24 responses

  1. Jan Priddy
    September 17, 2018

    Thank you for this. I would not rescue a stink bug, but garter snakes and bats. My husband would throw the olive oil away too.

    Reply

    • Suzanne Farrell Smith
      September 17, 2018

      I recall thinking something about the olive oil in the moment, like, oh the whole bottle? Well, it’s an old carafe, it’s just bulk oil, not good salad oil. How our minds drift and then suddenly land somewhere.

      Reply

  2. Laurie Easter
    September 17, 2018

    Wow, Suzanne, you had me right there with you, although I have been known to kill a few things. Such detail and urgency and compassion.

    Reply

    • Suzanne Farrell Smith
      September 17, 2018

      Since the issue went live, I’ve been thinking about what I kill without second thought: yellow jackets and carpenter ants.

      Reply

  3. Emily Brisse
    September 21, 2018

    I’m going to use this next weekend in a class I’m teaching, Suzanne. I really do love it. I keep thinking about it, probably because I, too, have met with a mouse on a glue trap, and no, nothing else breathes that fast.

    Reply

    • Suzanne Farrell Smith
      September 22, 2018

      Thank you so much, Emily. I’m still having trouble with the experience, but writing it in this way helped me feel less like a monster for what happened!

      Reply

  4. Robbie Gamble
    September 22, 2018

    Incredible story, grippingly told. Took me back to an incident years ago, when I lived in an old five-story tenement on the Lower East Side, and someone set a glue trap for mice in the basement. The problem was, we had rats, and one of them stuck a foot in the glue trap, which was far too small to subdue him. He just dragged the trap after him, and for weeks after we could hear him rattling up and down inside the tenement walls, as he went about his ratty business.

    Reply

    • Suzanne Farrell Smith
      September 25, 2018

      One comforting detail of your story, Robbie, is that he didn’t try to chew the trap off. I too lived in the city, in Midtown Manhattan for a long time, and witnessed rat after rat after rat. Living in the woods away from most humans is teaching me to be more humane.

      Reply

  5. Kurt Caswell
    September 24, 2018

    Hi Suzanne,

    Just wanted you to know, I love this piece dearly. I’m using it in my nonfiction workshop in the Honors College at Texas Tech.

    Kurt Caswell

    Reply

    • Suzanne Farrell Smith
      September 25, 2018

      Kurt, thank you so much for sharing that with me. I’ve long admired your work (especially since Sue listed In the Sun’s House as a must read). I think you taught at VCFA after I graduated so I wasn’t able to benefit from your wisdom in person. It means a lot to me that you will find use for this piece with your students!

      Reply

    • Suzanne Farrell Smith
      September 25, 2018

      Kurt, Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I have long admired your work, especially since Sue listed In the Sun’s House as a must-read. I think you taught at VCFA after I graduated, so I was not able to benefit from your wisdom in person. I’m honored to know you are using this piece with your students!

      Reply

  6. Judith Hannan
    October 16, 2018

    This was gripping. I found myself in so many of the sentences.

    Reply

  7. Diana Castro
    October 22, 2018

    This story reminded me of our own debacle when my son stepped on a wooly black and orange caterpillar he had just been admiring. I was at a complete loss as to what to do to assuage my son’s torrent of tears. Half of the caterpillar was still squirming so a quick heartfelt funeral was out of the question. I finally came up with a story about how a caterpillar ambulance was sure to come but we should go as they might be put off by their natural shyness towards humans. Phew! That worked.

    Reply

    • Suzanne Farrell Smith
      November 3, 2018

      Oh my. What an imaginative way you found to help ease yourself and your son out of the moment and on to the next. Lately I’ve been faced with questions of death, as my eldest is now six. It’s a lot all at once. What happens when people die? Why can’t people come visit us after they die? When we eat chicken, are we eating real chickens, like the chickens at the farm? I admire the way you found a story with recognizable details (ambulance) to handle that one. (I may have to steal it if the moment presents itself!)

      Reply

  8. Cooper Gelb
    October 25, 2018

    This was an amazing piece! Thank you for sharing.

    Reply

  9. Donna Steiner
    December 5, 2018

    Heartbreaking. Wow. Thank you.

    Reply

  10. Debra Eder
    December 24, 2018

    Suspense! Chills! Goosebumps!

    I didn’t see this piece when it was first published. It was “revived” (recommended) by Emily Brisse in a thread started by Jessica Wilbanks in Binders Full of Creative Non-Fiction.

    Reply

  11. Laurie Lynn Drummond
    May 8, 2019

    Sweet baby everything, this is glorious and horrible and heartbreaking and so beautifully written and that last sentence just about did me in. Thank you for your huge heart. And thank you for capturing the franticness of hurting the thing you are trying to help even though you know that ultimately, that thing is doomed.

    Reply

    • Suzanne Farrell Smith
      September 17, 2019

      I didn’t see your comment in May, and was here to read the new issue today when I came back to this piece. Thank you so much for putting into words your experience as a reader. It means quite a lot to me!

      Reply

  12. Suzanne Farrell Smith
    September 17, 2019

    I didn’t see your comment in May, and was here to read the new issue today when I came back to this piece. Thank you so much for putting into words your experience as a reader!

    Reply

  13. Rose Strode
    October 24, 2019

    I think one of the things that amplifies the horror and sadness of this amazing essay is the way the title and first line echo the familiar “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” story. In the children’s story, the cookie is just the beginning to an increasingly close relationship with the mouse. In the essay, snacks and warmth also lead to an increasingly close relationship with a mouse, although this relationship is horrifying and heartbreaking.

    Reply

    • Suzanne Farrell Smith
      November 6, 2019

      That book, and all Numeroff’s books of the same series, was very much on my mind (and on our coffee table) while I worked on the piece. My boys love the books. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

      Reply

  14. Caren Lissner
    October 1, 2020

    Great piece. I found my way here because a mouse got trapped in a glue trap in my apt that I didn’t know was there (behind the oven). We only found out too late. We had seen him a week ago and put humane traps out; too bad he didn’t find his way into those and instead found the old glue trap. We heard squeaking and called exterminators and they found him. I’m sorry he/she suffered like that. Anyway, you’re a good person.

    Reply

    • Suzanne Farrell Smith
      April 22, 2021

      I just found your comment, Caren. You’re a good person too. As humans, we can do better. Glue traps ought to be banned.

      Reply

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