What’s the Edgar Allen Poe story about the heart beating through the floorboard so he tells on himself? He just couldn’t stand the tick-tick-ticking. Tell Tale Heart. That’s it. I remember now.
I understand it too. Let me explain.
Its been a rough week for rodents around our house. We will start with the tragic tale of the rabbit. Appropriate because we are on the eve of Good Friday which means only three days until an immortal anthropomorphic do-gooder sneaks in and leaves shredded paper and chocolates all over my fucking house. Why do we do the fake grass? Can we not?
Back on track. The rabbit.
Four o’clock in the morning last Sunday morning. Judy Cornbread is barking at something near the carport entry door. I wander out into the darkness in boxers and a pair of camo crocks. I know this because my Ring doorbell recorded it. In all its glorious detail. Bigfoot is blurry but my side pudge and back hair somehow really pops in monochrome. If I get robbed by a chubby naked guy don’t worry, that ring doorbell will yield some of the clearest evidence the police ever receive.
What it also recorded was a pair of German Shepherd dogs that were trying to destroy the rabbit cage. They knocked it over and shredded the roof to pieces. The bunny was covered in water and dirt and they were trying so very hard to get through the wire. I grabbed a nearby military grade assault broom and cocked it. I flew into action like a ninja. The dogs ran away but the damage was done. Our bunny was broken. We pampered the quadriplegic cottontail for a little while hoping to nurse him back to health by regenerating neurons with fistfuls of hope but in a moment we weren’t paying attention that trickster flopped over; dead as a hammer.
We held a goodbye ceremony and burial in the backyard. He was buried like a king, in a Walmart sack inside a Steve Madden shoe box.
But life woes comes in threes. So let’s talk about the prairie dogs.
First, I’ll set the stage a bit. One of the first pets that I wanted when I was twelve was a prairie dog. Like, I really really wanted one. I was going to build a giant network of pvc pipes and watch them do prairie dogs shit. All. Day. Long. I needed a prairie dog.
Fast forward and I’m a late thirties man who realized that my mother could no longer tell me no and I had just finished a whiskey tasting so I was full on confidence. Supermom showed me a lady online who rescued the baby PDs and adopted them out. I immediately gave the “make-it-rain” hand motion and told my shopping sugar mama to “buy two”. And she did because when the hell do I ever suggest an animal? Strike while the iron is hot!
So we became prairie dog owners. Two boys. Nigel and Johnathan Brisby. Two proper little gentlemen. For a while it was bliss but that bliss ended this last Monday…
I walked out into the sunroom to the enclosure and I noticed something was off. The smell was akin to potting soil and the inside of a deer after it is field dressed. Dead for sure but not rotten. Just gross.
I look around for my boys and I only see Brisby. He is covered in dried blood. He is also fat. Like extra fat from the normal obese that he usually carries around. He is chewing on a piece of food and staring at me.
My mind probes the situation.
“But where is Nigel?
And what are those pieces of wood and cloth scattered on the floor of the cage? Looks like pieces of popsicle sticks. Oh wait.
Is that a foot? That’s definitely a foot.
Holy Shit Brisby! You ate your brother!”
I realize that I’m not only smelling death. I’m smelling murder and cannibalism. It is earthy and coppery and a little like uncooked steaks. I have to leave the room. One of my pets has eaten an entire other one of my pets.
That murderous rat killed and ate his brother in under 24 hours. Dedication. He had a glint in his eye that I hadn’t seen before. A darkness swirling around a shiny blade. He knew that since he had consumed his brother so quickly that he would hold his life energy for a short time. He knew that he had to take advantage of wielding the power of two prairie dogs to escape from his cage and rule the world under his furry iron fist. I knew that he could no longer be trusted. Before I could even mourn the loss of Nigel I was plotting the death of his killer.
We are all tough until the real work is staring us in the face; demanding to be done. I tried to find sympathy and reason behind those beady black eyes and those teeth stained a light tinge of red. I knew my friend was gone. I knew what I had to do. Supermom called to let me know that she would be home soon with the children. They weren’t ready for more loss. I had to move quickly.
How do you euthanize a murderous zombie rodent humanely? Nothing.
*Thinks of scenarios*
Poison? Too slow.
Shotgun? Too loud.
Hammer? Too splattery.
Zip Tie? Too edgy and dark.
Tiny noose and a decent paperweight tied to his little ankles? Too tedious.
Put him in a Walmart sack and windmill him hard into the pavement? Too… maybe, I’ll circle back…
Electric chair for fairies? You get the point.
In the end, I did the thing that had to be done. Maybe. Don’t judge. He scared me.
Who am I? Pragmatist? Madman? Veterinarian?
I then placed his warm body and what was left of his brother’s rib cage into a garbage bag and placed it by the curb. It was promptly picked up the next morning. No burial. No eulogy. Only a nod to the garbage man as he passed.
I’ve only told one of the kids. She asked if I had a picture. WTF?
And none of this is the sad part.
As I watched the truck pull away I realized that in the short span of two days we had lost three of our beloved pets. And fucking Jasper is STILL ALIVE. Thanks Biden.
Oh yeah, apparently Judy Cornbread watched the events through the sliding glass door. I don’t know if dogs understand everything that goes on but I’ll tell you this… she has been a more responsive dog for the past week.
If you are a heartless monster, this post is for you. How could you?! You know what you did. The truth has weighed heavy on me so I submit it here. My confession. You’re welcome.
-Underdaddy to the rescue.