It all started when we came home from a weekend away.  I walked into the kitchen and was looking at the top of the buffet, where we kept the snacky stuff in various bowls. I had recently bought one of those “Pound Plus” bars of dark chocolate from Trader Joe’s, and since it didn’t fit easily in the bowls, I had placed it in a zip bag and left it right on the counter top. But I was certain that neither I nor my wife Shari had nibbled away at the corner of the bag. Closer inspection revealed tiny, tiny tooth prints on the chocolate.

“Honey,” I called upstairs. “I think we have mice.”

We started removing everything from the top of the buffet. The stand mixer sat in the back corner against the wall, under a cloth shroud. Tucked away under the edge of the bowl was the damning evidence. Lots of bits of foil wrapper, and of course, droppings. The mouse had been taking our Dove chocolates and retreating to his spot under the mixer to indulge his craving. We were out of Dove pieces at this point, so he had gone for the Trader Joe’s big bar.

I was pissed. The nerve of that fucking mouse, eating my chocolate. Fucker.

I had never dealt with a mouse problem before. Shari suggested d-CON as a more humane solution than traps.

“Yeah, yeah. Humane. Whatever. Just take the son of a bitch out,” I said.

I looked online to see how d-CON worked. “Blood thinner. OK. They eat it and bleed to death internally. Good. Serves them right. Chocolate-stealing bastards.”

So we cleaned up the buffet and put the chips and remaining chocolate safely away in plastic bins. And Shari bought the d-CON and placed it under the buffet and in other spots where mice could potentially come in.

About a week later, I was looking in the pantry and happened to notice the corner had been chewed off a bag of Nestle’s morsels.

“Crap!” I shouted. And there was plenty of that, once we moved the cans and jars out of the way. They’d gotten in to some of the pasta and flour as well. So Shari sanitized the pantry and got a whole bunch more plastic tubs to protect the remainder of our foodstuffs. And more d-CON.

We have cats, but they have never been on the first floor. When we adopted them from the shelter, we kept them confined to our bedroom upstairs to get acclimated, and they decided they like the top floor just fine and have shown no interest in coming down the stairs. So they are obviously no deterrent to the rodent invaders.

As time went by, we saw no further evidence of the mice. I assumed they’d carried the d-CON back to wherever their secret lair was and were enjoying a nice hemophilia party until turning over on their backs and quietly expiring. And it would all be out of my sight and my chocolate would be safe once again.

Until the other day when I came down to the basement to do laundry. And there, on the carpet at the foot of the stairs, was a dead little gray and white mouse.

It was adorable.

I stared at it and all I could think was, “I am a monster.”

I came upstairs and found my wife and said, “There’s a dead mouse in the basement and I can’t deal with it and he’s really cute and I hate myself.”

Shari, unencumbered by misplaced empathy, handled the disposal.

It’s been three days and I am still haunted by this. I keep picturing that little mouse staggering out onto the carpet in its death throes. “GOD HAVE MERCY ALL I WANTED WAS A LITTLE BIT OF CHOCOLATE WHY MUST LIFE BE SO CRUEL GAAAaahkk.”

Going forward, Shari and I have divided our responsibilities for rodent eradication. If we encounter any more dead mice, Shari will once again take lead. My job will be to sit on the floor of the bedroom upstairs, with the cats, arms wrapped around my knees, rocking silently.