Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Fourth Roommate, part 2

Yay! You came back. Settle in for part two of my mousy tale (background and part 1 here), in which I confront Pittsburgh rodents of usual size.

The Fourth Roommate (part 2)

Then came that fateful Saturday, the day Oswald made one fatal error. Tina moseyed into the kitchen, pausing as usual to make sure our buddy wasn’t underfoot, when she noticed that her hamburger buns on the shelf seemed unusually moldy -- odd, since she had eaten a fine one the day before.

She grabbed at the bag, only to hear the mold squeak and watch it fall three feet to the floor. So while I did not witness Oswald’s escape, I did experience the glass-shattering shriek that followed it.

Tina stormed into the family room.

“That’s it! The little fucker’s dead!”

Grossed out beyond belief, I echoed her cry for blood. And it was then I realized that one-on-one contact is all it takes to turn a person from St. Francis of Assisi into a sissy.

By nightfall we positioned traps like so many lethal bunkers throughout the kitchen. Though I certainly didn’t want Oswald to infect my groceries with any Third-World strains, I had lingering doubts about such a cheesy, snappy demise. How could his one foray onto a shelf so quickly dissolve my pacifist stance?

I suddenly acknowledged a cold, hard truth about myself: I didn’t want Oswald to live for his sake. I just didn’t want to have to touch his broken, lifeless body. Eeeewww.

When I, the murdering hypocrite, awoke the next morning, the sprung trap, missing cheese, and tightly tied trash bag imparted a sorrowful tale. Tina soon confirmed that Oswald had indeed “passed on” via a 79-cent trap from Target, and that she herself had performed the funeral rites, i.e. picking him up by the tail and tossing him in the trash.

I tried rationalizing his death -- it’s more hygienic this way, he took advantage of our mercy, we’re higher up on the food chain -- but I only felt gloomier. My little buddy was gone, victim to a modern culture far removed from natural elements. Oswald’s passing laid bare our species’ bullying arrogance. I was not sad, but rather, ashamed.

So you’d think Oswald’s death/murder had awakened my true Mother Nature instincts. Well, tonight as I was eating dinner, I once again caught movement in the kitchen corner. Sure enough, Oswald’s ghost -- or brother or sister or girlfriend -- sniffed its way around the corner. Vengeance from beyond the grave (or from the nest under the oven).

Again, I did not panic. Instead, I reached for my cell phone.

“Hi, Rob? It’s Julia. Yeah, we’re gonna need that exterminator after all...”

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