Monday, September 29, 2008

Rats In The House, Wolves In The Woods

I have a friend we'll call Bob because it's only three letters and easy to type. Bob lives in a nice suburban home and is a kind, friendly American. We've been friends for years and he's always struck me as a font of common sense and decency. Until the past few years that is.

Bob's got rats in his house but for some reason he can't seem to admit it. But he goes on at great length about big, scary wolves in a faraway forest. Not putting too fine a point on it, it strikes me as insane. He invited me to dinner last week and it was a surreal experience.

I got to Bob's at about 7. Bob opened his front door and the unmistakable stench of rodent shit hit me immediately."Whoa! What's that smell, man?", I asked.

"What smell? Can I take your coat?" my host helpfully offered. I gave him my coat and Bob opened the closet door. A large rat scurried from the closet and ran under the couch in the living room.

"Bob, a rat just ran into your living room", I commented.

"What are you talking about?"Bob half-mindedly replied.

We went into the kitchen and two rats were on the counter by the sink eating through a loaf of bread. They didn't budge when we entered the room. Bob got two beers out of the fridge and gave me one. "The wolves ate two chickens and a farmer in Overtheristan yesterday", said Bob. "The wolf problem is getting quite severe. We really need to do something about it before they come here."

A huge crash followed Bob's words as a cabinet above the stove came open and three huge rats fell out fighting over a chocolate bar. They hit the floor and one rat took off into the hallway carrying the bar in its mouth. The other two crammed themselves under the stove. "Bob, you seem to have a real rat problem", I said.

At that, one of the rats on the counter stood up on its hind legs and actually hissed at me. I'd never seen a rat hiss before. It had breadcrumbs hanging from its whiskers and it seemed quite well-fed. At this, Bob made the first and only acknowledgement of the rats that I'd witnessed."Ix-nay on the at-ray alk-tay", Bob said in Pig Latin. "They hate that." He seemed terrified even speaking in Pig Latin about them, but then he went back to being his normal, congenial self after his denial kicked back into gear. "I bought a new rifle the other day. If the wolves come to my door, they'll reap the whirlwind from this American", he said cheerfully.

I have a great affection for my friend, but I had to leave. I'd suddenly noticed the fleas and lice from the rats and thought it healthier for me to remove myself. I hope my friend survives the rats in his house so that he can make his dreamed of stand with the wolf, but I really doubt he'll make it much longer.


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