September 22, 2014

A few weeks ago, I was about to head out the back door to put a couple of pork shoulders on the barbecue. Just as I was on my way out, Paul showed up and grabbed the door. I was home by myself, so I welcomed the excuse to ditch the kitchen cleanup and to sit out, smell the meat, and run our mouths.

First, I had to get the fire lit. I put the meat down and poured the charcoal. Then, I thought that I needed a water pan under the meat. The left side of the grill is an upright cold smoker, with a cabinet door that opens like a refrigerator. I popped it open, and as I was turning a way, a small rat poked his head out, like "Hello!"

Paul's girlie little scream caused me to do the same, and I slammed the door shut quickly.

I calmed my nerves and worked up some courage, then I opened the door again, and sprinted toward the house at approximately two hundred miles per hour.

No rat came out.

So I tiptoed back up to the box and looked in the door. I didn't see him. I crouched down low and looked up. He was perched on some sticks that were at the top, for hanging meat. I never knew those were there before! How cool.

I shut the door again, and lit the charcoal in the far away fire box. Paul crossed the back yard to the point as far from the smoker as it's possible to be, without having left the yard altogether. The smoke started wafting through the cooker, and I gave it a minute to get to the rat's side. I threw the door open and sprinted toward the house again.

What happened next will take me ten minutes to write. It will take you a minute or two to read. But it all happened in about one half of one second.

The rat jumped out of the smoker. Two grown men shrieked like females in distress in 1950s movies. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

Before the rat hit the ground, Paul's scream switched to a cry of sheer terror. I was able to turn my head in time to see that he had put a foot on a stray dog turd, which had apparently felt much like an escaping rat underfoot. Immediately, his face went from fear to agony, as his terrified gyration aggravated the hip that he would soon have surgically replaced.

But before I could muster a laugh, I looked back for the rat. It was on the ground, and it was sprinting RIGHT FOR ME!

My pitch increased by an octave and got similarly louder. It was only about six feet away from me when it took a slight right, diving into the bushes and disappearing forever.

And now, this will be in your head all day anyway, so you might as well enjoy the video: