Drowning A Rat

Drowning A Rat

Every year, late in the fall or early in the winter, the field mice would come in from the cold. When the house was quiet you could hear them scratching and scampering in the walls. My father, feeder of birds and squirrels was content to ignore them. After all, they don't eat much. One year, they chewed a hole in the drop ceiling and if you sat quietly in the kitchen, the mouse would stick his head out and contemplate you for a moment. But when evidence of their trespass appeared on the countertops, Mom would step in and the traps would be set.

As a young adult, I was living in a 22 room Victorian home in Dorchester, MA., with a bunch of people. When I moved in we all shared the small, contemporary kitchen on the first floor. Initially, this was fine but as one might expect we all had a different threshold of pain for cleanliness. One resident actually thought it necessary to clean the crumbs from the toaster after every use.

House meetings became dreaded affairs with expectation of further ranting on the state of the kitchen. It was decided to clean out the large, though antiquated country style kitchen in the basement that had defaulted to a storage room. The less fussy among us would conduct our culinary affairs well removed from the sight of the compulsively obsessed.

Fall segued to winter and all was well until we began to observe the telltale evidence of rodents in the downstairs kitchen. Mousetraps were set.

I came home from work one day and went to the kitchen for something to eat. Yes, I was one of the banished. As I rounded the corner from the stairs I heard the scurrying of one of our illegals. I entered the kitchen expecting the fugitive to return to hiding. The noise continued. I looked to where the trap had been set but there was no trap to be seen. The noise continued. I bent down and looked in the direction of the sound and there behind the stove was our interloper. And to my surprise, this was not the expected field mouse but a full fledged, welcome to urban living rat!

The mousetrap had sprung, capturing one of the rat’s rear legs, possibly breaking it but I was disinclined to perform triage. Hampered by the rodent sized ball and chain, the rat could not depart via the same route he had arrived and was at my mercy.

So, what to do? There was no weapon of rat destruction in the house that would allow me to expediently dispatch him from a respectable distance. Perhaps a blunt object, a hammer or a two by four. This would undoubtedly result in rat anatomy being deposited on various surfaces that would then require cleaning. I could impale him with a sharp object but this shared the obvious drawbacks of option number two.

The kitchen was located next to the laundry area complete with a large set tub. I decided that I would drown him. I got a large pail, a broom and a dustpan with a long handle. I captured the rat between broom and the dustpan and using them like an oversized set of barbecue tongs, I deposited the rat in the pail. Using the back end of the broom handle, I lifted the bucket and placed it in the set tub. I maneuvered the bucket under the faucet and turned on the water allowing the bucket to fill about two thirds of the way. I peered into the bucket. The rat was swimming!

I concluded that I would have to hold him under. I found a board nearby and attempted to force him beneath the surface. This guy must have a gold medal from the rat Olympics, boy could he swim. A couple of times I managed to pin him against the side and force him under but each time he wriggled free. What to do, what to do.

I spotted a string mop, one of the old fashioned kind that you see sailors use in the movies. I plunged the mop into the bucket and pushed down. Ah success, at last the rat was submerged. I held my breath, thinking the rat probably couldn't hold his breath any longer than I could. I was turning blue. I exhaled and removed the mop. Damn rat was still swimming and probably laughing at me. I replaced the mop in the bucket. What had started as an exercise in humane euthanasia had morphed into a tortuous execution.

I looked around until I found a heavy object small enough to fit in the pail. I maneuvered the mop until I was sure the rat was effectively ensnared and placed the heavy object on the mop, forcing it to the bottom. I watched, hoping to see bubbles signaling his last dying breath. No bubbles, but no swimming rat either. Exhausted, I returned to the kitchen and sat contemplating the thought that even despicable vermin, a lowly rat has an unquenchable will to live.

After twenty minutes or so, I removed the mop and the heavy object. The rat appeared, floating, not swimming, extinguished at last. I drained off the water and carried the pail outside, where, unceremoniously I consigned the rat to the garbage.

I put on my coat and headed for the hardware store. I bought a bigger trap.

danicpa68   danicpa68 wrote
on 4/24/2008 6:29:18 PM
Oh my sounds like a frightful experience.

Mike Firesmith   Mike Firesmith wrote
on 4/19/2008 4:58:26 PM
Mickey? YOU KILLED MICKEY???? OOOOOOOHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Okay, it was funny.

lindsay   lindsay wrote
on 4/19/2008 3:23:57 PM
I feel bad for the rat but that is a funny story

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Adventures in pest control.
A Word from the Writer
This is a true story.
Published Date
2/26/2006 12:00:00 AM
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