Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Most Rats Die Outdoors

Splayed over the living room rug, like a toad awaiting vivisection, I peer into the long lost corners of my living room floor. A world of perpetual dusk, doomed since the straddle of furniture over it. Evidently, few have ventured here, even less set sight upon. An ecosystem unspoilt by broom or mop, the natural mustiness makes this home to creatures that send my spouse on hysterical shrieking spells.

I might have liked to mention that, precisely in those moments, she resembled a teenage groupie tickled by the sight of a favourite movie star. Replace spider/rat/lizard with Pitt/Cruise/Hanks. You get the picture. But then, discretion being the better part of humour, I desist. Being of the tactical bend of mind, the better half opts to booby-trap every nook with rat-kill. That sure went well. That is, save for a tell-tale whiff of eau de rat, source unknown.

 Thus, the man of the house finds himself on the front, more like a Private doing Dubya’s bidding in Iraq. Ducking dust bunnies and stray cobwebs, a flashlight in one hand, broom in the other. Vainly hoping to sweep darkness and dust away in equal measure. The beam rolls on, leaving the dust bunnies at the mercy of a sideways punt/drag onto a scoop. The scent gets stronger. Now the space ensconced at the junction of long sofa & ornate bureau sees light. 

A rather tidy dust bunny catches my eye. Almost immediately, a near blinding burst of stench catches my senses. Eyes water. It burns like a punch to my nose. An expert turn of my battle axe follows. Stubborn. One more, as I try and inch closer. Just then, the supposed bunny spins around to face me. Resting on my chin means the jaw may drop no more. I manage a gasp. For at that point it was as if I was the one stunned by the light; a reddish reflection from the twin headlights of the rodent. 
Now, I am all for chores, and small rodents, especially the stuffed variety. But I never bargained on an animal safari of this sort while serving mandatory weekend husbandry. 

Another prod, but not before I’d worked on my posture. No longer prone, I was up on one knee, upper body contorted to level with the rat. In this advantageous position, flight was not an option, it was reassuringly guaranteed. But it still seemed all of this counted for no more than a rub down for the little punk.

As I lower myself to take another look, a dull grey fur ball whizzes past, bisecting the living room and headed for the farthest corner. Didn’t miss by much, the broom doubling as projectile. Expertly launched from the commanding heights of the nearest chair, attained a fraction of second earlier. I disembark, go the other way, hoping to take the animal (on a hunt, remember) by surprise. Or at least, leave enough space to bolt, just in case.

I need not have bothered. At the doorway to the next room, a little away from the curtains, Mon. Rat lay in repose, a slow tremor of the feet as the poison finally caught up. Its last gasp spent in the rush from darkness to light. Way to go, Sundance Kid.

Long after the body is interred to trash, I carefully put away the tools of the trade. As I dispatch the rat-kill to the top shelf, I spy a helpful hint on the carton: "Most rats die outdoors"


Blogger Himanshu said...

U r too good baba... hey u havent written nthg about Lagos... its been so long tht u back...

November 24, 2010 8:45 PM  
Blogger Me & Ro said...

"You write so well". I can copy paste this comment on every post of yours. :-)
Do you edit it after writing? Or does it come out final, the first time you put fingers-to-keypad?

December 09, 2010 4:44 AM  
Blogger Naresh Krishnan said...

Thank you very much. Means a lot coming from you.

Well, it does take some editing. But mostly the first draft goes through..

December 09, 2010 10:18 AM  
Blogger Me & Ro said...

More, please!

February 10, 2011 3:52 AM  

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