So, for the second time in two weeks, I have escorted a mouse out of my house.

The first time, my cat woke me up with insistent meowing. I followed her to my office, where she focused under a bookcase. I looked under it and saw nothing because it was dark and I have human eyes. But she insisted, so I moved the bookcase. Out ran a mouse.

My cat chased it, and it hid. Somewhere in my office. Which is pretty much 85% paper. Fine, I can work downstairs.

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Later that day, sitting in the living room, I saw a mouse come down the stairs to hide behind the TV. The cat had long since lost interest, so I picked her up and put her near the TV. Useless. She didn’t see it; she didn’t smell it; she was useless. Fine.

Even later that day, the mouse ventured out and scampered into our three-season porch. So I closed the inner door, and went out the back door to open the front door to allow the mouse egress. I stood outside to wait, and after about five minutes watched the mouse run down the front steps and into our neighbors’ yard. Success!

A few days later, I was sleeping on the couch in my office. I woke up to see a blur (my glasses were off) moving around near the closet. When the cat became interested, I knew it was a mouse, and I put my glasses on. But the cat never caught the mouse, and the mouse didn’t show itself again, so I forgot about it.

Then yesterday morning, when I got up, my daughter cautioned me not to open the door to the three-season porch. “There’s a mouse in there,” she said. So I did my rescue thing: I opened the front door and waited for the mouse to leave. But after five minutes it didn’t leave. So I gave up on it. I have things to do.

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Then! Tonight, I saw the mouse on the threshold of the three-season porch. It was on its way into the house proper. I made a noise of surprise and the mouse retreated into the porch. I closed the inner door and went out through the back door to open the front door and wait.

Nothing.

So I went back in through the back door and got a handful of cat food, and made a trail of it from the front door to the street. I put one piece on the saddle of the doorway as a lure.

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After ten minutes, the mouse had not taken the bait.

So I went to the front door to shut down the operation, and I discovered that the bait on the saddle had been taken.

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Okay, mouse. It’s on.

So I went out to smoke. I turned on the interior porch light before I opened the inner door. When I opened the door, there was the mouse. It saw me and scampered to shelter under a chair. Fine. I left the outer door open and hid behind a fence. I watched the mouse come out, get spooked, and run back in. Goddamnit.

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So I went into the porch, closing the inner door behind me. I stood still. I spoke to the mouse. I told it that it had to leave, that I wouldn’t hurt it, but that it wasn’t safe in the porch. I told it that it would be happier and safer outside. I reasoned with it.

It came out of its hiding space twice, heading for the door. Twice I moved to close the door behind it too soon—it scampered back in. But the third time’s the charm! Finally it went out and I was able to close the door behind it.

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We’ve always had mice, and we always will. All I ask of them is that they don’t show their faces or their feces. These two broke the rules. But I didn’t murder them in traps—I escorted them out. That second one didn’t make it easy, though.

But let’s be clear: If there’s a nest in my office closet, I’m going full-on exterminator.

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