Right after I graduated from college, I lived in a grungy Manhattan apartment with my friend Kat, whom I'd known since junior high. Kat (whose real name is used here with permission mostly for purposes of the title) is a glamorous, dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker who would look right at home on an episode of Sex and the City. (I mean, she shames me for wearing clogs).
But Kat's style and savoir-faire was belied--at least at that time--by our shared tendency toward domestic entropy. And by domestic entropy, I mean we were slobs. Major slobs. On any given day, our abode featured week-old lentils moldering away in an open pot and an assortment of clothing strewn about every surface. Dirty ashtrays, empty wineglasses, stray shoes, used makeup remover pads, and similar detritus of young female urban adulthood littered every surface of the 700 square foot space.
New York City is unforgiving in one notable respect when it comes to slovenly living, and that respect is the presence of vermin. Nowhere do pests flourish like they do in the walls, pipes, sewers, subways, and alleys of a city like New York. Even the cleanest spaces must contend with infestation, so our apartment was far from immune to pestilence. But we remained in denial that we shared our living quarters with mice, and rather than bother to change our habits, we just set out a couple of traps. I wasn't the least bit surprised when Kat called me at work one morning with some urgent news.
I picked up the phone at my shitty, minimum-wage publishing job. "Sub-rights, this is Libby," I quipped cheerfully for what felt like the thousandth time that week. "BLOOP," came a throaty, horrified whisper. I knew it was Kat, using a pet nickname she'd assigned to me in childhood for reasons that now escape me. (Unlike me, Kat managed to put herself together when she went to work in the morning, so she always left the house at least an hour later). "There's MICE on the glue trap. TWO of them! WhaddamI gonna do? Why did we use the glue trap? We shoulda bought the Hav-a-Heart. This is haaaaahhhribllle!!"
Now calm down, I told her. After all, I was great in emergencies. I suggested she turn her head, pick up the glue trap, and throw it down the building's incinerator chute. "But Bloooooooop," she protested. "They're lying there in each othas arms. They're like fuckin' Romeo and Juliet ovah heah!" (When Kat gets exercised, her New York accent really shines).
I asked if the mice were still alive, doing my best impression of a 911 operator from a Lifetime movie. Kat claimed she couldn't tell and didn't want to find out. "I can't do it Bloop. I think you need to come home." Um, I can't do it either, PITA. PITA stood for "Pain in the Ass," a pet name I'd long ago assigned to her and that she sometimes volleyed back at me.
I don't remember how Kat ultimately disposed of the duo, but I'm pretty sure a neighbor was involved. All I know is that when I got home from work, Romeo and Juliet had met their tragic, Shakepearean end. Never again would fair Manhattan know such a pair of star-crossed rodent lovers, who with their death, buried two roomates' strife.