Have you ever had a house guest that refuses to leave?
No, not you Dale, you're fine.
I'm talking about the hairy variety that scampers around in the dark, eating your food and leaving their droppings in weird places.
Seriously, Dale this is not about you.
It's about a little mouse who has decided to move in uninvited and live behind the oven and cupboards in our kitchen.
I hope he's reading this because I've got something to say.
Look, mate, I get it. It is an old house with lots of fruit trees.
If I were you, I'd live here too, feasting on the cornucopia of plums, apples, grapes, nectarines, apricots and blackberries that mostly fall over-ripe to the ground.
But I'd like to think I'd be the type of field mouse with the common decency to stay outside in the field I'm named after.
You're not called a "behind the oven mouse" mate. What is it you do not understand?
TOM (The Oven Mouse) just has no respect.
If I'm watching television in the lounge room, he runs in under the door and stares at me until I put Fantasia on Netflix.
He is not scared of me at all.
That might be because of the scream I let out when I sat on the couch and he sprung from beneath the cushions like a fun house monster.
Tom is definitely the alpha male of the house and knows it.
He just struts across the bench, down the hall and into any room he likes.
Tom doesn't even use the walls and pipes to sneak his way around.
He gives zero ducts.
With a scientific name like Mus musculus, what else would you expect?
Nervously, I come home expecting him to be wearing one of those ridiculous singlets you see the gym junkies wearing at music festivals. You know the type: a strap that doesn't cover their waxed chests and the sides cut out to show those ridiculous hip muscles where love handles should be.
"What are you looking at, Bro?" he will squeak as he puts his arm around my wife and takes a long drink of his protein shake.
I thought I'd trapped him by blocking the gap he went into between the fireplace mantle and hearth with a piece of lego.
But by morning the plastic boulder had been rolled aside and he had emerged like Lazarus. Isn't that great? As well as being a festival douche, Tom now has a messiah complex.
It's got to stop. I need my house back.
I've tried to be nice: buying one of those humane mouse traps that they can get into but not get out of. I even put in a bit of a delicious cake I had made - triple chocolate with ganache, no less - to tempt him inside.
Each day I checked the trap but ... nothing.
I stepped it up to an actual mouse trap but only managed to trap my index finger when the coil snapped shut.
When I finally got it working, Tom just ate the bait without setting off the device.
Now I'm pretty much just providing an a la carte service for a rodent so he doesn't have to eat off the floor like the rest of us.
I'm wary of using poison bait. Not because of kids - it's full blown survival of the fittest in our house - but because the last mouse who shuffled off this mortal coil took the Bard too literally and coiled himself around the condenser coils in the back of the fridge motor.
I spent several days sniffing around the kitchen like a poorly trained bloodhound until realising where it had gone.
Alas poor Yorrick was not solid bones but a bag of liquid that needed several attempts with a pair of tongs to retrieve. I now only use those tongs for guests.
Another one of the mouseketeers, let's call this one Britney Spears because she disappeared without a trace, sang its last song somewhere beneath a cupboard.
I can no longer afford the Glen 20 and baking soda needed to mask the smell.
So Tom, it's you versus me: mano e mouso. One of us has to go.
To scare him, I'm going to read the opening scenes of Of Mice and Men where Lennie is patting a dead mouse.
In truth, I'll probably be run out of town like that simple fool.
Does anyone have anywhere I can stay?
I might have to go bunk in with Dale. (Seriously, Dale, you're welcome to stay.)
- Mark Baker is Australian Community Media - Tasmania managing editor