Sunday, October 16, 2016
Garden of Rats (2011, Lima, Peru)
My life, as a poet, more so in my latter years than younger one, but throughout my life all the same—my first poem being at the age of twelve, then in High School, they published two of my poems in their newspaper—if charted as precisely as one can, it has become a fever, having highs and lows and definite cycles in writing. But of course I didn’t know that that would be the case in my life, as I lived it. I wrote adventure stories, mysteries, plays, skits, tales, novels, on just about any and everything, in every genre, solely for self-flagellation—or long locomotion’s of thoughts.
This story is about rats. Some tall, some slender, perhaps some a little silver-haired, neither black nor white, but rather pale grey, rum color, perhaps from the sewerage where they came from.
During the course of one afternoon I counted several one foot rats in my wife’s front garden, a few larger; not like those huge monster rats that hang out along the Mississippi bluffs, but rats all the same. My wife had told me many curious things, where they had appeared in her garden off and on for weeks, and digging holes everywhere. She also told me, how in the mornings her garden was filled with disruption.
From the top of our patio roof I looked down into her garden from a height of about twenty feet or so, dropped a brick trying to hit one grey rat on the head, and missed him by a few inches, and he simply strolled away, like a night-flying moth.
“They’re invading my garden, they must be coming from the park across the street,” she exclaimed to me, in near panic.
If anyone in the world hates rates, it is she, they don’t seem to bother me so much. Anyhow I said, “Yes, of course I believe you.” But why to our house, asked my mind’s eye?
So saying, I hired a plumber to dig up the garden, knowing our sewage pipe was underground somewhere thereabouts. Within a few days the whole garden was dug up, and sure enough, the hard plastic sewage pipes were eaten through by rats, gradually having a way to and from the park or who knows where, but a nest of them in our garden.
I am looking out one of our windows into the front garden, we also have a back house garden, no rats there. A rat appears from the open pipe that has been eaten through, a big, big hole, I get my movie camera take a movie of him, even snap a picture of him, then I get my 38 Special, and aim it at him, my wife is gone so I got the solution, she’s a tinge sensitive in this area, but she’d not stop me one way or another, the old Irish and Russian blood you know. Well, the rat wasn’t one bit skittish looking at me looking at him with my 38 Special; he looked me straight in the eyes with his ebon dark devilish exploring black holes.
‘Bring it on,’ I think he was saying, as if he belonged to the ISIS.
Now I’m a pretty good shot (or so I used to be), I got five guns, but I think this rat had a demon in him, indeed, it seems so strange he’d just stare at me as if knowing I’d miss. But how could I miss at five feet. I had to aim the gun through iron bars that were on the window, and I aimed towards those haunted eyes of the rat, and I said to the rat, “This is your last time in daylight” and ‘POW!’ The bullet came out of the chamber of the gun like gangbusters, and boomeranged an inch from his neck, if you can call it a neck, and never even put a hole in the plastic pipe. And what’s he do, he turns about, like a movie star, and trots off, back into the deeper part of the pipe.
I thought about that for a long while, a bit intimidating, it was perhaps five years ago, which would have made me, sixty-four, was I losing my aim? Or was he a ghost rat! I guess it doesn’t matter, the plumber put in new pipes, and now they can swim all they want from corner to corner to, or to the park, in the sewage, and come up in someone else’s cracked pipes.
Incidentally, they never did return.