Monday, July 17, 2006

Elves And Fairies and VICIOUS ATTACK RODENTS, pt 1

We were still living in Texas when I was eight years old, in a small town in a small subdivision in a relatively small house. Truth be told I always liked that house the best and not because my mother had stenciled small blue birds and red hearts and green vines around my window but because it was the last house at the bottom of the subdivision, a real live subdivision, one full of families who all managed to get knocked up within the same year, spewing forth cute little girls ripe for afternoons of Girl Scouting, bike riding and sandbox digging. Sometimes I even acquiesced to Barbie-doll playing but only after much coercion and after formal agreements were signed indicating I could chop off their hair, rip off their heads and stuff bits of trash and leftover firecrackers in their hollow bodies. Now, of course, I’d sooner put a cheese grater to my face than live in a subdivision but as an eight-year-old, Quail Lane was the height of Cool.

For my eighth birthday party I invited the entire Girl Scout Troop for a sleepover, the kind where your mother prepares for weeks in advance; cleaning house, hanging streamers, baking cakes and cookies and buying hot dogs from the crazy bulk aisle at Sam’s because nineteen little girls can eat hella amounts of food. This is the same kind of party where your dad hides out in the shed in the back, venturing forth only if someone screams bloody murder for at least twenty seconds because a 10 second scream is really only like a warning beacon but twenty seconds indicates severe bodily injury. It’s not like I judge the shed-hiding though because, hello, that many pre-pubescent little girls are bound to make anyone nervous.

That night we threw our sleeping bags haphazardly across the living room floor, giggling amongst ourselves the way all little Southern girls do. I mean, little Northern girls may giggle as well but I always kind of associated ‘north’ with ‘cold barren wasteland’ and I figured it was probably quite hard just to stay warm much less do something as useless as giggle or braid hair.

Much later that night, when the room was completely silent save for steady breathing and the occasional snore, I was awakened by the strangest of sensations. A weight upon my forehead, one both warm and kind of prickly. Not trickly, prickly. As I was coming out of my peaceful slumber I was slowly taking inventory of the kinds of things that my friends could have placed on my forehead. It wasn’t toothpaste or salt or a frozen panty wad because all those things, I imagined, would have very distinct feelings associated with them and as I couldn’t detect any toothpaste running or salt spilling or frozen panty melting, I could effectively eliminate those objects from the list of possible things adorning my forehead.

It was about that time that I started to become fully awake, no longer half-heartedly wondering about that prickly and unstable weight but truly and quite concernedly wondering what the Hello Kitty was going on up there and as I crinkled my brow in confusion I felt a squirming furry body launch itself from my crown and into the quiet black air around me, realizing instantly that the prickly sensation was attributed to wee small claws and HOLY SPACEBALLS THERE WAS SOMETHING WITH CLAWS AND FUR ON MY FOREHEAD, NOW IS THE TIME TO AWAKEN EVERYONE WITH MY SCREAMING.

Naturally as soon as one eight-year-old starts screaming then any eight-year-old within a forty mile radius will join in as well because we are nothing if not supportive of each other’s vocal ability. I mean, it’s not like you have many skills at eight. Sometimes you can make some bead jewelry or beat your younger siblings without mom catching on but as far as True Skills go, screaming’s all you got. So as I was struggling out of my sleeping bag the other eighteen girls were struggling out of theirs as well, vocal chords a-trembling in unified terror. And as soon as the others became aware of the scampering furry wee-clawed rodent running around, that terror got ramped up to DEFCON 500, which is wicked more important than DEFCON 5 because, LIKE DUH, there is a rodent on the lam.

Someone flicked on the lights and out of the corner of my eye I caught some quick and covert movement along the baseboard against the far wall and I opened my mouth to express my ongoing and now amplified fear when it dawned on me, just as the scream was beginning to break free, that this was no ordinary furry rodent, this one was kind of pretty. Kind of like the color of caramel or creamy coffee or… wait for it…


Amidst the screaming and couch jumping and confused panic I made my way to the baseboard in the far corner of the room where the wee little rodent was cowering in abject fear. I gently reached down and grabbed him ‘round his soft belly, pulling him up against my neck for a nice warm cuddle, his wee scratchy claws grabbing onto any available flesh.

As soon as I showed the other girls the pretty little furball in my hands, a cute little hamster by the name of Butterscotch, they calmed down considerably. He’d apparently escaped by launching himself from the top of his spinning wheel and squeezing between the crevice at the top, jumping from the elevated terrarium located in my bedroom in a bid for freedom only to find mounds of warm sleeping bodies in what probably looked like an endless string of Body Jungle. I imagine he stopped atop my forehead for a bit of a rest and regroup, rethinking his escape route and now total lack of cedar shavings and green hamster nuggets not to mention his long-time companion, Valentine. Though now that I think of it, Valentine may have been a deciding factor in his escape attempt as we later had to separate the two after Valentine clawed out both of Butterscotch’s eyes.

No, I’m not kidding.

And yes I believed my father when he told me he would send Butterscotch off to a research facility that would do their best to figure out why my hamster had dried up eye sockets.

And while I’d like to tell you that the scream from the mouth of this 26-year-old last night was all in vain, all due to the long lost cousin of dear Butterscotch, I Cannot Tell A Lie. At least about rodents, other subjects are fair game. So it began that at 12:45am I was lounging sleepless in my bed complete with earplugs and sleep mask, attempting to ignore the continued antics of the strangely active Demonspawn and the fact that I was just at the cusp of breaking a sweat in an apartment supposedly outfitted with a brand new compressor less than a month ago. I finally lost patience with the Cat Circus and Sweltering Heat and whipped out the ear plugs, intent on telling anything within earshot about my all-consuming desire to shove my broomstick into any available ass when I heard the unmistakable sounds of a squealing rodent, one who was running helter skelter down my hallway floor, chased by the undeniably gleeful felines.

I caught the glint of it’s beady black eye as it hightailed it around the corner into the kitchen and before I knew it, I’d whipped out the knife from under my bed and jumped to my feet on top of the mattress, full scream ahead.


Anonymous said...

A minor's DEFCON as in DEFense CONdition. Otherwise, bitchin' story!

duckie said...

Holy Spaceballs that was some funny shit.

Doesn't it piss you off when people feel the need to correct you?

You sleep with a knife under your bed? What if the monsters get to it first? They live under there you know.

Ryan Rush said...

I'm glad other people have demonspawn cats that do not let their owners sleep.

Jenni said...

As usual, LOVIN' you stories Birdie! Gimme more!!!

Carl from L.A. said...

A rodent roaming free in your sleeping quarters is definitely a defensive condition. If it isn't, nothing else is.

birdie said...

anon- quibble smibble. I'm allowed to typo every now and then and don't think I've never watched War Games. I'm all over my UTC+3 at 0800 hours for some chow. Yo.
duckie-i totally sleep with a knife under my bed. a BIG one. :) and HOLY SPACEBALLS i'm glad you're back. like, how wicked excited am i? excited like a shithouse rat!
ryan- I think I'm just going to call you Pastor Bruno.
jenni-more is coming, pinky swear
carl- you're not dead! the worker minions haven't killed you! glad you got that work situation all scoped out. :)

duckie said...

like a shithouse rat? That seems pretty happy. I'm happy that you're happy. Sleeping much lately?

birdie said...

are you asking because you have something that's going to make me sleep? like illegal narcotics? because I'll trade you the Demonspawn for some illegal narcotics.

Texas Roxy said...

I had hamsters once. They ate eachothers babies...then they ate eachother. I never bought hamsters again.

Now I just have cats that lick eachothers butts. The animal kingdom will never cease to amaze me.

Then again, I could always walk out my front door and observe the human race= just as exciting. :P

duckie said...

i have some legal sleeping aids, but i believe it illegal to ship drugs across state lines.

Have you tried any Xanax? That usually works for me.

Annathy said...

I have 3 survival knives, one around each corner of my bed and a 5 D-Cell maglite on the fourth corner.

[drop n roll, and come out swinging baby!)

1 sword in the corner of the room, 1 knife in the closet.

2 swords in the loft.

2 wooden swords and 1 rambo knife in my den.

There are others in my hubby's computer room as well.

When hubby is away, I sleep with my bowie knife and phone next to me.

I sure hope the boogie-man is ready, because I am.

Rolligun said...

So you've had rodent's following you around for the last eighteen years? That's kind of what I gathered...but hey, it's cool, some girls have angels and butterflies, you have rodents.

Either or, I'd rather hang out with're a better writer!

lilylala said...

to know you is so much better than to read about you. i do truly enjoy your writing, but i love it when you tell me a story. you have wonderful body language. just thought you might want to know that insignificant little blurb of info.