saw, through a slit, more lights inside. There was also a curious "whirl" sound from inside, as if it were alive. Curious, Jeff couldn't resist. He gazed skyward and saw the human was doing something way up there, but didn't see him. The mouse squeezed through the tempting hole, finding himself in a strange place. ( My computer.)

Jeff climbed around inside, exploring. There were several small lights, one flashing red. He crawled up to the hard drive, finding that was where the whirring sound was coming from. There was a nice space behind the warm power supply. But nothing at all to eat.

Jumping down, Jeff decided to mark the place for any other mice that might come along. He started by peeing. All was well, liquid splattering across the floor, until the stream hit a wire. "Ziiitttt." Jeff was knocked back against the side of the box. He felt funny, all shivery and nervous. To make it worse, something was shaking the box. Scared poopless, the rat fairly dove back out that hole and under a table.

( Hearing a thump coming from my computer, I checked it out, finding mouse shit across the inside. Nothing was damaged and he never did it again.)

***

Jeff was a social guy, increasingly lonely without companionship. He even visited his mother. She, however, was busy with a new batch of brothers and sisters and didn't have time for him. He soon tired of receiving short answers and helping her and Tommy change diapers. He wanted to invite Tommy to move in with him but knew his brother couldn't make it up his pipe with that gimpy leg.

Making friends with the cat was out, but sometimes rats could, just could, be friendly. And he was safe with them in those cages.

With that idea in mind, Jeff went out one morning to check the rats out. One cage was out of reach, though he could hear the two rats inside talking and laughing together. The other one had a curtain behind it. Testing the cloth, Jeff extended his claws and found that if he took a running start and a big jump he could scamper up to the cage.

Jeez, he thought, that was a big rat. It was in a plastic house at the bottom of the cage, still sound asleep. Jeff shook his head. Uh, uh, he thought. He's not going to wake that monster up. It was twenty times his size and could bite him in two.

While he was up there, he considered, he might as well explore. The cage had four levels and he could squeeze between the bars. The mouse, keeping a careful eye on the sleeping monster, did so. Running up a ramp on tip-toes, he advanced to the top, where a bowl of fresh food waited.

He could see all the way down inside, and the rat was still sleeping.

"Hey you. What you want in there?"

Jeff looked over, seeing one of the other rats, thankfully in the other cage, looking at him.

"You get out of there. Oscar will have YOU for breakfast. He's a vicious guy and hates meeses," a light-colored rat told the mouse.

"Yeah. You get out or I'll wake him up and he'll eat you." Another furry head appeared alongside the first.

Jeff looked down again, trying to estimate whether he'd have time to escape if the monster did wake. Yep. He decided ... plenty of time. Jeff stood on his hind legs and stuck his snout into the food. It was the same as in his own bowl, he found, but it was the idea that counted. He shrugged, smiled at the others, and dug in.

What he didn't know was that the noise and activity attracted other attention. Suddenly a human hand came in, grabbing Jeff into its large claws. Although he screamed and struggled, the mouse was caught.

***

"Thud." "Thud." "Thud." "Thud." Not able to see his captor, Jeff was shook up and down as the human trampled along as humans do. He whimpered, fully expecting to die. His mother had told him that humans shot mice in the head then put them in stew.

"I finally caught you, you little devil," the human told him. "You've caused me enough trouble."

A couple of minutes later, the claw opened and Jeff found himself lying in tall grass, the human towering far above. Two squares of chocolate lay near him.

"Good luck, little Furball." The human turned and stomped away.

( After I got back in the house I was, in a real sense, sorry I'd put the little guy outside. I'd gotten sort of used to him and wondered if he would be okay out in the wilds of my back yard? Of course he should. He had been born there. But would he? Sure he would. I dunno? Forget it. He's a wild mouse. I know, but...?

A few hours later, after dark, I took a flashlight and went out in the field to look for the small mouse, but couldn't find him. I hoped he was alright. On one hand, he had cost me money and was a pest. On the other, he was a personable and brave little character.

I wondered if he were alone. Could one mouse cause all that damage and trouble? By himself?

So I put more chocolate and dry noodles down in his food bowl, checking it often during the day. No one ate anything, so he must have been alone. The poor little critter.)

***

Nice of that human to take him near his mother's burrow, Jeff thought. It was only a few minutes easy walk to get there. The mouse spent the rest of the afternoon visiting with his mother and Tommy. The new children were older now and clustered around their brother Jeff. They enjoyed his stories about living with a human. His mother didn't, and shook her head as he talked.

It was a nice visit but, later that night, Jeff left to go back home -- to his human house. He was pleased to see there was new food in his bowl and fresh water to assuage his thirst. Feeling a little uncomfortable with the human, Jeff decided to be careful and not be seen.

( He didn't have to be seen. I knew he was there by the eaten foodstuff. If I didn't feed him well the cat or rats would get him or he might get back into the pantry. Since he avoided all my traps and made less trouble fed, I fed him. The next day, I queried a mouse fancier site. I was told that when a wild mouse was dumped outside he often returned on his own. The same as a cat or dog. )

Again, things went well, Jeff coming out only at night when the human was asleep, to eat. But he couldn't stay quiet. It wasn't in his nature.

Continuing his exploration of the bedroom, Jeff found a strange plastic thing lying on top of the dresser, smelling strongly of human. Carefully, he pried up one of seven little lids to see what was inside. The lid was tight, so he gave a mighty tug -- mighty for a mouse -- throwing the thing onto its side, brightly-colored round objects spinning out. Jeff pushed them around, dropping two to the floor to see it they'd bounce like the beans had. They didn't, simply dropping into a rug. He nibbled one, but it tasted bad. The heck with it, Jeff went back home.

(That damned mouse. He got into one section of my weekly-pill container, spilling Saturdays medication over the dresser and floor.)

***

(For over a year, Jeff stayed mainly in the bedroom. He was frightened of the cat, whom owned the rest of the house, only leaving in the night while the cat slept. The cat was named China and over twenty-years old. It never did bother Jeff.

Ive seen Jeff walk across the living room floor within a few feet of China, the cat merely watching. After a while he even got along with the ratties, rubbing noses through the bars of their cage. That was after I made Jeff an official member of my diversified family.

He usually slept during the day, knocking around and doing mouse stuff during the night. Jeff would wake about four in the morning and be active into daylight. He wasnt afraid of me, though cautious because of being tossed outside that one time.

Then the old cat died and Jeff took over the rest of the house, building a multitude of nests in every room. He sometimes fought other mice that wanted to challenge HIS territory. No other mouse was allowed inside. I found male mice are very territorial. By the time he left he was the largest mouse Ive ever seen, about a third the size of a rattie.

After all, he was probably the best fed and protected mouse in town. When I fed the ratties their evening meal, I did the same for Jeff. All would have a virtual assortment of their favorite foods. Jeff ate mostly veggies and fruits, with a few seeds thrown in. Like the ratties, he loved his chocolate and cookies, given only as a rare treat. Many times, while putting down a bowl contained a bit of chocolate Id see him watching nearby. He could smell it.

Jeff and the ratties developed a mixed relationship. When confined in their cages, they were friends, Jeff often standing nose to nose or even rubbing whiskers. When they were let out to play, he'd become jealous. The cage was their territory, the rest of the house his.

Twice, when the rats were let out to play together on my couch I had to chase Jeff away. Hed jump to the top of the couch, showing his teeth, posturing and looking like he was raring for a fight.

There was only one other time when he made me angry. That was when he destroyed an expensive dot-matrix printer. I hadnt used the thing for maybe a year. When I tried, I saw a puff of smoke and smelled ozone. Opening the case, I found one of Jeffs numerous nests. Hed also chewed vital wiring to help with the nest. I was so angry that I set every mouse trap in the house, even leaving them overnight. Coming to my senses, I realized it wasnt his fault and apologized.

He wasnt really afraid of me and his antics were sometimes amusing. Hed start in the aft bedroom, run full blast from there, little feet sliding noisily on linoleum as he crossed onto the living room rug -- then run full out into the tv stand, bouncing off to shake his head. Then hed jump from a standing start to a partition between living room and kitchen, over it, and spin into the other bedroom. I saw him do that several times. Id hear his feet sliding, then look up to watch. Other times, hed simply walk around, unafraid. It was, you know, his house.

Jeff was with me for a little over 2 1/2 years. As we both aged, he stopped causing me anxiety. We learned to live with each other. I hope we were friends.

His biggest failing was in going outside, especially at night. Hed return with mouthfuls of grass and occasionally dragging weeds behind himself. Id see them on the floor and throw them away. It became normal for the guy to be gone two or three days at a time. Until the time he didnt return.

In hopes hed come back, I refreshed his food and water bowls for a couple of weeks before giving up. Yes, Jeff was a good companion and a brave little critter. He earned the name of Jeffery Meescowski instead of Furball.)

The End. The first half was posted yesterday.
Charlie

musichal
April 18th, 2015, 07:36 PM
Thanks. I read the entire saga aloud to my wife, who is sixty years old, but young at heart. When she was a young girl she adopted a wild mouse named Herman who would sit in her lap, let her carry him around, and eat from her hand... a very civilized creature indeed. He was a Nebraskan. At any rate, my wife thoroughly enjoyed your story, and I am forbidden to critique it in any way as it is perfect, and so the boss has spoken.