Sunday, December 26, 2010

What I Didn't Want For Christmas

Here is our couch. On its side. Box spring, pulled from the bedroom. Our belongings, thrown into the middle of the living room. We were robbed on Christmas. On Christmas! And it happened WHILE we were home.

But how did this happen? How did this start? Well, while my back was to the main part of the house, I was talking to Tauni and two of our friends. In mid-sentence, Tauni's face goes pale, her eyes go blank while looking at something behind me, and she let's out a PIERCING SCREAM, which I find a little odd because she doesn't normally do this in the middle of a conversation. So, I am more than a bit perplexed. Then, Tauni's scream is combined with her friend Nina screaming, and finally Nina's boyfriend Barrett screams, too (louder than the two girls combined).

Time always slows in instances like this, and as I turn my head to see what has them all so frightened, I feel like I'm going to see (a) a man with a gun (b) a ghost or (c) a screening of Jennifer Aniston's next film. Each thought clearly more terrifying than the last.

I didn't see any of these things, though. What I did see was a foot-long rat running from our Christmas tree into one of our bedrooms. And then the real fun began.

We go into the guest room to try and scare it out of the house. At this point, we don't want to kill the rat, we simply want to shoo it out of the bedroom, through the living room, and out the front door. We get some flashlights, and start poking around, and notice there is some poop on top of a suitcase in our closet. So, we all get some jobs to do:

My Job: Search in the closet for the rat with Sir Spanks A Lot (my trusty hobby horse).

Barrett's Job: Stand behind me with a broom.

Tauni's Job: Stand behind Barrett with another broom.

Nina's Job: Make sure the top of the kitchen table is ok in the dining room.

Pugs' Job: Be completely oblivious.

I pull out the suitcase, and the rat LEAPS AT ME and then darts under the bed. It's hilarious (now) how my scream led to Barrett's scream, which led to Tauni's scream, which led to Nina's scream (in the other room).

We then pull the mattress off the bed, and investigate one of the split box springs. This box spring has its lining still intact. Nope, not in there! We lift up the next box spring which we discover has no lining, and we watch the rat run around upside down (Inception style) INSIDE the box spring. This is accompanied by Tauni now screaming KILL IT! KILL IT! and Nina going into what I assume is the fetal position on the table in the next room. Don't get me wrong, I am not super stoked to be doing any of this either, but the reactions were CRACKING me up!

We eventually chase the rat into the living room and for the first time in the evening, one of the pugs, Maggie, actually starts to notice: Hey. Something odd is going on here, huh? as she playfully runs after the rat from the bedroom to under the couch (upright at this time) in the living room. Morrie, on the other hand, still has no idea what the Hell is going on. He is just wandering from room to room and periodically looks up at Nina who is living on the kitchen table.

In fact, throughout all our yelling and screaming to get the rat out, neither pug was any help AT ALL. The only thing they chased the entire night? The light from the flashlight. That's it. Basically, they ignored the rat, but we were VERY protected from the evil flashlight light. Thanks, guys!

Anyway, now the rat is in the living room, so we start setting up barricades to force it to go outside. We have a desk blocking our kitchen off, and the box spring blocking the back hallway off. We force it out from under the couch by tipping the couch over, but instead of running OUTSIDE to the free decides to run through our barricade into the kitchen and behind our fridge.


So we get "smarter."

We set up an even BIGGER barricade and now we all get more SPECIFIC jobs to do.

My Job: I get to lunge at the rat with a flashlight and Sir Spanks A Lot and force it towards Barrett.

Barrett's Job: Use a broom to force it through our newly reinforced and barricaded path towards the front door.

Tauni's Job: Say "Kill it! Kill it!" as soon as it runs out.

Nina's Job: Stay on top of the kitchen table.

Pugs' Job: Chase the flashlight light.

We are all set. All the pieces are put into motion; I lunge at the rat, and chase it right towards Barrett. But the rat gets by Barrett and scurries INTO the Christmas tree, to which Tauni exclaims GOD DAMN IT, BARRETT! THAT WAS YOUR ONLY JOB! Classic.

SHIT! again.

So now we get even "smarter!"

We of course make an even BIGGER barricade which now includes multiple boxes, more pieces of turned-over furniture, shoes, etc. You name was part of our impenetrable wall that was guaranteed to force this rat outside through the front door. There was nowhere for it to go once we got it out of the tree. We were SO SURE!

So again, we get more jobs:

My job: I get to take Sir Spanks A Lot and shake the tree and break some ornaments.

Barrett's Job: Stand on a chair and shake the top of the tree and break a curtain rod.

Tauni's Job: Glare at Barrett and me and scream KILL IT! KILL IT!

Nina's Job: Protect the top of the kitchen table.

Pugs' Job: Eat some dinner.

So, I shake the tree, the rat again LEAPS out....jumps onto Barrett (he screams), darts past Tauni (who completed her task of screaming KILL IT! KILL IT!...and even threw in some FUCKING KILL ITs for good measure) and under the kitchen table where a silent Nina was grappling with reality. At this point, she was just rocking. Silently rocking.

But somehow, someway, the rat found a HOLE in our "impenetrable barricade" and runs BACK into the hall instead of running outside....and ends up in our very well-loved (and not well-cleaned) office. Now we are truly fucked. We look around for it, and chase it around a bit, but there is no way we can get it for a number of reasons:

(1) We clearly suck at making barricades.

(2) We have failed at getting this thing out of our house for over an hour and now it is in our most cluttered room of our house.

(3) We are fucking idiots.

So, at about midnight on Christmas evening, Tauni and I make a sorrowful trek to a 24 hour CVS to buy a mousetrap. We don't want to do this...but at this point, Tauni is ready to sleep in her car. We get some peanut butter (which could kill me AND the rat), set a couple of traps, close the door, and figure he'll be dead by morning.


The only thing we find in the morning are two unsprung traps sans peanut butter. This rat is WAY too smart for us.

SHIT yet again!

Alas, I wish I could say this story ends well for our rat friend. But it doesn't. We ended up buying some better traps...and well, you can use your imagination.

But we were indeed robbed on Christmas, maybe even held hostage. For about twenty hours our dignity was taken away by a foot-long rat who taught me a couple very valuable lessons: I have no idea how to make a real barricade and I am NOTHING without my hobby horse.


Brandi said...

Hilarious! You have such a gift when it comes to writing.

Lori said...

Oh Mark! I can't breathe! My stomach hurts from laughing so hard! This has to be one of the funniest and best told stories I know. I cannot WAIT to share it.

Raj said...

I went to this blog directly after having a similar experience with a rat just cruising in through the front door (I assume.. how else would he get in?).. After much yelping and screaming by all, we get the courage to start moving boxes and furniture and... the bastard pulled a Houdini.. No idea where he went.. So, up into the attic to go check the live traps I'd set last summer and move them downstairs.. Gross out #1: The trap isn't where I'd left it.. ANNNND, dead rat in it (who clearly got mummified by the summer heat..).. And, the other trap? Another dead rat.. ICK... Might I mention, it's 9pm on a Saturday night and I have to wake up early on Sunday to take students to day 2 of a Model UN competition.. So, after much swearing (I think I have stress-induced Tourette's..), we have two live traps waiting for Houdini.. Hoping it works.. EEK.