Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

The Mouse Who Called 911


This story reminded me of one of my favorite personal stories.  First I have to assure you that this story is completely true – no literary license is being taken.  So gather round kiddies and let me tell you about the Mouse Who Called 911.

I was working in a domestic violence shelter after college.  I had the unenviable weekend shift – 9pm Friday night to 9pm Sunday night.  I was the only staff on duty during this 48 hour period.  I slept on a couch in the staff office in order to answer any middle of the night crisis calls or address any issues a resident might have during the night.

It was late fall and we had an unusual period with no residents in the shelter but because of the crisis line and the possibility of emergency shelter being needed I still had to spend the weekend at the shelter.  It was kind of a spooky old Victorian house.  I never saw anything but I heard things over the years when I was alone in that house that I chose not to investigate – I’ve seen enough horror movies to know that investigating that strange noise never ends well.  This particular fall we were having trouble with field mice seeking shelter in the house.  I worked with some bleeding hearts (Chris – are you reading this?) who didn’t want to kill the mice so they bought the sticky traps.  They wanted to set them free to frolic in the park.

It’s Saturday night.  I’ve got the TV on to drown out the sound of a mouse that is stuck in the sticky trap.  He’s squealing now and then.  I am not about to touch it.  The handyman could take care of him tomorrow.  He quieted down and I fell asleep.  Suddenly, around 3am, I hear my speaker phone come on, dial a number, and a voice say “911…what is your emergency?”  I was used to coming suddenly awake to answer the crisis line but this was new.  I jumped up, grabbed the phone, and apologized profusely to the 911 operator.  I explained that I didn’t know how the number was dialed (a 911 call from the local domestic violence shelter can bring a prompt and well armed response – as well as hours of paperwork and a wake up call to my boss).  I hang up the phone, went back to the couch, and immediately hear my speaker phone dial and “911…what is your emergency?”  Again I apologize to the operator.  I hang up and it happens again.  I was imagining headlines in the local paper “DV advocate arrested for prank calls to 911”.  After the 5th time, I finally had to unplug the phone.  I knew I couldn’t keep it unplugged because someone may need to reach me on the crisis line.  I was exhausted and a little freaked out.  I couldn’t imagine how this kept happening but I was ready to working hard to convince myself it was just a glitch in our phone system.  I decided to swap my phone with another phone to see that would solve the problem.  I followed the phone line to unplug it from the wall and what do I discover?  The phone line was nearly chewed through by mister mouse.  It ran right past where he was stuck to the trap.  He somehow managed to cross the wires in just the right way to trigger the speed dial on the phone.  The mouse was calling 911.  (He later chewed off his own leg and escaped from the trap – but that is another, much less funny story.)

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