• Serena Juchnowski

Life in the Pits: Fred the Mouse

Before Covid, there was Fred the mouse. And after Covid, if such a world exists, Fred the mouse will remain. Though I have never personally met Fred, his presence was made known to me in September of 2016 during the annual EIC match held at Solon Sportsmen’s Club.


Organized pit buckets, supplies readily available – everything present and accounted for needed to reface and score targets. I just didn’t count on anything extra. Droppings, scattered across the floor, scattered all over each shelf and across the tops of the buckets (which also served as a scoring disk) laden with stickers, chalk, golf tees, and smaller scoring disks.


I get it. Mice live outside. They get into things. They make a mess.


Such a display as in the pit shed, I had never seen, or care to again. At first glance, one can miss it. Some ignore it, some don’t care. I do not care for it – at all.


That very first match, at the 600-yard line, I broached match director Tim McGrattan about the issue. It didn’t even phase him. Apparently nothing would deter the mice (I imagine there are multiple.), so it has essentially been considered a lost cause.


“Fred.” He said.

“What?”

“Fred the mouse.” This time it was very clear.

“You named it?!”

“Everything’s Fred.” Tim declared.


Exasperated, I listened to some story about tea parties at the 600-yard line with Fred and made a mental note to bring extra cleaning wipes to any future match there. Solon is a fantastic club to shoot at – great people, beautiful range. I earned 12 of my 30 EIC points towards my Distinguished badge there. I just wish Fred would choose to spend his time away from the pit shed and supplies.


Four years later, he’s still there.


Eight days before the match, I got a message.

“Fred the mouse has been asking about you.”


Now I don’t believe Fred the mouse can speak human, or that Tim McGrattan can speak mouse. Nor do I believe that Fred knows I have a sort of vendetta against him. I should specify. Fred is not one mouse. Fred is the name of each and every mouse who frequents the pit shed. Fred is also the name McGrattan assigns to any creature he sees or hears about. For example, the snake shedding its skin in the pits? Fred. Spiders? Fred. Everything’s Fred. Everything.


I quickly learned that the pit shed was still Fred-controlled, but that it would be cleaned out before the match. WONDERFUL!


Me: “And disinfecting it?!?”

McGrattan: “Want me to just burn it down?”


I thought this was a fantastic idea and held onto that shred of hope. On Saturday, September 12, 2020 – the pit shed still stood. It is 2020 after all. (In lighter news, Solon will soon be moving its supplies to a Connex – a structure not as easily gnawed into by vermin.)


This year, however, I did gain some greater insight into Fred’s life. Range regulars shifted around a few gas cans to expose a gaping hole in the floor, larger than my hand, surrounded by signs of Fred and his party.


I must admit, they were dedicated. Perhaps the entry has been left unrepaired out of respect for their handiwork. Most likely, no one cares as much as me.


Note: It has been realized that the entry point used by Fred the mouse and his counterparts was established by Fred the opossum.

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© 2019 by Serena Juchnowski

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