I called him Volvey.
He was a little, grey field mouse, no bigger than the palm of my hand. Of course, I didn’t know this until I captured him in a humane trap. For the first several days of our relationship, he was just the mystery mouse who lived in the trunk of my car.
The car was a Volvo, hence his name Volvey. I first noticed evidence of the little guy when I forgot some groceries in my trunk. When I finally located them, the bag of Oreos had been nibbled open. As a chocoholic, I was heartbroken. As an animal lover, I was concerned.
“Is chocolate toxic to mice?” I wondered aloud to my husband. This was a big mistake. His eyebrows raised and he casually asked, “What mouse are we talking about?” Mark is not a mouse lover. Mark is a mouse killer. “No mouse in particular.”
I hurried out of the room.
In the days that followed, Volvey made his presence known. He constructed a tiny nest from an old newspaper in the back of my trunk. Yes, he left a few droppings but they were on the newspaper, so the cleanup was easy. I put down another newspaper and he chewed that one up too.
After a couple days, I left an upside down mayonnaise lid filled with water out for Volvey. I also put out a few kibbles of dog food. He devoured those so I put out a few more.
Of course, all good things must come to an end. Eventually Mark figured out I had a mouse living in my trunk and he went — well, in a word, crazy.
“No, Michelle! No! No! No!”
“You can’t kill him!” I howled.
“I CAN kill him and I WILL!”
Tense negotiations followed. It was determined I had three days to catch and relocate Volvey before Mark the Exterminator had his turn. Because I had never seen Volvey, Mark figured he was an “indoor-outdoor mouse,” who entered and exited the trunk by scurrying up and down the Volvo’s wheel base.
It took seven tense days — which included a last-minute stay of execution — but I finally caught the little fellow in a humane trap baited with peanut butter. He had beady black eyes and tattered grey fur. I loved him on sight but I had to let him go.
Of course, if I released him in the yard, he would find his way back. So three miles down the road we went to a dilapidated, old shed on wooded property.
I opened the trap door and out he ran. It was the dead of winter, so I figured Volvey would be warmer in the shed. There were holes in its walls so he could enter and exit at will. I left him a handful of dry dogfood, wished him well, and headed for home.
I wish this was the end of the story but it wasn’t. I just couldn’t stop thinking about that mouse.
A couple days later, I went back with a little more dogfood, just in case he’d eaten what I’d left him. It was dark outside when I opened the shed door. I was greeted by a thousand glowing eyes.
“It was like a scene out of the movie ‘Willard,’ I told Mark, who had absolutely no sympathy for my tears. “They were wild rodents, not city mice like Volvey. They’ll eat him alive, I tell you!”
“It’s a mouse-eat-mouse world out there, Michelle,” my husband said and shrugged.
I never went back. But I think of him often.