Have I ever mentioned I hate rats? In fact when I think about rats and cats together, I would have to say I love cats in comparison to a rat. And, it is a proven fact I do not love cats.
“There it was again, what was that? Did you see it? I think it was a squirrel eating Cyrano’s dog food.” My curiosity getting the best of me I climbed up onto the kitchen counter and peeked down at my dog’s bowl. There is was a huge wharf rat, probably a good 4 or 5 lbs, filling his stomach.
Quietly, I tilled open the window. Eased off the counter and in just a heart beat or two I was back. My 22 cal. pistol in my hand loaded for bear – I mean rat. My selected load was two rounds of bird shot in a magnum casing. Easing back up onto the counter I peered out, nothing. The horrid creature had disappeared, it was gone. Patiently, I waited gun in hand. My bride of two years sat curiously watching me.
“You aren’t planning on shooting that are you? Have you forgotten we live in the city and that is like go to jail illegal?” Putting my finger to my lips, “Shhhh...” I attempted to hush her. I knew the legality of discharging a firearm in the city limits – do you think I cared about the law at moment like this? There was a rat eating my dog’s dog food in the back yard! Stealth, quiet and patience were required. A few minutes passed waiting. Here it came, the devil himself sneaking along on four quick legs his long creepy tail dragging and swaying behind him as he stayed in the shadows next to the foundation of my house. I waited…. closer…waited….closer…waited….took careful aim, the adrenalin was really beginning to pump. BANG!!
Dang…I only wounded it. He was heading back the way it had come, dragging its hind legs. Out the front door I went in a full sprint, barefooted. I headed around the house, grabbed my shovel as I rounded the corner and there we met. A meeting, called to order by my shovel. The adrenalin now fully engaged was affecting my aim. I swung that shove down hard totally missing the rat. He stood on its back legs hissing a horrible demonic scream at me. Again the shovel came down adjusting my aim and giving it a glancing blow. Now the fight was on. The screeching grew louder the shovel was a blur of up and down hacks as the rat move left then right. One of out of every five attempts met its target. But the rat was moving in on me. Terror gripped me as my poor unprotected bare feet were becoming vulnerable. I backed away hacking desperately. Left then right, in desperation one of my heaves stopped the attack. Again and again I hit at the rat being sure his demise was permanent.
Finally, it was over. My legs were shaking badly making it hard to walk. Leaving the rat where he lay. Weakly I hobbled back to the front door where my wife stood with an alarmed look on her face. I felt a little dizzy my whole body was shaking as the adrenalin began to subside. After several minutes to collect myself and to give a very hyper rendition of the blow by blow encounter. Shoes were now well laced and I went to bury the creepy creature. Still, not sure it was dead I poked at it with my shovel. It was indeed dead. I picked him up with my shovel. My original estimate of size was accurate. His head hung off one side and its back legs hung off the other the tail dragged the ground to where I placed him deep in the soft dirt in the far corner of the garden.
I had hunted and shot, deer, bear and mountain goat but none of them had given me such a fright as that rat. Did I happen to mention I hate rats?