The Most Humane Way To Kill A Mouse Part III

The Most Humane Way To Kill A Mouse

Part III – Laos and Lisboa

 After Melbourne, things definitely got better and less rodent ridden. I also upgraded my life partner from one who made my life into chaos to one who encouraged me to be a better me, so that was great. I lived in a few share houses before Loki got brave enough to allow me to share his space. He had seen my talent for creating instant piles of things everywhere and my concerning lack of interest in doing dishes and laundry and other very boring things like that. He trained me with the classic ‘lead by example’ method. Sometimes I find myself choosing to ignore an obvious chore that needs to be done but a little voice in my head pipes up and asks ‘What would Loki do?’ and I sigh to myself because every time Loki would just do the chore, and do it properly. Dumb Loki.

Loki was offered a law job in Vientiane, the capital of The People’s Democratic Republic of Laos, so off we went on a new adventure to a new land of new pests. All the pests in Laos seemed a bit more sinister because I suspected everything would carry some kind of debilitating disease. Mosquitos were definitely an enemy, our housemate Tom assured us that we would definitely get dengue sometime during our stint in Vientiane, however our house and garden had been fumigated fairly recently because he himself had had a dengue dalliance. Any dog in the street was to be viewed as potential rabies threat, the cats were just gross and mangey, the geckos were generally nice guys but the big ones frequently delivered huge and surprisingly stinky shits in the house. Whilst I’m listing pests I might as well mention the drunk road users, the sober road users, the corrupt police that will fine you for made up traffic infringements, eternally delicate stomach situations, inadequate water management, ticks and of course, mice. Before I get into my Lao mouse story I need first tell you about the light of my adult life, Subi the Lab cross Rottie (check out #subithelabxrottie if you want an injection of joy in your day).

Subi, otherwise known as ‘Sniffer’, ‘Mr Sniff’, ‘Soobs’, ‘Sniffington’, ‘The Water Buffalo’ and ‘Bonehead’ is a big black dog weighing in at 50 kilos, probably because he has a heart of the purest gold. His interests include eating and sniffing trash, pretending not to eat trash but actually eating trash really fast, getting on the couch, walks, Tom getting home, swimming, birthday meals prepared by Prae (our other housemate), playing hide and seek and lying on the floor. He doesn’t like getting brushed, kong biscuits, really loud noises, not getting a treat at bedtime, losing sight of his mates when walking, not being allowed on the couch, trying to go down steep stairs and mice trying to take over his homestead. An unlucky part of dog life in Laos is dealing with ticks. Poor Subi would get so many ticks and we would try to pull them all off but they just kept on coming and coming. Luckily they didn’t seem to care about humans but they would appear all over the house and we would need to get the place tick sprayed. Tick spraying was so rough, everything thing in the house would be covered with toxic residue that would make your skin burn for weeks. Despite the poisoning, we really loved living in this house, Tom and Prae were great housemates and we are all so obsessed with Subi that we have a group chat called the Subi Appreciation Society.

Subi contemplating his birthday meal.

Part of life in Laos as an expat was having a ‘Maeban’ (house cleaner). Our first one hated it when I suddenly appeared. Her name was Peng and she worked five days a week, until my arrival she had the whole place to herself all day and could trundle around doing whatever she liked. When there was a jobless Australian lying around the house all day she was understandably put out and kept asking me optimistically when I was going to go back to Australia. Upon my arrival she stopped making Loki’s bed, I guess she thought I should do it (I mean, I know I should but when you are paying someone to do it, they gotta do it right?). She also took to turning a portrait of me that my mum had painted around so that it faced the wall. I felt weird being at home lazily watching Netflix and pole dancing with a silent enemy pretending to dust around me and she was dropping the ball in many aspects of her job requirements so we decided to cut her back to 3 days a week, it was my job to tell her. She straight didn’t believe me and just said no. It was amazing how quickly complaining about the help became a commonplace part of my life. I remember the first time I whinged about Peng to friends in Adelaide and they were like ‘What the fuck is wrong with you?’ Anyway, to cut a long story short, Mr Tom came home, fired Peng (I won this round), Prae designed a comprehensive plan to find a replacement and we ended up with Bua. I quite liked Bua but she wasn’t a great Maeban either. I certainly don’t have a natural flair for housework but she was so un-intuitive that I was constantly astonished. She managed to bash three identical holes in the fly screen with the iron.

Even in a house with paid cleaner, and three adults who were responsible and tidy, and one adult who was trying to ‘do what Loki would do’ WE STILL HAD MICE! I was scared of these mice because I was certain they would be carrying some kind of tropical mouse malaria. They were getting into everything, eating through Tupperware to get at rice, shitting on the countertops, wandering all over the pots and pans. Luckily, we had a secret weapon, Subi the Mouse Hunter. Subi would get so jacked if he spotted a mouse and would spend the following few hours greedily huffing mousey scents off every surface imaginable. He did the biggest, longest sniffs; Tom would encourage him ‘ Get it Subi!’ and he would a big surge of mouse hunting energy and do another lap of the kitchen. (click here to see Subi having a good ole mouse sniff hunt) He was so big and the mice were so small, it was such a good joke, that big, beautiful Bonebrain would never manage to catch a mouse.

Then he caught a mouse.

Unfortunately, only Prae and I were home when it happened. Subi was behind the kitchen counter and we could hear weird slurping sounds and faint squeaking. Worried that the mouse might escape Subi’s clutches and run at us so we stood on chairs and surveyed the situation. We looked at each other in a panic and Prae whipped out her phone to document Subi’s big victory. Eventually we dismounted our chairs and peeked over the bench to see what Subi was up to. There we saw a cute little mouse lying in a big puddle of dog slobber, eyes wide, tiny chest beating hard. Subi was so proud of himself, he couldn’t believe it and we showered him with praise and Bok Doks (Subi snacks). But that left us with the problem of the mouse. It didn’t really feel right to let Subi keep mashing it into various different nooks and crannies until he eventually crushed it do death. I wished Loki was there because he is great dealing with inconveniences for me. I took a deep breath because  I knew what Loki would do.

Mercy Kill.

‘Prae we gotta kill this mouse.’ Prae’s little face went from full of dog pride to clouded with business mode. I didn’t fuck around, I got a plastic bag and put the mouse in it. Prae distracted the mouse hunter with Bok Doks and praise. I took the mouse outside and filled the bag with water and then held it submerged in a big pond for good measure. Satisfied with my mercy kill, I tossed the mouse in the compost and went back inside to join the Bok Dok party.


This brings me to my current living arrangement. I live in Lisbon with Loki, Shanelle from Canada and Vasco from Porto. Probably the weirdest things that go on in my house are Vasco related antics. He’s a self-described ‘relax guy do Porto’ who works insanely long hours as a tour guide. He’s always bringing home regional specialties or fruit and veg procured from relatives up north. He is no good at Ikea furniture, he doesn’t like tap water, he hates greed and capitalist mindsets but he loves gambling online, he loves smoking weed and snoozing so he always falls asleep and loses his winnings. He invented a soup that I call ‘broccoli island’, it’s just pumpkin soup with massive broccolis thrown in, he likes the broccoli to have a crunch. He also has a collection of about 300 lanyards. Shanelle also doesn’t excel when it comes to Ikea furniture but she makes up for it by being even tidier than Loki and should be commended for her seemingly endless energy for nightlife activities. All good stuff.

Shockingly, even on the fourth floor of a central Lisbon apartment, we were confronted with a mouse problem. They were the cutest mice you ever did see, we named them all Ferguson. These guys were too brave, one even ran across a chopping block as I was cutting up mushrooms. It only took about 15 minutes to catch one using the box and string method. Being big hearted vegetarians we didn’t want to kill little Ferguson so we took him outside and left him in an abandoned lot with a big hunk of ‘sorry for catching you’ cheese. We returned a few hours later to see if Ferguson had eaten his cheese, he hadn’t. Either he was in too deep a state of shock to bother with it or, he had lost his trust in humans and crawled away to die. Either way, we realised that this seemingly humane way of dealing with mice really just made them suffer for a lot longer before they eventually died slowly, somewhere weird and different with tainted sorry cheese. Loki went out and bought a traditional snap trap and we murdered the rest of the Fergusons in cold blood. They died doing what they loved, mouse stuff.