So, everyone has an animal they fucking hate above all others right? For me, it’s rats. Just like Indiana Jones’ daddy, I can’t take ’em—and living in this rat-infested city and watching them freely frolic in the subway tunnels and the streets makes me want to do one thing—put on a big pair of boots and stomp them.
See, my lifelong hatred of rats stems from a scarring childhood incident. A long time ago (probably 25 years) in a galaxy far, far away (Iowa), my older sister liked to torture animals. And living on a farm, dammit, if she didn’t have her choice of the run. Usually she’d just harass our chickens or pigs to the point that they’d try to rip her leg off, but she found a new passion I could wholeheartedly get behind when our farm became overrun with rats one summer.
Oh, they were horrible. They would pop up everywhere—in the barn, in the wagon, in the water bucket. Hell, you never knew where one’s ugly little head would appear.
In the guise of alleviating our rat problem, my sister decided that she would take it upon herself to kill as many of them as she could. This usually involved a 14-gauge shotgun and a hose. We’d find a nesting hole, put the hose down it, flip on the hydrant, and she’d wait above it with the gun cocked and ready to fire. Of course, by the time the soaked rats came flying out, she missed every one.
But one day, we were in the barn, and she found a rat crawling on a ledge behind the door. She them slammed the door, knocking the rat partially to the ground—half its body was hanging out from underneath the door, the other half was frantically trying to climb back up the wall.
It was then that she took her huge boot and stomped on the back half of the rat, smashing the bottom half of its body. Oh, yeah, and the front half was still alive and trying to climb up the wall–your could hear its eerie little desperate scratches as it frantically tried to get some traction.
“Rip it out! Rip it out!” she started screaming at me.
“What?” I was standing there, just stunned at what had just taken place.
“Grab its tail! Rip it out, so I can finish the job!”
So, she’s yelling at me. I’m looking at the tail, which is the only thing poking out from under her boot, and I lean over and grab it at the base and pull as hard and fast as I can.
The tail stays put. It’s the skin/scales covering the tail that comes sliding off like a cheap pair of pantyhose. (Ugh. I shuttered just now remembering how that felt.)
Anyway, I was totally freaked out by that experience. I think, because I refused to touch the rat again, it actually got away to live its little semi-paralyzed rat experience. But I was marked for life.
Flash forward to today. Well, we have a mouse. After rats, mice are No. 2 on my animal shitlist. I mean, there’s nothing redeeming about these miniature versions of rats—they’re nasty, smell bad, shit all over. Anyone who tries to anthropomorphize these little fuckers is an asshole too. Fuck, I even hate cartoon mice. Mickey, fuck that guy with his whiny-ass voice and his fucking high-wasted red retard pants. (Imagine an asshole picture of Mickey here if I weren’t afraid that Disney would sue me.)
Ok. So, now we have a mouse in our apartment. It was first spied last weekend in the wee morning hours after a party. And this was a ballsy mofo, apparently crawling up on the counter across the stove when there were still people in the room.
Since I’m moving in less than a week, I thought I kinda could give a shit less about this problem. But that all changed with my encounter last night.
I’m sitting there, trying to watch my programs, when I see it. It flies from behind the refrigerator, goes under a cupboard and runs into the other room. Now, I’m pissed. The TV’s loud, I’m pounding away on the keyboard, clearly not done with my time in the living room of the apartment I pay rent for, and this little asshole is just gonna act like he owns the place? No fucking way.
So, I dig out some old mousetraps we have from the last little guy. I pack it with peanut butter and put it right in his favorite little pathway. And I wait.
Sure enough, about 20 minutes later, he comes barreling back through. But wait, what’s this? He sees the trap, stops and retreats. Then cautiously approaches—I can tell he’s caught a whiff and he wants the peanut butter, he wants it bad—then he tears behind the fridge. But I know he’s kinda hiding there, watching it to see if the trap moves. The entire thing reminded me of “Caddy Shack,” and I truly felt that I was about as emotionally stable as Carl at that point.
After another five minutes—he’s a patient, sly one, that mouse—he tears back out, steps right on the motherfucking trap and starts feasting away! I’m sitting there, tensed up, waiting for that thing to snap at any moment. Have you ever watched something that’s like a millimeter away from making a mistake and dying—and it could happen at any time? That’s life on the edge, man. Life on the edge.
Anyway, regardless of my upbringing and my experience with watching animals die, I don’t care much for murdering stuff. So I decided I couldn’t take it if I had to watch that trap snap—it’d be all screaming and crying and shit, and then that mouse would make its way into my dreams. So I went to bed, confident that there’d be a very smooshed, dead mouse in the morning.
I wake up and go upstairs. Roommate Jim has the kitchen torn apart and is cleaning away with some heavy-duty antibacterial spray.
“Is there a dead mouse?” I said, about as excited as a kid on Christmas morning.
“No,” he says. “But there’s fucking mouse shit. Everywhere.”
“Are you kidding me? No dead mouse?”
“Wow, he is a little asshole! I fed him and now he had a good time just shitting all over the place!”
Since this is my second go-round with a satanic New York rodent–the first episode involving a squirrel and my air conditioning unit and some rat poison (a story for another time)–I consider drastic steps. I even think getting an apartment snake might be a good idea.
So, tonight I have reset some traps—multiples—and I’ve done a better job of it. That little asshole better be dead by tomorrow. Or I will stomp him to death with my boots myself.
(Morning update: He’s as smooshed as a mouse can be. I am the champion!)