here they be rodents, a brief chapter

Last night at about 10 PM I came downstairs and a rat ran out from under my computer desk. What amazed me was how quickly my mind reacted to this sighting. It was like slow-motion, but all in a millisecond, and I could identify each and every thought that raced through my brain.

First, my mind immediately identified the creature correctly as a big fucking rat. This always amazes me, how quickly our brain can identify something that was unexpected or not supposed to be there. Of course, this identification process is primal in nature and carries no emotional content – leaving me to have several other reactions before my feelings kicked in. So secondly, I noticed that the creature looked quite healthy, almost glossy, and I thought, “Someone’s been taking care of this thing!” Then I thought, “Great, we probably have gross rat shit in our house. At the very least, I’m going to be hearing those creepy pitter-pat sounds at night.” The fourth thing that occurred to me was, “OK. This is gross. I am so dismayed there is a rat in my home.” And finally, since my thought process was happening so quickly, I had time to muse to myself, “I could try to catch it, right now, as it is just now making a break for it.” But I stood there and watched the vile little thing instead.

After the rat had startled, balked, and darted around the room and behind the dryer, I finally had time to get a good shudder of revulsion in. I peered into the corner where the rat had run off. Great, I thought. Now we’ll have to get some traps or some damn thing. Two minutes later my husband came downstairs and I told him, “I just saw a rat down here.” I’m showing him where the rat ran and then, from our attic, our cat lazily strolls down.

I’m not going to lie. I said a few nasty, sarcastic remarks about our fat, shiny-pelted fed-on-cream cat’s indolence as she pauses in the rec room to look at us, seemingly not giving a damn nor doing her job when it comes to aliens of the creepy rodent nature. I had a good laugh at her expense. “You suck, Blackie.” Then, rodent issues aside, Ralph and I performed our various to-bed rituals and settled down to bed for the night.

At about 11:00 PM, less than an hour later as I’m just drifting off, I hear a thump from somewhere in the house and my eyes spring open. “Ralph,” I say (“Ralph!” echoes the now-awake Sophie in between us), “Would you go check that out?” My husband slides out of bed and down the hall and I hear him go downstairs. A few moments later I hear the back door open and close. Then he’s back. “Blackie caught the rat.” He says. “It was lying in the middle of the floor downstairs, dead.” Then, “You owe that cat an apology,” he says, as an afterthought.

The sad thing is, I know he’s right.

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