One fall day Bill’s social worker contacted us to schedule an appointment for treatment of a mouse infestation at his home. I knew I was in for an interesting experience by the amount of bizarre items I noticed in Bills front yard as I walked towards the door. Bill looked like an average guy that you would meet at work or at the corner store. He was very pleasant, and greeted me with a confident hand shake. He thanked me, more then once, for coming by to help him out, and invited me in. As soon as he opened the door, I was struck by the most pungent stench of mouse feces and urine. I panicked, as I felt the urge to vomit. Bill took a step to my side and reached for something at the door. My eyes followed as I watched him lock three deadbolts; click, click, click. As I glanced at my surroundings, my eyes fixated on a small hatchet and an axe resting against the corner in the foyer. Trying to camouflage the uneasy feeling that quickly came over me, I glanced back at Bill with my eyebrows raised, as if to ask, “What is that about?” He smiled and said, ” You know, it’s the neighbourhood.” This did not sit well with me as he lived in one of the safer areas of Toronto. Bill did not elaborate as to why he felt he needed the hardware on his door, but instead began to tell me about his mouse problem. As I looked down on the floor I noticed something even more disturbing. The floor was completely covered with something crunchy. Initially, I wasn’t quite sure what it was. ”OMG… Mouse Droppings!!” Black, brown and green, the entire floor surface was covered in it, and I was standing in the middle of it. There was no carpet or hardwood floor to be seen, just mouse droppings covering every inch. As I glanced around I noticed boxes, magazines and papers piled to just below the ceiling. Beyond that was what I assumed to be the kitchen, although no appliances were visible. I noticed doors off hinges, and some light fixtures that had bulbs and some that only had flies in them. GARBAGE WAS EVERYWHERE!!. The only way to get to other rooms of the house was through a maze of garbage. “I was in the home of a hoarder!” Bill spoke as I stood in amazement, forgetting, for a brief moment, about the rancid odour that struck me when I first entered his home. I was standing there speechless, just stuck in my boots. Bill did not seem fazed by my reaction. I was sure that he was accustom to it since he continued talking.
The surprises kept coming. From the corner of my eye, I noticed a standard black and grey poodle limping out from the maze of papers in the living room. As it came closer, I realized that it was wearing an adult diaper. Shocked by my observation, I think I uttered “ What the @#%*?” out loud, all the while trying to wrap my head around the dog and diaper as well as all of my overstimulated senses. It seemed as if I was bombarded with strange happenings simultaneously. My heart racing, I was not sure which way to turn. Everywhere I looked something strange was going on. As I tried to calm myself, I heard a high shrill voice to my left, coming from the direction of the basement. ”Hey, how ya doing?” I looked down the basement stairway and saw… a small child? No, a little person, leaning against the hand railing. ”Could this scenario get any stranger?” I thought. My head was spinning. I was short of breath and I started to have an anxiety attack. I felt like I was watching an episode of the “Twilight Zone” staring…. ME. That was about all I could take. I immediately told Bill I would need to get a mask from my truck in order to continue with my inspection. He calmly reached around me, undid the three deadbolts, click,click,click. ”Take your time Brad, I am in no hurry,” He said. But I was, I thought, and exited his home in record speed.
The rain was coming down hard, but my cab door was up, keeping most of it off my head. I pretended to get something from my truck, as I called the office. ”Hey, It’s me. If you don’t hear from me within the next thirty minutes send the police to the mouse call address.” Although all my instincts told me to get as far away from this madness as I possibly could, after explaining the situation to my partner, I found the courage to go back inside or at least not drive away without saying goodbye.
Bill opened the door, and unsurprisingly, my anxiety returned. I stood on his front porch and started to explain why I could not bait his house at this time. ”Where is your mask?” He asked. ”What mask?” I said, totally forgetting the excuse I used to get back to my truck. Ignoring his question, I just kept on talking, all the while, rain trickling down the brim of my hat. ”Bill, we have a problem regarding the clutter and the dog. Where would you like me to put the bait?” I asked. He replied, “ just throw it anywhere”. ”Bill, I can’t do that. That wouldn’t be safe.” As delicately as I could, I proceeded to explain that he would have to clean up so I can reach certain areas. “Brad, I’ve lost my wife, two children and recently my job, the house is certain to be next. I did not clean up for them…” I nodded like I understood. “ Are you sure you won’t come in ….out of the rain? “No, I’m fine thanks.” I apologized for taking up his time, as I knew from the I moment he opened the front door that I would not be able to help him with his mouse problem. Bill had many other issues to deal with before any pest control company would be able to help with his mice. Sadly, long after his dog passes and his roommate moves on, Bill will always have mice.
The Social worker spoke Bill shortly after our meeting and called to thank me for attempting to assist him with his infestation. I apologized for not following through with the treatment and explained my concerns. She did not seem surprised and told me she was just happy with his progress. Apparently, aside from me and his roommate, Bill had not allowed visitors to his home in over 5 years. The fact that he allowed me into his home was a major breakthrough. I felt as though I may have help him after all. Was it something I said? ….Maybe I should change careers?