Good Day Humboldt County!
How’d you like to walk down memory lane with me to read a short story that will hopefully amuse you today? I broke it up into two parts for quick reads. Here’s Part I:
It all started last March when one big-assed Norwegian rat migrated from our Conex box and slunk into our house through the back door!
We had the Conex box open – airing it out – because I had discovered rat shit droppings near a plastic trash can that had a hole eaten through the base! Bit’s and pieces of plastic, and garbage were strewn about as the little rat bastard had feasted! It was my first time dealing with a rat, and I intended to make sure it would the last time. I found a hole gnawed through the wooden floor and plugged it up.
As fate would have it, the back door to our house was open because my wife, Shirley, was doing some early spring cleaning, and was going back and forth with small rugs to be beaten into submission. Sometime, in a six hour stretch, the rat bastard slunk into the house. We didn’t know it that day. The next morning, as we sat and enjoyed our first cup of coffee, nature called and I went into the downstairs bathroom located in the rear of the house. Oh, the horror! There was rat shit on the floor and in the bath tub! I was stunned and aware that the rat in the Conex box had somehow invaded our house!
White-faced, I walked out into the living room and informed Shirley about our new house guest. She understandably freaked out. We both went back to the bathroom for further investigation. I went in and shut the door while Shirley gave words of encouragement from the other side. I moved the cupboard, looked behind it.
Nothing but rat shit. No holes. I then checked the walls around the baseboard for entry ways. Nothing. I opened one of the drawers and a big fat-assed Norway rat wrinkled his whiskers at me! His beady black eyes stared me down defiantly while his long whiskers waved obscenely – seemingly testing the air and my mood. Then he dove underneath the stack of hand towels. Okay. That verified that. I really had a rat, and it looked like he was preparing to take up permanent residence!
During my inspection, and upon my discovery, I was giving Shirley a running commentary – “Okay you rat bastard...you came inside the wrong house! When I see you...wait! What’s that stirring under the towels? Arrrrgggggggg! Shirley! I found the rat and it looks like he has an attitude!
Loud moans outside the door as she heard the news. If there’s one thing Shirley hates more than snakes, it’s rats.
I stepped back outside, carefully closing the door. The rat bastard didn’t get by me. I went and got a pair of heavy gloves and a steel pot with a lid. Yes, I was going to give him a chance to live and catch him, then take him outside. I intended to free him about a mile down the street in one of my neighbor’s yards. But Nooooo!
He took one quick look at me when I opened the drawer, wiggled his whiskers, and jumped out! The race was on (in a very confined space). It was over as suddenly as it started when he dashed around the baseboard and suddenly disappeared! Perplexed, and pissed, I carefully got down on my arthritic knees and studied the entire baseboard on all three walls. I took all three drawers out of the cupboard and carefully searched the contents of the top shelf. No rat bastard! Nothing. I took the entire closet out of the bathroom. There was nowhere to hide when I was done. The fourth wall was the tub.
Throughout this process I was encouraged by Shirley’s constant reminders to “Get the little f**ker!” Now, it’s only fair to point out Shirley doesn’t use the “F Bomb” often, but when she does it flows like a river....”The little f**ker! He’s invaded my house! F**ker! F**ker! F**ker” It wasn’t pretty to hear.
Meanwhile, I’m having my own issues. As most of my family, friends, and readers know, I have PTSD. Certain things sometimes bother me so bad I have flashbacks. When I came face to snout with that rat bastard I flashed onto some very terrible experiences I had in Vietnam where I saw rats feasting on NVA and VC bodies. My stress level peaked in seconds. But the worst was yet to come.
I couldn’t find the rat bastard. Where was he? How was it possible he could just disappear like that? I had peered up the bathroom facet (shades of staring down holes in the ground that led to tunnels) and turned the hot water on thinking maybe he was hiding up there and I’d scald his furry ass! No such luck. Shirley went from swearing directly into a cleaning frenzy. She bleached the living room floor, and the hallway adjoining the bathroom. That was just a warm-up. All the dust covers came off the couch, love seat and chair, and were marched upstairs and put in the washer – set on sterilize. All the furniture was moved and both big floor throw rugs rolled up and taken outside.
Bleach went on the kitchen table, counter, and the cupboards near the baseboard. All food that was on the counter (fruits and such) was thrown out. All walls were wiped down. Who knew where the rat went last night before settling in his comfy bed in the bathroom closet? The very thought drove her to distraction. Nothing was safe now, until she bleached it. Our slippers and socks. End tables and lamps. Bar stools and chairs that went with the kitchen table were wiped down thoroughly. Anywhere she suspected that rat might have gone was bleached with a vengeance.
By now, I was pissed off enough to go out and buy a rat trap, and rat poison cubes. I set the trap. A while later we checked on it. The cheese was gone. The trap still intact, waiting patiently to snap shut. Yet, the rat pellets proved he had a quick meal with no repercussions! So I set it again, thinking I missed something the first time. The same scenario resulted.
Then I tried peanut butter. Surely the little rat bastard would set it off when he tried to get that sticky bait ...right? Hell no. He licked it clean - and if rats could write, he would have left me a thank you note for the tasty treat.
It became obvious I wasn’t setting the trap correctly, or this was one smart-assed rat like in the book “Willard.” I gave up on the trap and hoped Plan B – the little block of rat poison I put in one corner, would work. We continued to check the bathroom the next day, but the poison block remained untouched. Understandably I suppose, as I had served up a three-course meal on a platform he didn’t fear. During one of these inspections Shirley made a discovery!
She found the spot where the rat bastard must have been hiding! Beneath the sink counter, along the floor board, there’s a tiny opening (you have to look up underneath the cabinet to spot it) that leads into a crawlspace (about four inches deep) at the base of the cabinet. Busted! Now we knew where the rat bastard was hiding. We decided to give the poison a chance overnight, and went to bed with rat bastards dancing in our dreams!
The next morning came. The tension built. I slowly opened the bathroom door watching the floor intently. A quick scan of the room. No rat poison block! It was gone! Disappeared, and I knew where. I hoped he enjoyed his last meal (it takes between 3-4 days to kill them, according to the instructions). Of course, as you probably have guessed by now, I’ll have to take the cabinet apart to get his dead rat ass out. That’s okay. Shirley is already talking about getting a band new cabinet that will go better with the paint job in there!
This is NOT THE END of this story. Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow: Because of rat bastard’s Norwegian lineage it was decided to give him a real Viking send-off. Special sidebar: you’ll never guess where we found him!
Time for me to walk on down the road…