Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Letter to a New York City House Mouse

Dear House Mouse,

It is growing increasingly apparent to me and my roommates that, although there is substantial evidence you are consuming enough rat poison to kill off a pack of wildebeests, you are nevertheless not going away anytime soon.

In the past there have been special circumstances where my roommates and I have approved houseguests to stay for a period of four weeks without requiring the payment of rent. Now, in your case, it's true that you have not been with us for a consecutive four weeks. You also like to visit with other tenants of our creaky old brownstone, and that's more than fine with us. Meanwhile, I suspect extraction of rent from one who gathers forgotten bread crumbs for a living might be impossible, so I guess you're off the hook on that count.

I propose instead that we come to agreemtn on some ground rules that will make all the tenants of my apartment -- the mice, the humans, and the pigeons currently mating on my air conditioner, happier. I mean, after all, it's New York and we're all just trying to eat (and screw), right?

The house rules that we've laid down for long-term guests are reasonable and, should you abide by them, they will allow us to avoid taking more extreme eviction measures such as the deployment of sticky traps and the use of a hammer on your easily crushable head. Believe me, that's a scenario neither of us wants.

Rule No. 1: No Shitting Where We Eat

We don't shit where you eat. You have yet to find a disgusting pile of human feces perched atop the areas that you treat, thanks to your apparent proclivities toward poison and cleaning products, as your own all-you-can-eat buffet -- the stovetop and the sink. We keep our poop off your eating areas, please keep yours off of ours and leave your crap inside the walls.

Rule No. 2: Make Like a Stripper

Mice, like strippers, are supposed to be nocturnal. I had a stripper for a roommate once and she adhered to this truism. She, unlike her rack, was very unobtrusive -- a quality you should try to emulate. As I arrived home each evening, she and her gorgeous and magnificently profitable tits were on the way out the door, a sequined purple dress and six-inch platform shoes sticking out of her canvas bag. In the morning when I left, she'd be quietly snoozing away on the couch, and really you'd hardly know she was there save for the false eyelashes sitting on my sink.

So, mouse, if you hear me open the door or see the lights come on, make haste and scuttle back down the drain or the gas line from whence you came. I won't have to scream, and you won't have to have mousey little fight-or-flee heart palpitations. If your furtive feet and weasly little eyes make an appearance while I'm awake, you're much more likely to get the "hammer treatment." Mice, like strippers, are to come out only at night.

Rule No. 3: Food-Sharing Bylaws

If I leave crumbs sitting on the counter, help yourself. Dig in! (Only in the dead of night, of course.) But when you tear into a fresh bag of potato chips or run rampant over a bowl of bananas, you're crossing the line. You're like that roommate I had who could SMELL the last beer I had sitting in a nearly-empty six pack in the fridge. I'd get home at night, after the bodegas closed but not nearly drunk enough to mentally erase another shitty night of trying to engage in conversation with I-bankers on the Upper East Side, in desperate need of one last beverage to help send me off to la-la-land. And my last beer would be gone. When my potato chips of been raped and ruined, my rage toward you increases and my resolve to get you out -- be it by death or dismemberment -- increase exponentially. Are you TRYING to piss me off?

Rule No. 4: Shut the Hell Up

A few years ago my then-roommate's cretin boyfriend was staying with us for the aforementioned period of four weeks without paying rent (or, for that matter, doing the dishes). I came home from work one day, and there he was, was sitting in the middle of my living room floor, butt naked on a serape in all his slack-jawed glory, humming unintelligably in an apparent attempt at meditating. I didn't want to hear (or see) that, and I certainly don't want to hear (or see) you. If you've gone and gotten your hind legs stuck on a sticky trap, do not -- I repeat, DO NOT -- start squeaking and scampering with those awful little scratchy claws in circles around the middle of the room. Just go gnaw your legs off somewhere where I won't see (or, just as importantly, hear) you.

I think if you abide by these rules, we can establish a long-term apartment sharing situation that will work in both our favors. You can eat, and I don't have to hear, or see, you. Oh, and when the neighbor's brownstone renovation is done, why don't you try moving back in with them? You might find their house rules more to your liking.


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