Billy Keane: 'Why a squeak in the night leaves me alarmed by the thought of abseiling mice on a mission'
Cats don't squeak. They meow. That's why I am fairly sure the intruder isn't a cat. This is live, by the way, from the middle of the night.
The high-pitched squeak wakes me. At first I ignore the awful, almost human squeak, hoping it is part of a dream.
Then the creature squeaks again, just now. It has to be a mouse. I'm very scared of mice.
I'm a barman. I'm used to lunatics coming in. There was a lad who ran in to our pub about 15 years ago, and I asked him: "What's up, Zoro?" He was carrying a sword at the time. Was I scared? Yeah, of course I was, but I wasn't terrified. I am terrified of no man but I am terrified of mice.
I put on my pants and socks. This is anti-mouse gear. There is no need to wear a beekeeper's hat with the meshy thing going all around your neck. Mice can't sting or fly. Now I'm thinking it could be mice might be able to abseil slowly up a wardrobe, them little terrorists being the little ingenious f***ers that they undoubtedly are, and then jump straight at me. Rats could do it for sure. The creature squeaks again.
You tuck the pants inside the socks so the rodent cannot run up the leg and nibble at the privates, or even eat them, if he is a rat. I wouldn't like that.
I walk slowly and silently through the house and come back quickly to the bed to type up this sentence and the next one.
The rain is pouring down outside. Could it be the noisemaker came in from outside to avoid the rain? There's a high, small window and it is open. The gap is small but a mouse could hardly scamper up glass. I'm thinking cat again.
There's a wild cat who wears a bell and he often sneaks in to the house. I know it is unusual for wild cats to be belled like the goats in 'Heidi'.
The cat is mauve and he is a thief. One of the neighbours put a bell on him which I think is tough on the cat. How can a wild cat sneak up on birds and mice with a bell ringing out a warning? I have tried to catch the mauve cat with oven gloves.
I want to take the bell off so he can kill the mice silently, which is what cats do. Cats hardly go fee-fo-fi-fum, do they? Cats are sneaky. The only problem is he will sneak in to the house when the weather gets hot again and maybe he will pee all over the place. But the mauve cat is getting very skinny. I'm guessing he isn't getting too much to eat due to the warning bells. I left out cat food for the mauve but he never touched it. Could it be the mouse was attracted by the cat food? The squeaker could be the mice, or the rat or even the rats? He may not even be a he. He could be a she and expecting pups - f*** it.
I hear the squeak again. It seems louder as I go down the hall and it is my guess now the squeak is coming from the attic.
I'm not scared of bats. There used to be loads of bats flying around at dusk on summer evenings down by the River Feale, near the Island Bridge. The romantic boy brought his girl down there for a kiss under the bridge. He closed his eyes, pretending he was under the bridges of Paris. The romantic boy was kissing away like mad. The romantic boy under the bridge felt his girl's fingers run through his thick curly hair. The romantic boy was afraid of getting the bends. He came up for air. The romantic boy opened his eyes. There was a bat stuck in his hair but the romantic boy never turned against bats or kissing.
I was the romantic boy and I like bats. There is no harm in bats. If there's bats in our attic, good luck to them.
I go back to bed but then I notice the squeaker seems to squeak at what seems like even intervals. I get to thinking the neighbour who belled the skinny mauve cat must have switched to some sort of electronic device.
Cats are smart and it is likely the mauve one found some way of ridding himself of the bell around his neck.
If the cat is in the house I must find some way of getting him out. Wild cats are smelly and pee to mark territory. I get up again, and again, just in case of mice, I retuck the socks inside the pants.
There's no sign of the skinny mauve cat. I leave out a saucer of milk for him.
So still unable to sleep I'm writing this and watching TV at the same time. There are naked girls writhing for hours in the far-out channels. The food programmers go on and on, 24/7. A vampire takes a bite out of a busty girl. There's terrible trouble in the East End and Carrickstown. Over to our east, the watery sun barely rises above the silvery birch.
The mauve cat appears on the windowsill. He drinks the milk when no one was watching. There is no sign of any gratitude. I don't want him to be grateful or a pet.
Off goes the mauve cat for a rest I'd say, and he ding-aling-alinging wherever he goes, like the small boy with the new bike.
The morning brings a new perspective.
The screech sounds like a socked foot on polished floor but finally I notice the gaps between the squeaks are exactly one minute and 43 seconds, approximately.
Herself is excellent at changing bulbs and has graduated to replacing fuses.
Women should marry a maintenance man. They would be happy forever then.
The men who get the most sex are good at fixing things. This is a well-known fact.
The men who do night courses never do without. They are excellent at deciphering and translating Mandarin instructions for putting up things like clothes lines and replacing the batteries in household fire alarms when they go beep in the middle of the night.