I wish I was Jerome Klapka Jerome, because, in relating a funny incident no one can even come close to him. I'm especially badly suited to write what I'm going to write. But then, Jerome is out of my or your reach, and so you, the reader, will have to settle with what you get, or else you can choose to discontinue reading this.
An hour ago, I wouldn't have given a small little mouse much respect, but something happened.
Earlier this evening, at home, I had seen a tail rush from the door to one of the crevices of my bedroom, to hide behind my small little book-shelf. The speed at which the tail took flight hindered my seeing what man, beast, imp or god it belonged to, but, since my house happens to be a tropical paradise for lizards, I assumed it was something that always followed an unusually large lizard. I didn't give much attention to it. I reckoned that lizards are good for my house, as they keep the number of insects down.
It was midnight, and I was, as they say, burning the midnight oil, trying to get a lot of work done, when the shy Mr. Mortimer first showed himself to me. Only for a split-seconed. I immediately realized the urgent necessity of banishing the shy unwelcome guest from my house. My initial reaction was to lunge at it, hit it with my shoe and kill it. I tried that, but Mr. Mortimer was smarter than I was and took refuge in the little nook behind the steel wardrobe that I have. Not able to reach him, I decided to force him out his sanctuary. I fetched my can of cockroach-killer (Hit) and sprayed him on his face. He ran. I thought I had him. A pair of slippers flew, one missing him half a centimeter, the other falling where he had been one-fourth of a second earlier.
Mortimer then ran to the kitchen, took refuge in one of the cupboards. Now I really had him. One by one, I took out the contents of the cupboard, carefully, so as to prevent him from going out of the cupboard, cornering him each time I took out something. When the cupboard was empty, I didn't give Mr. Mortimer a chance, and lunged at him with the slippers. Again, Mr. Mortimer, an expert at the art of dodging took flight and returned to his favourite bedroom, which, until a few hours ago, was still my bedroom, and mine alone.
I ran to the bedroom. By this time I had a strategy in mind. I looked at the bed. It was littered with clothes, and the blanket looked like a mountain range photographed by a satellite. I knew that if Mr. Mouse found his way into this, it would be difficult to ever find him, if I ever did. The four legs on which the bed stood were smooth, and there was no way Mr. Mouse could have climbed that. (He did try this approach once or twice, but my ploy worked). His only way upto the bed would be to climb up the hanging sides of the bed-cover. I denied him this approach. To block his exit from the room, I locked the bathroom door, and the door that led out to the hall.
I moved the steel cupboard and the bookshelf so that there was plenty of space behind them and towards their rear. Mr. Mortimer, you know, had this uncanny nack of finding crevices and lodging himself in there, safe from the probes I launched against him, and I, his opponent, wanted him to have as few of them as possible. The next move was to move the stuff the other stuff that were lying on the ground to the top of the book-shelf; these incuded a few bags, a mat to sit on, and newspapers.
This was the beginning of my exercise for the next half an hour. What followed was a pretty much predictable and cyclic repitition of three things. Mr. Mortimer would hide behind under the steel cupboard. I'd spray Hit to force him out of there. He would then hide under the book-shelf. I'd move the bookshelf here and there, trying to get him out. He would then run to the other end of the room, reach the wall, realize there is nowhere to hide there except the bed. He would then try to jump up and reach the bed, failing which he would try the bathroom door, which was, again, locked. He would then make it back to where he started from - beneath the cupboard. Everytime he was out of cover, I'd lunge at him with doormat in my hand. By now I had lost the desire to kill him on three grounds - fistly I'm an animal lover; secondly, if I killed him, I'd mess my home; and lastly, he was a sweet little mouse, and I had already become a fan of this sweet little intelligent Jerry. I only wanted to catch him now and throw him out of my house, away from the prowl of dogs as well. My strategy was pretty simple, when he was under cover, try to grab his tail by some object (it would usually be my hand covered by a doormat, or a plastic straw), and when he was in the open, try to net him with the doormat. The first didn't work, though, because he always managed to get his tail out of the grip of the straw, and the second almost worked twice, when I had him under the mat and surrounded, but as I tried to catch him firmly, without actually hurting him, he managed to slip out. I didn't want to catch him with my bare hands for I didn't underestimate the gnawing power of a champion tunnel digger.
This continued for half an hour. Mr. Mortimer running the standard 400m Olympic track more than 45 times. I was already sweating. Come on. "Come on, you've got to get tired sometime," I thought. "If Arican bushmen can catch a deer by just running after it and making it run till it tires out and gives up the run, I can tire you out as well." Apparently, I couldn't. It was only my good luck that I managed to banish him out of my house. As I was getting him out from his hideout under the bookshelf once, by moving the bookshelf, all the stuff I had stacked over the bookshelf fell, including the bags. Mr. Mortimer also got scared by the sound of the fall, and jumped into the nearest crevice he could creep into, and that, fortunately, happened to be one of the pockets of my bag.
I lost no time in picking the bag up, and blocking Mortimer's exit from the bag. All the other compartments of the bag were swiftly chained. All contents of the compartments Mr. Mortimer had lodged himself into were quickly but carefully removed. As I was emptying the contents of the compartment, I could see Mr. Mortimer curiously looking up at my face, and wondering what lay ahead of him. The bag was taken outside the house, and with a few good shakes, Mr. Mortimer was out for ever.
I have been reading Frederick Forsyth for a while now, and Mr. Forsyth, if you know him, regards the Mossad and the MI5 very highly. Well Mr. Forsyth, you haven't met my little shy Mr. Mortimer yet.