Garage Armageddon

            About a couple of months ago entrails of what could only be a rodent began appearing in my garage.  It was a sore sight to see—three years ago we had a mouse in the garage and it took a few days to catch in a glue trap.  Suspecting the same thing here, we hoped the little thing would leave on it's own volition. 

            How wrong could my family and I be?  The bastard was not a little cute mouse at all, but the most evil of them all—the large and ugly rattus norvegius, the rat.  For several nights we'd leave the garage open (I live in a safe neighborhood), hoping the monster would leave our territory and go off to terrorize someone else's house.

            It was to no avail.  The rat remained, leaving his disgusting "calling card" behind.  And so we dealt with it.  A few weeks after the discovery of the beast, I opened to door to the garage to let my dog out and there he was!!  Apparently scared he took off for the one place I couldn't get to him: behind the washer, dryer, and freezer.  Days later, as I stepped into the garage and turned on the light something slammed into my foot.  Yes my friends, I was kamikazed by the damn thing—slammed right into my foot spreading all kinds of disease!  I ran inside and quickly doused my foot in a combination of water, soap, bleach, various Lysol products, and rubbing alcohol.  I still felt kinda dirty afterwards.

            The last straw came just a few days ago, while I was putting recyclables in the recycle bin.  My father was doing the laundry when he goes "that thing just ran across the floor and hid in there," pointing to pile of stuff in the garage (admit it, almost everything in a garage is stuff if it's not hanging on a wall—if it hangs on a wall, it's a "tool").

            There was only one thing left to do: go on the offensive and bring the fight to it.  We had given it enough chances…now it was time for battle.  The next day we began our campaign, which we thought would end this terror wave brought by the satanic creature.  Enter Operation Sticky Feet.

            My father had come home with four Tomcatã glue traps—for mice!  Obviously the man had never read Sun Tzu's The Art of War, for he would have known to study and know the enemy you're fighting!  These glue traps looked too small…the rat might get stuck and merely take off with it.  But I improvised—put one in front of the other: hopefully he'd run across them and get stuck.

            Day 1:  Unsuccessful.  Although the box said "pre-baited" it seemed it wasn't enticing enough, so I baited the traps with the one thing I knew the rat stayed in my garage for: dog food.  Yes, it seems the rodent took a liking to the fallen pieces of Purinaâ Fit n' Trim.  So I stuck a piece in the middle of one trap, the one that had an empty trap in front of it.  My family left for the weekend leaving the beast and me.  Only one of us would survive.

            Day 2:  I check the trap I put the food on.  Gone.  I couldn't believe it!  The damn thing took off with the trap!  What was I dealing with, the Hercules of rodents?!   No, I realized, not just the rat version of the Greek demigod, but worse—their version of Einstein.  The hairy monster had moved the damn empty trap and grabbed the baited one!

            Day 3:  I guess that if anything, the rat was running around stuck to a glue trap.  Which meant I could bait the other three and get him stuck to those too, hopefully immobilizing the enemy and leaving him stuck on the field of battle with nowhere to run.  And so I baited them and put them in areas I knew the monster visited.  And I waited.

            Day 4:  They're all gone.  Every last fucking trap.  "Okay," I said out loud, making sure the beast heard me, "you won this round.  But know you've just sentenced yourself to death.  I'm pulling out all the stops now ya bastard.  This time it's war!"  I know he was looking at me with those beady red eyes, laughing.  But I'd be the one with the last laugh.

            I hopped into my Explorer and headed for Wal-Mart.  Spring traps.  I need spring traps—the old school way to take care of these things.  The joke that never died in cartoons.  Yes, that would slay the fiend.  Wal-Mart was sure to have them, I mean c'mon, it's Wal-Mart.

            My jaw hit the floor as I stood in front of the pesticides section in Household Chemicals.  What was this world coming to?!  No spring traps!  Not one!  That D-Con killer chemical stuff was in abundance, and more stupid glue traps.  Since when did a rodent deserve such a nice death?  Doesn't anyone realize these things are smarter than a glue trap?

            Disgusted, I drove off to Publix, the supermarket down the street from my house.  Nothing.  Suddenly you had to kill a rat humanely it seemed!  And if some of your are asking, I'm not going to poison it because if I do, it'll just crawl off and die somewhere and put a pungent decaying odor in the air.  It would not have the pleasure!

            Finally I found what I was looking for at Winn Dixie, the other supermarket down the street.  Two mouse spring traps for $1.99.  I bought two sets.  Now I know, I complained about mouse glue traps and now I'm buying mouse spring traps.  Well they are kinda small, but I needed spring traps and these would do.  I went home, set two traps with a piece of Fit n' Trim and peanut butter (because the packaging said peanut butter and I needed the food to stick) and set them out in the open—if this bastard wanted to play games he was going to have to get tough too.

            I dubbed this Operation Come n' Get It.

            It lasted the night.  This morning I awoke to check and see the coup de grace dealt to the thing.  I expect to see my enemy vanquished so I could celebrate my victory over orange juice and Quaker Oats Apple Crisp Instant Oatmeal.

            Instead the rat would be celebrating.  One of the traps had been set off…but not touched a thing!  The bait was hanging off the end, obviously having been tampered with, and the spring had slammed forward, but it didn't even wound the damn thing!  What the hell was this thing, an experiment that escaped the Central Intelligence Agency?  Was this one of those things I saw on the History Channel?  The rodents with brain implants so they can be controlled and used to find victims in wreckage?  Or was this simply a hellspawn sent from the depths of Hades to wreck havoc in this world? 

            "You win again rat.  But I'd consider giving up now, because this was the last time you'll survive," I said aloud.  The beast heard me and knew this would be my last stand.

            I set my brain to thinking as I walked my dog and saw my neighbor across the street—a big country "feller" from Alabama named Scott.  He's pretty cool, and totally Southern.  He'd had a good rat catchin' remedy I'm sure. 

            And so he busted out with the atomic bomb of spring traps—the Trapper T-Rex.  It was given to him by an exterminator after he saw a rat in his kitchen.  The thing is huge and sensitive—you set this thing off and you lose an extremity.  He set the T-Rex and never heard from the rat again.  We theorized that possibly the rat running rampant in my garage was the same bastard that was in his house.  Or maybe it was some kind of coordinated assault being planned and these rats were spies on a reconnaissance mission!

            Either way, I was going to make sure he didn't complete his mission, because along with the T-Rex sprung forth the most vicious idea yet, something I would create and name Steve's Death Box 2000.

            It was created using one of the glue traps I found (with the dog food eaten directly off the trap and no sign of the rat ever stepping on the glue), all four spring traps, a shoebox, duct tape, and a scalpel.  I cut a square hole in the box, giving an entrance way into Death Box 2000.  Then I covered the sides with duct tape so that if the hairy beast was to survive, the entrance/exit would be blocked and he could get stuck, not being able to gnaw his way through the duct tape.  Ok, so it's a stretch but it's something.  Then I took the glue trap and covered it in Fit n' Trim, setting it in the back of the Death Box 2000.  Then came the traps.  Three traps all set on the bottom of the box, their baiters facing forward, the spring in the back, and the last one up against the side.  If the rat even TRIED to get to the dog food, he'd met the business end of four traps.  Death would come swift and vicious.  Hence it's name: Death Box 2000.

            I set the box down in the same place as the first glue trap, leading dog food into the box, on the traps, and even more on the glue trap.  Hopefully the monster would see this as an invitation into a smorgasbord and not realize it was really his downfall.  A guy can hope, right?

            And off somewhere else I set T-Rex.  Operation Death Trap was in affect.  This was it, the lines had been drawn.  Armageddon—the final battlefield of good versus evil.  This was D-Day, the final assault.  If he beat these two traps—if this damn heathen could set off the T-Rex and the Death Box 2000 and survive—I would surrender and admit that indeed I'd been outsmarted by the greatest beast of the animal kingdom, for this rat had to be a genius.  I'll keep you informed.