Tuesday, October 17, 2017

New mysteries no. 1: mice

First mystery, number one in the new case book: What’s making that squeaking noise in the car? Squeak squeak squeak.
“What’s making that squeaking noise in the car?” I asked.
Steve says, “Maybe it needs oil.”
“You know. Oil. If your bike squeaks, if the door hinges squeak, you need to oil them.”
“Doesn’t work that way with cars.”
“Hell it doesn’t,” said Steve. “How come you have to go have your car oiled every three months or whatever it is? It’s because if you don’t, it’ll squeak.”
Steve’s not much good for solving mysteries. I took the car to a private car detective. Mechanic. Whatever they’re called around here. You leave it there in the morning, they call you at noon with the results. They said, “We’re going to refer you to a vet.”
“Yeah. It looks like you’ve got mice.”
“That’s what’s squeaking. They’re in the fuel lines and the exhaust system. We don’t have the equipment to get ’em out, so you’ll have to go to the vet.”
“The vet.”
“Yeah. The vet’ll have a mouse extractor. Sort of like a plumber’s snake with a grabby claw on the end. They’ll run it through the systems and pull out all the mice.”
“Can’t you do anything?” I couldn’t believe they couldn’t do anything.
“We can oil ’em. That’ll make them stop squeaking, but they’ll still be in there.”
I took the car home again. There had to be some way to get them out.
Steve said, “You could oil them.”
“I know, I know,” I said. “It’ll make them stop squeaking, but they’ll still be in there.”
“No,” he said. “I mean you could make them slippery. Then you start up the engine, and they’ll all come squirting out the exhaust pipe.”
So we tried it. Poured a quart of mouse oil in through the air filter. You get the stuff at the pet supply store in the mouse section. Three-in-one mouse oil, for mice, rats, and voles. General purpose, to eliminate squeaks and promote frictionless rodents.
We let the stuff soak in for a couple of hours. Fired up the engine, and about a dozen mice came squirting out of the tailpipe.
Steve may not be any kind of detective, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a genius.

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