There are moments in life. There are moments, and then there are moments. Moments so monumental, you remember them with a sick feeling as if they happened five minutes ago. Oddly enough this one did happen almost five minutes ago. (before we go on, this is not going to be a sad story, it has a happy ending - unless you are a rat fancier)
Like I said before, there are moments. Moments that make your hair turn prematurely grey, moments that wake you up shrieking in the night. Well, I got home like I usually do and got the mail, checked on the work that was done by our contractor, you know, things that are all a part of normal life. Never knowing that a catechism - no a cataclysm was waiting for me around the next bend with a sock full of sand.
We had seen signs of the underworld encroaching on our garage over the last week. The bird seed had been chewed, a few dropping here and there, and even some sinister scurrying in the night. Because of this, I had set a rat trap and baited it well. After a week, I moved it to another spot hoping for better success.
All of this led up to tonight. I went to check on the trap, and the trap was gone! I widened our search perimeter and found it a few feet away almost under one of our cupboards. It was shut to I grabbed it, but it didn't move. Idiot that I am, I thought, "Oh we caught a rat and it died under the cupboard." I then moved all of the stuff blocking the cupboard doors from opening and opened the door. Then, the nightmare began.... the trap started moving. We had caught the rat by its back leg, so it was alive and kicking - and biting. This was too much for me, so I went to get reinforcements.
My wife proved to be a broken reed. She took one look and said she would help, from far away inside the house. She would shout encouragement from time to time, but that was all.
After a few hurried SOSs, our council of war included that knight in shining armor named Warren, who lives next door (he's about 6 feet tall, weighs in at 10 stone, is 14 or 15 or 16 - i can't remember, and enjoys little problems like this - little problems fore-soothe). He said, "Don't worry, I'll bring my shovel. I've done this before."
I got a good flashlight and we assembled around the cupboard. I wanted to be there for the final moments. I opened the door and let Warren sail in all guns blazing. He caught once glimpse and stumbled backwards saying, "That is HUGE! I don't think a shovel will work, I'm going to need something bigger." I know what you are thinking. This is easy, use your bazooka or perhaps a bit of C4. The problem with C4 and a bazooka is that they would have blown up the garage and the rat - we were hoping on only blowing up rats.
It was time to get out the elephant gun. I loaded it up, well it was only a pellet gun, but I will call it my elephant gun, and went back to the front lines. Warren opened the door and the rat stood up, gnashed its pearly whites (though not so pearly at that) and gazed at us in its swashbuckling way. You would have thought that the blush of shame and remorse would have mantled it cheeks; it was looking at people who had caught it in the very act of pillaging, plundering and worse. But no, it just looked at us and squeaked - a hideous menacing squeak. We all jumped back foot or 3. Then Warren used the shovel to hold back the camping chair it was hiding before and we let him, (the rat, not Warren) have it with both barrels. It started running, not away, but towards us! I kept shooting and it kept coming. Warren saved the day by pinning it on the floor with the shovel and I went for more ammo. When I came back, it was busy chewing its way through the shovel blade and squeaking at intervals. I shot it about 371 more times and even then it was twisting and twitching.
We then dug a small hole in the back yard and buried him.
Ashes to ashes and dust to dust, through this grey life we all must go. Aweary, oh aweary, but may we pass through it with far fewer and smaller rats.