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Whatever made me think this was going to be easy?

By way of background one morning I found irrefutable evidence of a mouse visiting the “snack drawer” in my desk. He (or almost certainly she) had ripped open a miniature York Peppermint Patty and eaten the dark-chocolate skin. The “Thief of York” touched nothing else.

Company maintenance set out fancy mouse traps around the room, baited with peanut butter, but to no avail.

After a week I moved one of those traps to my desk drawer. Nothing. Switched the bait to York patty. Nothing. Obviously, the intruder doesn’t like this trap design.

The game changes slightly when a co-worker declares that her pet snake enjoys take-out. Well, then! The rules of engagement change to “live capture only.”

I bought a “Mice Cube” trap by Pied Piper, which is brilliantly Spartan. It is a rectangular plastic box with a flap-type door and a few air holes. Nothing else. The mouse gets in but can’t lift the flap to get back out. Simple.

Too simple. The Thief of York got in, ate the chocolate and got back out again. So, I set the bait in further, just in case the varmint’s held the door open. More eaten chocolate in an empty trap.

Tiny scratches lead me to believe the Thief of York had trouble getting out (ah!) so I glued a nickel to the back of the door, for more positive closure. Sorry. Then I tip the trap up slightly, because you can’t open a trap door if you’re sitting on it, right? Guess again this mouse can.

No traps are set over the weekend. It wouldn’t be fair to let “Snake Chow” dry out over the weekend, so a ceasefire is called. A small plastic terrarium is set aside, to hold the hapless victim.

Monday sees a new trap in service. This Victor (proven brand name!) live trap has a counterweighted steel flap that closes behind the victim, and can hold several mice. Except for this one. The bait was visited, a black grain of rice (ick!) left as proof, but there is no joy.

Wait a minute! This mouse is able to outsmart the counterweighted steel flap on this Victor trap? What are we dealing with here? I’m afraid to open my desk drawer for fear of seeing not a panicked mouse but a team of little 2-inch aliens in space suits, collecting peppermint samples!

Flashlight in hand, I dismantle my desk. No sign of any nest, so this mouse is purely a transient. A single, quarter-sized hole in the steel desk is the only possible point of entry, then up through the guts of the desk to the bottom left drawer? Every night? Amazing.

Adjustments are made to the counterweight and on Tuesday we try the Victor again. We adjust and try on Wednesday. On Thursday we adjust after a cranky e-mail sent to the Victor company.

By Friday morning, we are officially humiliated. Aren’t humans the top predator on Earth?

Another Monday brings another trap — this time the “Stick-Em” glue trap made by JT Eaton. A dab of the fingertip proves these bad Larrys are indeed horribly sticky! Hoo, yeah!

Maintenance heard about my epic battle and sets out half a dozen old-fashioned “snap” traps, baited with Skippy. Yeah, right.

The sticky traps (both of them, why not?) are baited with York patty.

Tuesday morning brings misery. The peppermint sits undisturbed, as if the Thief of York could smell the glue. But now a package of Saltine crackers is chewed open! The vermin is laughing at me! Add some cracker crumbs to the surface of the glue and try again.

Wednesday morning brings tragedy. One of the maintenance “snap traps” does its grim work and a single, rather small mouse is no more.

A York patty is left exposed in my drawer but remains untouched on Thursday morning. Same on Friday. Weeks pass and still no sign of intrusion.

The Thief of York is no more.

All that is left behind is one humiliated human and an empty plastic terrarium.