Stickman Readers' Submissions November 2nd, 2007

Where Did The Rat Go?

This isn’t going to be a story about girls or antics in Thailand. It is not about anything negative or positive concerning the culture. It is a fun little tale about something that happened on the last night of my first visit to my wife’s home.

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One night we were outside on the porch of my wife’s family residence, enjoying some conversation and drinking a few beers. My wife, her cousin, my brother, and I were sitting around the small concrete table under the porch. I saw something scurry above, across the rafters and stop. It was a rat and he was heading out of the upstairs bedroom area. He stopped for a second, and hurried across the rafter and jumped onto a tree branch and disappeared. We told my brother in law what happened and the next day he was trimming tree branches away from the house. Problem solved! Ha! So we thought!

The final night of my visit we were outside doing the same thing, drinking and chatting with the wife’s friends and relatives and having a good time, as we always do. My wife has a huge family and they wander in and out all the time. They are really fun and very sociable. Mama and papa were inside with the grandkids. Mama was watching TV and the kids were playing with toys on the tile floor of the house. The family cat made an appearance and went back to the dark where he came from and the family dog was laying at my feet. All was well in the Eastern Hemisphere and the balance of nature was as plumb and level as it should be!

In my peripheral vision, through the window opening, I could see some commotion inside, and immediately sensed something was going on with papa and the boys. The ages of the three boys range from four to nine years old and papa is in his late fifties. Papa had a long bamboo pole with a makeshift basket on the end of it. It reminded me of a fruit picking device or an industrial light bulb changing tool. But now, it was a weapon!

One of the little four legged, furry critters showed up again inside the house and papa knocked him down from the rafters and he was running for his life, with papa and the boys chasing him. The rat was running across the tile floor, scampering to find something to hide under and the hunters were not going to let him get away! I joined in with my new hunting partners and took over as leader of the pack. Papa had the weapon, the kids had the dexterity, vision and the speed to spot and chase, and I had the muscle to move objects like the small refrigerator and armoires that lined the walls.

The four-legged intruder never had a chance! We were a finely tuned machine now and with no verbal communication, only hand signals and visual contact we all knew what the strategy was and we effected our jobs like professional hunters, who had done this regularly. It was bred into us; being men we had the “hunter gene” in our blood. We knew it and so did the rat. We could sense the fear and see it in his eyes. He knew it was his last moments on the planet, and he was trying to do everything in his little rat mind to ensure his survival and make it to a safe haven before we could end his stay on earth.

I took off my flip-flop sandals and gave one to one of the boys and the other boys took theirs off also. Fine weapons they make! A crushing device and a throwing device that could be deadly accurate when used on prey that is scurrying off! Now we were all armed and it was just a matter of time.

The rat slipped under the small Samsung refrigerator and he thought he found a safe haven. I grabbed the machine like a weight lifter, while my partners surrounded it and we exposed the prey. My fellow hunters made an offensive move and attacked, but our prey slipped under their legs and barely made it to the row of armoires along the wall. There were three armoires and we immediately went to the last one, knowing that the rat was there. I moved the armoire, and the rat ran along the wall over to the two small couches that formed a sitting area in the corner of the house.

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We lifted the couches carefully and saw that the lining was intact under them and knew that our prey was not inside of the upholstery. Good for us! We had him now!

Brother in law had a metal cutting chop saw that sat in the corner formed by the two couches and we all crouched around it and surrounded it. I motioned my finger to my lips and gave the “shhhh” sign and we all took our positions, knowing we finally had our prey cornered. This was our moment as hunters and we could taste the fear in the air. Mama and the aunts and the women were inside now watching the hunt, deep down they knew that their men were doing the job that had been genetically bred into us as males of the human species. We were warriors and hunters; our camp was infiltrated by a four-legged intruder. It was our job to make sure this beast didn’t get away.

I lifted the chop saw and sure enough the rodent was hiding under it and the kids made an attempt with their sandal weapons to whack the critter, but were unsuccessful at their effort. It was a good shot, but a near miss. The rat scampered toward me and realized that he took the wrong path to safety and with one fell swoop, Whack! The chase was over and the prey had fallen victim to our team of warrior hunters! He lay stunned and bleeding from the mouth and I thumped him again to ensure his demise. We were successful and we all smiled and gave each other “high-fives”.

Mama smiled and the aunt came up and said, “You are hero!” We were victorious over this cunning rodent and we did feel like heroes. We all had a good laugh and the boys grabbed the victim by its tail and carried it to the porch and examined it. This is the first time they saw the prey up close and each boy examined it and held it. In America, this would have never been correct, but we were in Thailand and who cares what the West thinks. We were victorious hunters, and true warriors! Our prey never had a chance and this was warning to others, not to intrude our camp, or the same thing will happen to them!

I went back to the table and joined my wife and like the good wife she is, she had a fresh drink for her husband hunter. She smiled at me and we became consumed in conversation and laughter. I looked over to the spot where the boy hunters left the dead rat and it was gone!

Where did the rat go? He disappeared! I was sure he was dead!

Did he limp off wounded and hide in the brush? Impossible! We made sure he was dead! The boy hunters examined him and there was no sign of life!

I went to the back of the house to the cooking area to find papa. He beheaded the prey and chopped off its little arms and legs and made a slice down its belly and peeled its furry little body armor off. He looked up and me and said, “loei!” He proceeded to place the rodent in the grill basket and in a matter of minutes; papa was enjoying a delicacy that he truly enjoyed!

In America we would have been considered barbaric and surely eating the prey would have been considered gross. But, for some reason, it didn’t bother me one bit. It was actually kind of interesting! I didn’t enjoy the spoils of victory by tasting the prey. I left that to papa! And, of course, everything in the universe was where it should be and nature had taken its course. The hunters and warriors were victorious and the prey was cooked to well done and enjoyed by the chief of the tribe! All was good in Thailand!

Stickman's thoughts:


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