A New Life In A New Land, Chapter 10 … A CAT, A RAT AND A NEW BORN SON, Part 2

A long reach is of distinct advantage

Caliope’s long reach gave her a big advantage in her fight-to-the-death struggle with the rat. But he was simply to big for her to bring down. Soon the fray turned into a bizarre boxing match in which she’d thrust, jab and parry with open claws, and the rat would hiss and wait in a contest that went on and on and on and on.

Not wanting to take my eyes off this hideous creature in case it somehow escaped to a hiding place in another room of the house … like Joey’s nursery that we’d so lovingly prepared … I stood spellbound like a statue watching the ordeal for a good half-hour until I finally pulled up a chair and sat down.

Then I sat and I sat and I sat and I sat!

“This could go on all damned night!” I concluded after a couple of hours had passed. I decided I needed to do something about it … but what? I sure didn’t want to get between those two, after all, cat’s claws and rat’s teeth aren’t to be taken lightly. Also, importantly, I didn’t want Caliope to get the idea that fighting rats wasn’t her job. Nope, I certainly didn’t want that!

Then it struck me … “Dad’s rifle!”

Thanks Dad!

I ran upstairs covering three or 4 steps with each bound. I located my father’s ancient .22 caliber rifle, grabbed a box of shells and practically leapt all the way down the dozen or so stairs to the kitchen! I hadn’t shot the rifle for years, but as I remembered, it was as accurate as a plumb line.

I dropped a shell in the breech. I locked the bolt. I laid down prostrate on the floor about six feet from the rat. I took careful aim at its shoulders and waited. I waited to get it just right! Then, when Caliope took a swipe at the rodent, I fired!

The rat fell dead instantly … he didn’t know what hit him. Neither did Caliope who, astonished, sat back to carefully examine the paw that had delivered the fatal blow. She extended and looked thoughtfully at each claw as if it belonged to a stranger. Then, satisfied it was hers, and that it was she who had killed the rat, she launched into one of the most fascinating victory celebrations I’ve ever witnessed … a complete re-enactment of the entire battle from beginning to end. She jumped out of the drawer, ran through the cups and such until she finally reached the cabinet where the carcass of her foe lay dead.

She hooked it with a paw in it and tossed it. She tossed it over and over and over until she’d contaminated the entire kitchen that earlier that day had been hospital clean!

Twas a monumental mess!

I let her have her moment of glory without interruption. After all, she’d saved the day! Finally, when she exhibited signs of tiring, I scooped-up the rat and tossed it out the back window, in the direction from which it most likely came. That at least that would keep his mates away for the winter … which proves, as they say, it’s an ill wind that blows no one good!

Then it was back to cleaning! By three a.m. I’d finished scrubbing and washing and retrieved Sundance from his exile in the basement. I hit the sack with a satisfying thud … emotionally drained and physically spent.

I slept like a log until five a.m. when a phone call jarred me awake! Those were days when phones were connected to walls by wires, so, half asleep, I lept from the bed to grab the phone and my foot landed in something I knew felt like it really shouldn’t be there. I looked down and saw a scummy, fecal slurry sluicing between my toes.

I opened my eyes as wide as eggs and looked in utter astonishment. I saw excrement everywhere! Over the bedroom floor, all around the front room carpet, couch and coffee table! OMG! What in the …! And then I saw my good buddy Sundance cowering in a corner. The poor bugger blamed himself for my stupidity! In all the excitement of the cat vs. rat ruckus, I’d forgotten to let him outside for his evening toilet!

“Of all the …” I thought as I brought the phone to my ear, “Oh, hi hon. Oh, you just got Joey for his first morning feeding. How nice! That’s wonderful, just wonderful! Oh, here? Oh no problem here. No, none at all,” I said with all the sincerity of an politician while silently surveying the disaster that faced me.

“What a mess! What a bloody mess you idiot!” I silently scolded myself as I got the cleaning gear out … again!

Like I said, there’s a wide variety in the “special” moments we encounter in life, a very big and unexpected variety!













About Joe Illing

I hope you'll find my posts entertaining, occasionally edifying and worth whatever time you choose to spend with them ... Joe
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