The Rodent Chronicles, Part 6: Is waterboarding moral?


Waterboarding in action

OK blogosphere, I need some help. I like to think I have a pretty solid moral compass. For example, I am pretty sure that it’s OK to shoot things if they are either inanimate, potential food, or just plain bad. I learned that moral guidepost from the movie “True Lies” where, upon just learning her husband of 15 years is a spy, Jamie Lee Curtis asks him “Have you ever killed anyone?” In true Ahhh-nold fashion, Harry Tasker answers “Yes, but they were all bad.”

So here’s the issue. If you’ve been following “The Rodent Chronicles” you know of my ongoing battles against a rat that only has 85% of my I.Q. Even with that going against him, he has managed to outwit me thus far. He’s managed to make himself comfortable in a hole in my garage ceiling, kind of like Rosie O’Donnell at “All you can eat ribs” night at Sonny’s BBQ.

And therein lies the problem. Before I can seal the hole, I have to know if he’s alone. Or is there a rodent sleeper cell operating in my garage ceiling? Before I act, and possibly trap the entire cell in my ceiling, causing a stink of epic proportions, I have to know if he has co-conspirators.

After catching him alive, I looked up the United Nations and Geneva Convention guidelines on prisoner interrogation and followed them to the letter. Being a superior nation – I live upstairs in the actual house after all – I felt compelled to take the high road and adhere to the rules of civilized warfare, even though my opponent wasn’t. After repeated uses of the word “pretty please” and enticements of free Animal Crackers, I had made no progress whatever. This character was tough, and he wasn’t talking.

It was time to consider desperate measures. The balance of power in my garage was at stake. If I did not uncover critical intel about other rodent cells operating in the area soon, the opportunity for victory might be lost forever.

So the question remains – do I resort to waterboarding?

Photo: Llano Estacado

The Rodent Chronicles, Part 5: Trench Warfare

Back in the old days, warring armies would act, well, civilized and take a winter siesta from the daily ritual of beating the crap out of each other. I have it on good authority that George Washington and the Continental Army wintered in South Beach. There’s nothing like the smell of Hawaiian Tropic Golden Tanning Lotion and a few morning Mojitos to get that fighting spirit back in time for the spring guts and gore season.

Apparently I am not civilized.


Trench warfare

Trench warfare

In my view, the cold winter weather offered me a tremendous advantage over the rodent hordes in my garage. You see, when each days fighting ended, I was able to retire to a comfy red leather chair to watch McHale’s Navy reruns. My opponent, on the other hand, had to take shelter in a cold and nasty hole in the garage ceiling filled with fiberglass insulation. You know, the stuff that feels like a million barbed fish hooks in your skin. I did not have any sympathy for him. War is hell. Sucker.

So I used the winter armistice season to my advantage. I’m pretty sure rodents don’t follow the Geneva Convention, so I didn’t feel obligated either. You can bet if I ever catch that disgusting little puke I won’t feel the least bit guilty about waterboarding him, even if it does violate a new Presidential Executive Order.

Unfortunately, my strategy of fighting through the winter season didn’t pay off. Instead of catching him off guard and achieving a quick and decisive victory, my war turned into a living hell – day after day of grueling combat. Each new day was the day before. During Wheel of Fortune, I would get out of my red leather chair to set bait – which that little rat bastard ate by the way. Later I would make two or three trips down to the garage to try to catch him off guard and exposed. He seemed to know the routine and made it a point to retreat to his hole in the ceiling as I crept down the steps. Being about 220 pounds and full dude sized, I found the challenge of a stealth attack into the three inch ceiling hole daunting to say the least.

Some days I thought defeat and humiliation would be a welcome end to the monotonous cycle. Then I remembered that I am a human and can do cool things like eat steak. I was pretty sure my adversary did not have that luxury. Sucker.

Night vision scope for rats

Anti-Rodent technology in action

It was a stalemate. Something had to change in order to break the cycle.

Then it struck me.

Night vision.

Die you commie rat bastard.

The Rodent Chronicles, Part 4: Sneaky Ninja Stuff

I quickly figured out that rats can hear.


Me in my ninja gear

You see, to get from the upstairs living area to the garage, then around the corner to the dark side of the garage, I had to navigate a flight of wooden steps. I don’t know if you have ever noticed, but wooden steps have attitudes. When you try to be quiet, like when trying to sneak home as a teenager, well after curfew, in a beer induced state of grace and elegance, those wooden stairs tend to SCREAM! They also tend to move around on you unexpectedly, but that’s another story.

My son and I figured out that proper Ninja shoes are important to maintain good sound discipline. Too bad we didn’t have any. Being manly men, we went barefoot – and hoped like crazy that our little friend was up in the ceiling crossbeams and not on the floor. We would have had to scream like little girls, and that would definitely not be ninja-like.

It was then that we realized that clothes make noise. Lot’s of noise. I now understand why real ninjas wear pajamas instead of Levis. Dang, this garage safari was starting to get really expensive.

So after about a dozen tries to sneak down into the garage and catch our little friend out of his safe little Tora Bora cave, we finally figured out how to do it quietly.

The hunt was on. During Final Jeopardy, we baited the cross beams outside his hovel, then waited until “Chuck” was over to make our move. Weapons locked and loaded, shoes lost, ninja uniforms donned, down those attitudinal wooden steps we went.

It was then that I heard my son eating Rice Krispies. Except he wasn’t. Turns out it was my 45 year old knees. So much for quiet as a ninja.

Sneaky ninja stuff is definitely for kids.

The Rodent Chronicles, Part 3: The Importance of Proper Uniform

If you have been following the Rodent Chronicles series, you’ll know that I have thus far been outsmarted by a garbage eating animal with a brain the size of a .177 pellet.

I think I have figured out the problem. All successful military campaigns include dudes with really snazzy looking uniforms. You have to look good to win right?

When Rome ruled the world, their tough guys wore nice skirts like this. Notice the subtle, yet powerful combination of fabric and iron:

Roman military uniform

Roman military uniform

And who can’t be impressed by the snazzy digs that the Swiss guards of the Vatican wear? If you’re protecting the Pope after all, you have to look higher and mightier than the average grunt. And nothing instills fear in your enemy like draping chiffon.

Swiss guard at the Vatican

Mega-intimidating Swiss Guard Uniform


My wife got me this. I think it will help bring victory.



Uniform de la Muerte

The Rodent Chronicles, Part 2: Escalation to War

I had a growing concern that I was not adequately armed to deal with this threat using my sons Beeman pellet rifle.

First, this rodent had gotten so fat eating all the free cheese bait I gave him that I was not sure an air gun was capable of taking him out. It might annoy him, but it probably would not encourage him to relocate.

Second, I could not see a dang thing through the scope on that air rifle in a dark garage. I was beginning to suspect that this may have had some impact on my lack of success.

Aguila 22 super colibri ammunition

Aguila 22 super colibri ammunition

I almost caved into the temptation to go nuclear and lay out a few thousand traps in the garage, but cooler heads prevailed. I decided to try a more powerful rodent elimination technology that would still keep collateral damage to a minimum. Other nearby rodents, who had wisely chosen not to invade my space, would be largely unharmed.

The answer? Aguila Super Colibri .22 ammo. Quiet. Powerful enough for rodents. You can use real guns instead of toys. Garage certified. Chicks dig it.

I was pretty sure this was the advantage I needed.

More to follow.

The Rodent Chronicles, Part 1: The Happening

This could happen – maybe soon.

Officer (Animal Control): “So do you want to tell me what happened here? Or do we have to go downtown?”

Me: “I was in fear for my life officer! It was self defense!”

This did happen – last week.

The Situation

Remy the Rodent

Remy the Rodent

Remy made a guest appearance in my garage. Actually I think it was his long tailed, cheese eating, ugly stepbrother. And like a big three auto maker CEO at a Congressional bailout hearing, he felt perfectly comfortable taking up permanent residence in my garage ceiling.

It’s not quite as gross as it sounds. I live in the middle of a swamp. OK maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. There are empty wooded lots on both sides and a wooded marsh out back of our home. Environmentalists and people who wear blazers and capri pants call it “wetlands” but it’s basically just a swamp. And it’s not like our garage is really part of our personal space. I happen to live in one of those houses where the entire living area is one floor up and there is a semi-open garage underneath at ground level. The smart real estate marketing people call these “raised” homes. I have figured out that’s just another way of saying that once every couple of dozen years, a tsunami is expected to roll under your house and wash pretty much everything away. With this model, the even-smarter insurance companies only have to replace the junk in your garage instead of retrieving your dining room suite from the neighbor’s pool.

But I digress. Over several days, Remi’s ugly stepbrother was spotted making homestead claims on the “junk side” of the garage. Clearly I could not have some two-bit dictator rat wanna-be upsetting the balance of power in my garage. It was clear that a regime change in the lawn tools section was not only legal, but justified.

The Plan

I did not think I would need a well thought out plan, nothing along the lines of the AIG bailout anyway. After all, I have a graduate degree, and while I have not met this rodent personally, I am pretty sure he does not.

So my initial plan was pretty simple:

  • Put yummy bait near his hole. Actually it’s MY hole in the ceiling.
  • Tip-toe down to the garage once in a while with heavy armament.
  • Cap his butt.

The Equipment

  • (5) slices of Kraft Singles – Select, torn into aesthetically pleasing shapes and sizes.I was planning to use just one slice, but Remy apparently feels entitled to steal my cheese without getting shot. Freaking Socialist.
  • (1) Beeman air rifle, .177 caliber, scope equipped (thanks favorite son of mine!)
  • (1) pair quiet shoes for real stealthy tip-toeing.

Results: The Agony of Defeat…

That arrogant little puke ate my cheese! And he did not even have the decency to let me cap him. Not even once!

Being a WWII history buff and a John Belushi (Animal House) fan, I had to ask myself “was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?” Many battles make a war. I lost the first, but production capacity is on my side. I am quite confident I can bankrupt this guy in an arms race.

More to follow.

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