The Devil Queen

How my wife and I sold our souls to the Queen Anne Victorian we tried to save.

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Location: Crow Mountain, Arkansas, United States

Synopsis: This is a cautionary tale. A seriously disturbed couple find the charming, old ruin of a Queen Anne Victorian in Russellville, Arkansas, and buy it for $1.00. They tore the roof off, cut it in half, and had it moved to some land they owned sixteen miles away because they didn't know any better. Since then, they have hired and fired contractors, had all of their tools stolen, re-wired, re-plumbed, insulated, and essentially rebuilt the entire house. Their only problem is that after four years it still isn't finished. Now they are tired, broke, and wonder what in the hell it is they've done to themselves. And, it's haunted.
(Last updated on April 3, 2008)

Press: Russellville Courier Article - December 2003, HGTV website article, AP story - October 2006, and Victorian Homes Magazine - February 2008 (link coming soon).
Art: From time to time, I receive requests for my art. If you would like to look at more of my art, go to The Failed Artist. If you would like to buy my art, email me. I am more than happy to answer any questions you might have. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Mouse, The Will to Power

"Physiologists should think before putting down the instinct of self-preservation as the cardinal instinct of an organic being. A living thing seeks above all to discharge its strength — life itself is will to power; self-preservation is only one of the indirect and most frequent results."

—trans. Walter Kaufmann, of Neitzsche's Beyond Good and Evil

[emphasis add by me]



For a better part of the weekend, my wife and I believed that the Devil Queen was inhabited by the hardiest, most resilient representative of Mus musculus, known to us as Mouse. Note the capital "M." Until our illusions were shattered, we believed that this single mouse, The Mouse, was the most powerful specimen of his species.

Mouse was a small, wiry creature who exhibited preternatural speed (foiling our repeated attempts to photograph him for science). He was a ghostly flicker seen from the corner of the eye. His utter contempt for us, two lumbering bipeds, was unmistakable. At any time of day or night, he'd saunter across the well-lit kitchen or living room floor. And, in spite of ourselves, we admired him for his brazen disregard for us and all the dangers of the world. He was fearless, he was the master of his world.

Our admiration, however, was not enough to temper our need for a clean, orderly house. My wife set a poison trap for him Saturday. As the noon hour approached, my wife and I were sitting in the kitchen breakfast nook finishing off a pot of coffee. Hearing something behind me, I looked over my shoulder. There, next to the refrigerator was Mouse. He calmly regarded me from his perch upon the trap full of poison. He then scooped up a fist full of aqua-green poison pellets and devoured them.

"Son of a bitch, it's Mouse."

"Where?" my wife asked.

"Over there eating the poison."

"Oh no. He was supposed to do it at night so I didn't have to watch him die. Now, I have guilt."

"Do you want me to catch him and let him loose outside?"

She nods "yes."

I try to catch Mouse, but he is too smart and too fast for me. He escapes.

Later, close to dinner time, we are back in the kitchen. Mouse has returned. We were baffled. How much poison does one mouse need to eat? What is the fatal dose? How long does it take for it to work?

Again, we were astonished.

I try to catch Mouse so we can release him elsewhere, out of doors. I am ashamed to say that Mouse did not survive this encounter. I didn't compensate enough for his supernatural speed. The bucket and the laws of physics conspired together in what I hope was a quick and relatively painless death.

Now we both felt guilty.


* * *


Sunday.

"Damn it, there is another mouse! How many do we have?!"

"Where?" my wife asks.

"It just dove under the refrigerator; it was huge."

It was only then that we realized that we were the victims an elaborate deception perpetrated by a motley gang of rodents; after rats, mice are considered the most "successful" species of mammal on earth. I don't think humans even made the top ten list, so what can we expect?

In any case, to perpetuate the myth of the Uber-mouse, the mice would only expose themselves individually. Therefore, our brazen poison eater was Mouse 1. We can only assume that he perished from the poison. Where? We don't know, but I suspect we'll be able to smell him sometime around Thanksgiving dinner, bon appetite!

Therefore, Mouse 2 perished by bucket. If it hadn't been for Mouse 3's enormous girth, we may have been forced to conclude that Mouse was not only an Uber-mouse, but he was also his specie's answer to Lazarus. Fortunately, we were spared this embarrassment.

Somehow, this whole episode makes me think of Zorro, the Gay Blade. If that doesn't make any sense to anyone but me, that is okay. Sometimes my free-associations are a little too free.

So, what do we do now? We went to my in-law's and picked up our cat. We've given him free reign at the Devil Queen. That ought to give the mice something to think about.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Maryam in Marrakesh said...

I hear that rodent is very delicious with cranberry sauce. Thanksgiving bonanza?

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Karen said...

Will said cat eat the mouse? If so I suggest that you get rid of the poisin ASAP. The cat might eat a poisin mouse.

6:40 AM  
Blogger John said...

Maryam,

Isn't everything better with cranberry sauce? Well, maybe not dessert.

Karen,

He might eat him, so the poison was gone before we moved him in with us. Thanks for the warning though.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Annie said...

Hi there,
Glad to the myth of the Uber Maus debunked, i was worried they might spread north.

Along those lines, i just had to mention another danger of poison traps that most folks don't think of. I do bird rescue and often times owls are poisoned by eating mice and rats that escape the house. As predators they're amazing rodent control, but it's probably not legal to keep one as a house pet where they'd do the most good (and might be tempted to go after said cat, as well).

Maybe the solution is to bait a snap trap with the yummy green poison pellets (is this the mouse equivalent of McDonalds?) Good luck!

2:34 PM  
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