Flat Rat

My childhood was spent on a farm; quiet, secluded, well away from the city limits. Gophers a common sight, occasionally a skunk , sometimes a deer nibbling on the fruit trees. Coyotes high on the hills punctuated summer evenings with their unmistakeable wails, though I can’t recall ever seeing one. There were frogs, rabbits, and the owl nesting in a crab apple tree – once a bear followed us home from our school bus.

Other than in a pet store I had never seen a rat. There was the story of the Piper of Hamlin, I knew they carried fleas responsible for “the plague” in medieval Europe, I suppose if pressed I would have said they could be found in garbage dumps or slums.

Within a few days of moving to Vancouver I saw my first rat; not at the docks – running along a telephone wire in a swanky part of town. I quickly realized; where there were people and garbage, rats would come. They cared little for demographics – rats were equal opportunity vermin. Discouraging rats is common sense – contain your garbage, don’t leave piles of brush or garden clippings around to encourage nesting, and in my case a dog – one who’s caught a rat or two doesn’t hurt.

Well used to the notion of rats in the city, I thought nothing of leaving the back door open on a hot muggy day. My son, home sick from school lay on my bed as we watched a movie together. I caught sight of the behemoth from the corner of my eye; I swear this rat was the size of a cat. Perhaps momentary hysterics embellished the girth of my intruder. I leapt for the phone, calling my husband at work to report a rat in the bedroom – “what am I supposed to do about it?” he replied. He had a valid point – it was entirely up to me.

The commotion forced rat into a defensive position beneath the morning paper at the side of the bed. Snapping into “rat slayer” mode I ordered my son not to take his eyes off it as I ran out to the garden. Unsure what I was even looking for, all became clear when a cement cinder block was carried back to the bedroom. Screaming like a ninny, I gauged an appropriate distance for my one shot at a fatal blow.

Never in my life have I been so pleased with myself Β making that second call to my husband’s office. I assured him the problem was taken care of, and asked only that he clean up the flat rat when he got home.

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10 thoughts on “Flat Rat

  1. I’m so far behind on my reading but this was hilarious! I’m sorry, but my weird brain got to working on that story and reminded me of the paper tracings that some kids do in school called “Flat Mike” (or whatever the kid’s name might be) — and then they take ‘Flat Mike’ to all sorts of different places — where they are photographed with ‘Flat Mike’ — thanks for a smile at the beginning of the day!
    Cheers,
    Peter
    A retired photographer looks at life from behind an RV steering wheel.
    Life Unscripted

  2. Eeew… gross, yet hilarious at the same time. I wish I could have seen the smug look on your face during that second phone call.

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