Biff America: The revenge of the rat-creature
Vail, CO Colorado
“Jeffrey Bergeron died in a fiery crash last week when, while driving, an enraged squirrel crawled up his pant leg, causing him to lose control of his vehicle and ram a propane truck. A memorial honoring Mr. Bergeron will be held in a very small room allowing all of his friends to attend. His grieving wife Ellen will be there after
As far fetched as it might sound, that might have been the opening paragraph of my obituary – how embarrassing.
My buddy Craig is infested with rodents – not his body (that I know of) but his basement. Not only has a squirrel taken up residence next to the water heater, but to add insult to injury, it is an aggressive rat-creature that barks belligerently whenever he has the nerve to enter the subterranean parts of his home.
The basement is constricted, with electric and gas lines making hunting the squirrel with firearms a poor choice. Moreover, my bud didn’t agree with my suggestion of poison (being the Christmas season and all), so we decided to trap it. FYI, if any of you have rodent issues, you can go to your local animal shelter and rent a “have a heart” trap for a nominal fee.
The shelter gave us precise instructions how to bait the trap with a tablespoon of peanut butter for best results. Craig was concerned about the saturated fat content of peanuts, so he opted for organic almond butter, which is more expensive and tastes worse.
Also, my pal was worried that, once trapped, the rat would have to spend some time incarcerated before discovery, perhaps getting hungry. So, along with the bait, he stocked the trap with a buffet of cashews, crackers and cheese.
For a week, the squirrel never got past the appetizers to make it to the almond butter located on the trigger, which would close the door and catch him. There was a worry that, after a week of overeating, the squirrel would not fit into the cage.
I was checking the trap most days while Craig worked. I’d go down into the basement to find the trap un-sprung and the squirrel lying next to it, bloated. When I approached the cage the rat would violently chirp at me; it seems being well-fed did not help his attitude.
It was the day before Christmas, Craig was working and I had just finished skiing when I decided to check the trap. I went down in the basement to find one trapped and infuriated rodent.
When I approached the cage, it threw itself against the bars, reaching out a paw trying to scratch me. The stairs out of the basement are steep, rickety and difficult to negotiate wearing ski boots and carrying an irate squirrel.
I placed the cage in the back of my car and hoped to drive to some wooded section of town, where I could release the critter and not get bitten.
I drove about a hundred yards when I looked in my rear-view mirror to find the prisoner reaching through the bars trying to release the catch. I stopped to secure the latch, and the rogue leaped at the door and tried to bite me. While I was driving, the vicious squirrel kept chirping and shaking the cage. It then dawned on me if this animal escaped in my car, I was a dead man. There was no way I could operate a vehicle safely while fighting off a squirrel.
I knew if I were that rodent, and I escaped, the first thing I would do was run up the pant legs of my capture and eat my way out.
As luck would have it, a park was nearby. Though I would have liked to relocate the rodent to the wild, a park was the next best thing.
Admittedly, I was shaken and perhaps not thinking clearly. But since I had been skiing and had protection, I put it all on; I walked into the center of the park wearing a helmet, ski gloves and goggles while carrying the quaking cage.
When I opened the door, the squirrel bolted out, ran about 10 feet, turned and looked at me with hate.
I think we both realized, at the same time, that it was a dog park.
With one last look over its shoulder, as if to say, “You bastard!” it sprinted through a pack of dogs. By the time the dogs realized their good fortune, the squirrel was gone.
Call me paranoid, but I took the long way home in case I was being followed.
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be seen on TV-8-Summit and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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