Tag Archives: rodent

A death in my home, a dead body lying among the bushes in my back garden

I wipe away a tear as I walk back from the bushes in my back garden

The last couple of days, I have blogged about the mouse in my living room. Sitting in bed, yesterday, I posted my blog, then mentioned it on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter and then…

…literally about 30 seconds later…

My eternally-un-named friend rushed into my bedroom and almost shouted: “It’s dead!”


My eternally-un-named friend had built a mouse trap which was poo-pooed by both myself and by mouse-killing comedian Lewis Schaffer.

“Mice can swim!” we both separately told her.

How to build a better mousetrap including the death plank

The trap was a bowl of water covered in a sheet of newspaper with a cross cut in the middle and a small piece of Mars bar placed on the cross as bait. The seemingly silliest part of the trap was a wooden ruler placed against the side of the bowl so that the mouse could get up to the newspaper, crawl across towards the piece of Mars bar and, because of its weight, when it reached the cross cut in the paper, the mouse would fall through the paper into the water and drown.

Yesterday morning, hearing the news, I put on my dressing gown and went downstairs. Sure enough, there was a hole in the paper.

Death by drowning in a bowl of water: a sad end to a life

When I lifted the paper off, the dead mouse was floating, face-down, in the bowl of water, its little paws stretched out from its torso.

“I’m amazed,” I told my eternally-un-named friend. “I didn’t think it would work.”

“It’s the amount of water that’s important,” she told me. “It has to be shallow enough that it can’t climb out the side of the plastic bowl, but deep enough that its feet can’t reach the bottom of the bowl. That way, it drowns.”

“You are a dangerous woman,” I told her. I should have known. I have a photograph of her sitting at a dinner table in Milan with three bullets on the plate. Don’t ask.

I told Lewis Schaffer about the drowning of the mouse.

“Wow,” he e-mailed. “That’s incredible. You need to take a picture of the device.”

The last resting place of a living creature, lying unburied

“Have photos,” I e-mailed back. “of device, dead mouse in bowl, corpse in back garden, me returning from disposal sobbing piteously.”

Perhaps I should be ashamed of myself. Making light of a death.

I poured the water and the body of the mouse onto the earth among bushes at the end of my garden. I like to think it is what the mouse would have wanted. It is far better, I feel, than being thrown away in the green wastebin provided by the council for garden rubbish. Better to be eaten by a passing cat or pecked-at by magpies than to rot with orange peel in a rubbish tip.

When I die, I have told my friend Lynn, the executor of my will, who will have to dispose of my body, that I don’t want to be cremated. I want to be buried and slowly rot into the earth. It seems far more natural. Romantic, even.

Lynn is currently in Kyrgyztan. I suppose someone has to be. Why her, I have no idea.

Late yesterday afternoon, as I drove to see a recording for the Sky Arts TV channel of Michael Parkinson interviewing war photographer Don McCullin – someone who has seen countless men, women and children die in front of him – my eternally un-named-friend said: “I wonder what happened in the night, in the dark. Did the mouse go into the water head first? It would have climbed up the ruler, then crawled over the newspaper until it got to the Mars bar on the cut cross and then… Was it scrabbling with its feet in desperation as it felt the paper collapse under it? How long did it take to drown, alone in the dark?”

“I haven’t mentioned Malcolm,” I told her. “But I thought about him.”

We both knew comedian Malcolm Hardee, who drowned one night in 2005.

“I was thinking about him too,” she said. “I didn’t like to mention it.”

Ars longa. Vita brevis.

So it goes.

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Filed under Death, Mice

Comedian Lewis Schaffer revealed as a multiple killer in New York and London

Lewis Schaffer: the face of a killer

Last night started quite showbizzy. Then it went downhill rapidly.

After his show in Soho, London-based American comedian Lewis Schaffer and I were eating £2 take-away pizzas, sitting on the new wall opposite the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square. He paid.

Comedians Paul Chowdhry and Gary Delaney were passing by, noticed Lewis sitting there and stopped to say hello to him.

Then Lewis Schaffer and I returned to talking about my current mouse problem. As I mentioned in my blog yesterday, a mouse has taken up residence in my living room.

A small mouse. But it is a mouse nonetheless.

“We had a mouse,” Lewis Schaffer told me last night, “and my tenants wanted to get rid of it. The Spanish guy thought it was a rat. I said It needs to be killed. They said What about a humane way of killing it? I said It doesn’t work. I don’t know if it does work, but I can’t imagine it working.

“You gotta get glue traps, John. It’s like the glue that is on the bottom of a sticky tile or a linoleum square – your hand sticks to it if you touch it. You put the glue trap on the floor and the mouse gets stuck on it.”

“You put bait in the middle of it?” I asked. “We tried Mars bars yesterday.”

“You don’t need to put food down,” Lewis Schaffer told me authoritatively. “The mouse just stumbles on it and realises Boy! I’ve made a very big mistake. Cos it can’t get off. And then you’ve got no choice but you’ve got to kill it.”

“How?” I asked.

“Scissors in the head,” Lewis Schaffer told me. “That’s what I would do next time.”

“Next time?” I asked.

“I used the kitchen knife last time,” he said flatly.

“You slit the poor beast’s throat?”

“Well,” he confessed. “I didn’t slit its throat. I slit underneath its belly.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because it was squirming,” Lewis Schaffer told me.

“Well, it would squirm in the circumstances,” I said.

“Yeah,” said Lewis Schaffer. “Fighting for its life. And squeaking like a baby squeaking. Like a human squeak. It hits the same…”

“It sounds quite similar to what the English did to William Wallace,” I said.

“Did they cut off his…”

“I think they invented hanging, drawing and quartering for him,” I said.

“I thought that was invented by Kentucky Fried Chicken,” said Lewis Schaffer.

“So why did you slit the belly first?” I asked.

“Because it was squirming,” he replied. “And squeaking. I was aiming for its head. It was squirming desperately and I was aiming for its head.”

“You were trying to chop off its head and you missed?”

“Yeah. I missed because it was squirming and I chopped his belly, which put him in even more pain. And then I cut his head off. And then I threw him in the wastebin.”

“Did you stick his head on a spike at the entrance to your flat as a warning to others?”

“No, but I think they got the idea. No other mouse turned up. Usually they come in pairs.”

“Was this in America?” I asked.

“I did it once in America and once here.”

“So you’re a multiple murderer of God’s creatures.” I said.

Josie Long is going to come after me,” Lewis Schaffer said sadly.

“Did you behead both mice or only one?” I asked.

“I don’t remember what I did in olden times in the US,” he replied. “In England, I did this to keep my tenants happy.”

“Did you show them the head to prove it was dead?” I asked.

“No. They believed me. I told them You’re murderers. You’re accessories to murder.

“So you are recommending this is what I should do to my mouse?”

“I wouldn’t,” said Lewis Schaffer slowly, “because you’re gonna feel… Well, if I felt bad – and I’m Lewis Schaffer…”

“So what am I going to do?”

“You’re going to get a glue trap. £2.99. You get two. You put one down and you save the other one till later.”

“What’s wrong with a humane trap?” I asked. “I have one in the cupboard under the stairs. There was a mouse before. I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Mice are too smart for that humane trap type of shit,” Lewis Schaffer said and then he paused. “Does it sound like I’m being cruel that I killed a mouse? They don’t tell you how killing a mouse is going to rip your kishkas out and make you feel bad that you’re a human being.”

“Kishkas?” I asked.

“It means Rip your stomach out.”

“That’s what you did to the mouse. That’s what the English did to William Wallace.”

“All I remember is that I killed a mouse in New York maybe 10 or 15 years ago and, when I was asked to do it again in London, I didn’t want to do it.”

“But you did it.”

“We live in very recessionary times,” said Lewis Schaffer. “I need the rent from the tenants.”

Later, I drove Lewis Schaffer to his home via my eternally un-named-friend’s flat in Greenwich. She likes cleaning.

“You slit its throat?” she asked Lewis Schaffer. “There must have been blood everywhere. What did you do with the knife?”

“The knife?” Lewis Schaffer asked.

“Do you still eat with it every morning?”

“There was glue stuck on it,” said Lewis Schaffer, “and blood. In order to get the glue off, I had to use a lighter.”

“You kept the knife,” my eternally un-named-friend said slowly.

“If you use a lighter on glue, it would burst into flames,” I mused.

“The glue was melted off,” Lewis Schaffer told me. “You just can’t throw away a knife every time you kill a mouse,” he told my eternally-un-named friend.

“But how many times are you going to kill a mouse?” I asked.

“As often as it takes to kill those…” said Lewis Schaffer, then he paused. “What are you looking at me like that for? You wanna get rid of it, you gotta pay the price. The price is living with guilt.”

“I wouldn’t have guilt,” my eternally-un-named friend said. “The mouse should not have come into the house.”

“Is there some way of using Zyklon B?” I asked.

“If you ask a mouse to leave and it doesn’t…” my eternally-un-named friend continued. “I haven’t tried that yet, but I might do.”

“You could persuade it to go to the shower room,” I said.

“John,” said Lewis Schaffer, “I’m not going to do some Holocaust joke for your blog.”

“Did you hear about the trap I’ve made?” my eternally-un-named friend asked Lewis. “A piece of paper over a bowl of water.”

“Mice can’t drown,” said Lewis Schaffer. “They can swim.”

“It worked once for me,” said my eternally-un-named friend. “There was a dead mouse in the water. I presumed it had drowned. Maybe it had had a heart attack.”

“Maybe it died of embarrassment,” I suggested, “at falling for the trap.”

“Maybe it was just its time to go,” my eternally un-named-friend sighed.

When I got back to my home in the early hours of this morning, there was no dead mouse.

It is still there somewhere. In the living room. Confident. Taunting me.

I have to do something about it.

Death is inevitable.

For one of us.

Well, for both of us.

But, as in comedy, it is the timing that matters.

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Filed under Comedy, Mice