Wednesday, April 1, 2015


             At work the other day a few of us were engaged in a discussion about vermin. Oh yes, a highly intellectual lot we are. But, you see, there had been reports of a weasel running loose in one of the older areas of the original building and we were wondering if it was better to let it run wild and free or try to catch and release it somewhere.
            “Better a weasel than a rat or a mouse”, said I, “and we’re not raising chickens out here so where’s the harm?”
Sidebar here: FYI-a weasel will kill a rat twice its size…just for the fun of it, too, and if you don’t believe me Google “rat vs weasel” and there’s a You Tube video showing the whole nasty ordeal. Yuck. I had to watch the whole thing, though. Sorry…I digress.
Anyway, we got to talking about which creature would make us jump up in a chair and squeal like a little gir…what’s politically correct here? Squeal like someone extremely scared of scurrying things? Whatever… “As long as it’s not a snake”, said one co-worker; “To me, it’s spiders” said another; “Bats creep ME out”, was another reply; “I’m moving to Antarctica”, said someone else, “there are no vermin there at all and I can’t stand any of them! Rat, mouse, snake, bird, lizard…whaterver…ewwww.”
I’m going to go with rats. I hate ‘em. Back in my “farmin’” days I was tasked with the duty of repairing the rat damage in the old wooden bins on my brother-in-law Maurice’s farm. I couldn’t refuse because the upside was that I got to drive his ’48 Ford ½ Ton up and down the dirt roads while I went from field to field, yard to yard, bin to bin fixing the holes and what 16-17-year-old wouldn’t jump at that kind of opportunity? I knew while I was cutting and tarring and nailing the creepy, nasty varmints were this close to me. I am shivering thinking about it now.
It wasn’t like there was a large infestation of the things but there was enough evidence around to know that they were there. One time, though, we noticed that there seemed to be a bit more activity in and around the chicken coop in the barn. Along with bin repairs I was assigned watering and feeding the stupid chickens, which also kind of creep me out, so I was getting it double when I had to go in there.
I complained that I didn’t want to go into the coop any more so Maurice and his brother, Brent, who was my age, decided that they’d take matters into their own hands and began devising a plan to eradicate the rats. Or, at the very least, make a dint in their numbers. The plan was taking shape as the level of the Lemon Hart rum bottle was being lowered and the lower the rum got the better the plan became. Or so we thought.
Out to the barn we go…three brave souls, .22 rifle in Brent’s hand…flashlight taped to the barrel, another flashlight in Maurice’s hand and me along for moral support. It’s dark and we’re going to quietly sneak into the barn and then throw the flashlights on catching the scurrying little devils by surprise and Brent’ll pick ‘em off with the gun. Great plan.
Brent is holding the gun and Maurice is supposed to click the flashlight attached to the barrel of the rifle on at the same time as the one he’s got in his hand but, being the jokester that he is, and mostly drunk, he decides it would be great fun to run his fingers up Brent’s pant leg instead. Another great plan. NOT!
Brent screams and drops the rifle and nearly tramples me running out of the barn and Maurice is laughing so hard he can’t even turn the flashlight on and I’m just screaming ‘cause I have no idea what’s going on but it can’t be good and they’re leaving me behind in the pitch black chicken/rat coop. We’re all scrambling and screaming and slipping in the hay and fleeing the barn like the Three Stooges and we don’t stop ‘til we’re at the house a few hundred yards away, huffin’ and puffin’ and laughing so hard it hurts.
Good old Red Neck fun! Firearms ‘n booze. A nasty combination. We are soooo lucky nobody took a bullet that night. The rats had a good laugh, too, I’m sure.
The RM Pest Control Officer was called in to take care of the rats properly and I gave the chicken coop a wide birth for a few days while Maurice did the chores as penance for his shenanigans. Good times…good times.
I couldn’t find an appropriate rat quote so I’m going to go with this one-
“I hate rats.”-Perry Hubbard (1956-).

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