The Munk That Jack Built

(with apologies to Jack Benny and Warner Bros)

There was some excitement in Casa Stormer this week as Loki brought home a friend. Now my Loki is not a small cat by any stretch of the imagination and he is often mistaken for a sunning hippo when on the back patio, however his size belies his strength and speed, and more than one critter has underestimated him.

This week it was a chipmunk. This is not the first time Loki has brought him a chipmunk, so you’d think they put out flyers or host seminars to warn other critters, but no, I suppose I’m expecting entirely too much from their public safety department.  I’d heard the nails on the wood floor and just assumed the boys were wrestling or Zeus was having one of his “Flee The Huns!” moments.  I was occupied in another room, so I couldn’t rush out to see.

It wasn’t until Doug came in from outside,  suddenly praising Loki for bringing him a mouse.  See, when Loki goes out, Doug tells him to bring him a mouse.  When Loki returns, Doug asks “Where’s my mouse?”  You can see where I’m laying blame for this.

Doug thought the chipmunk was dead and was getting a body bag (formerly a grocery bag) for a proper burial, when it shook off its stunned paralysis and made a break for any place that might be away from Loki. This included under the couch, behind the desks, under the radiator, behind the TV and under the table.  Never have I been so grateful for a small 1-BR apartment.

 

 

Zeus, who is 20 years old, made sure to cover the places the chipmunk was sure to be – in his catbed, under the yarn storage, inside the bookcase. Zeus was very helpful.

It was twenty minutes of pouncing and yelping and watching Mr. Chipmunk play Keep Away, until finally we’d cornered him in the kitchen.  I retrieved my patented Kritter Kornerer™ (patent pending), which only looks like a 36×36 cutting board so it doesn’t get stolen, and set up a perimeter around the garbage can. Except the critter was gone. Unbeknownst to me, there is a critter crawlspace accessible from a hole in the baseboard, and like Batman, he was gone.

This presented a dilemma, as if it was injured I didn’t want it dying in my cabinets, but I wasn’t about to rip them out either (Doug wouldn’t let me). I don‘t live in fear of rabies, but I’m also not looking for exposure for grins, either.

Loki, well, he was irritated that we let go something he worked hard to bring up.  His look said, ‘This is why we can’t have nice things.”

Slightly defeated and fearing contamination I fielded helpful suggestions.

The next day I digested those many helpful suggestions on how to make sure Mr Munk was still alive as well as how to lure him out, I relayed these suggestions to Doug who was more than happy to oblige.  About an hour later, there was this text exchange:

Doug:  Grrr, Left apple pieces out. Went to Coney with Creig for a bit. Now the apple pieces are gone.

Me:  hahahahahahaha! Little jerk freeloader!

I picked up a live trap on my way home, a Havahart Two-Door Live Mousetrap, which the really cute guy at Frentz and Sons Hardware  (shop local!) insisted might be too small. He was concerned that Mr Munk wouldn’t enter if the space looked too confining.  I wasn’t sure how big the chipmunks were in his neighborhood, but in 48073, we didn’t leave our radioactive waste curbside, so our critters don’t run that big. As I’d also seen these buggers zip through drainpipes along the apartment and dart into boltholes in fences, I didn’t think it was an issue.  Plus hunger is a motivator that over-rides any innate common sense.

I brought my find home and spend about ten minutes struggling with my learning curve setting it up.  I chose a Gala apple for the event.

I thought he might be a Jack Benny fan. "Entertainers Free!"

I set it down at a jaunty angle in front of the escape hatch and then forgot about it. I was rewarded about 2 hours later with a metallic clatter

I confess. I did a little dance.

Our home is now free (as far as I know) of critters and the trap awaits its next refugee.

So does Loki.