“Would you please put a sock in it?” I called wearily, “It’s 4:00 in the morning, Nate!”

Whatever Nate the Mouse was doing in the living room obviously took precedence over my good night’s rest, because he’d been doing it for hours. At last, I stomped downstairs and turned on the lights, to scare him off.

Didn’t even slow him down; the tinkles, scratches, and bangs continued.

“Stop it NOW,” I barked, “or I’m buying the INhumane trap.”

That did it. The noises stopped, and Nate went back to bed. So did I.

Nate got his name thanks to a former acquaintance, a sweet, down-to-earth guy with an incredibly expensive sportscar I coveted. Like the mouse, he was a cute, fuzzy teddybear with bright, shoebutton eyes. OTOH, he’s currently doing time for embezzlement and fraud, so my impression may be a bit off.

Anyway, since I needed to call the little pest something, I named him after Nate. As I mentioned, I first met Nate last Monday, when I caught the strains of a bad Jamaican hotel band coming from behind the living room wall. At the time, I figured Nate was trying to chew through solid maple stairs to reach the pantry, but wondered at never finding toothmarks or mouse poop.

Tonight, I finally discovered the truth: Nate’s smuggling hazelnuts.

Backstory: I have a copper pot half full of old hazelnuts in the living room bookcase, bottom shelf. Someone gave them to me more than a decade ago; I kept them because they were a gorgeous mahogany color and maybe three times the size of other hazelnuts. They’ve traveled all over the country in that little pot; I’m sure they’re mummified by now.

An hour ago I walked past the bookcase and noticed one of those nuts on the floor, right by the stairs and at least two feet away from the nut pot. It wasn’t there this morning, so either that nut grew legs…or someone put it there.

That nut is just about as big as Nate, and the pot it’s in about four times as tall and solid copper. If Nate was the culprit, he was climbing into the pot, securing a nut (in his teeth?) and pushing it all the way up and over the pot wall. Then he had to drag it around a heavy porcelain box, down onto the floor, and over to the side of the bookcase.

Whew. I don’t know where the heck he’s taking those nuts, but you gotta admire that level of perserverence, right?

Nate is NOT going to be a permanent houseguest; I’ve ordered the humane trap Chaniarts suggested. When it arrives, I’ll stick peanut butter in the thing, set it near the last mouse sighting, and–voila!–find Nate, unharmed, trapped inside the next day. All I’ll have to do then is find him a new home.

I’ve already picked out a nice spot across the street from work.

I bent to pick up the nut, toss it in the trash, but stopped, feeling like a jerk: Nate’s worked so hard to get that nut this far, and any day now he’s going to be abandoned in a cold and wet field…

Who am I to destroy his hopes and dreams?

I put the nut back on the floor and went to bed.

OK, Nate, have your fun…for now. Just keep it down, would ya? Some of us are trying to sleep.