La Ratita

Ask yourself, “Self, what would I do in a moment of choice? What would I do if a grown woman got so caught up in unplanned home improvement projects that she dragged a tarp in from the garage in the middle of winter so as to protect the new carpet from spilled stain, only after her condescending husband asked her what dress she’d like to be laid out in if she spilled stain on the new carpet instead of Grandma’s desk that probably had no sentimental value to Grandma but apparently does to her grand-daughter-in-law, and in with the tarp she dragged in a MOUSE?
Well, in that said moment of choice, Pepina squeeled like a stuck, er, she squeeled, um, real loud. Pepinita screeched like a night owl and climbed the sofa like a mountain goat. Pepino Suave, you might have guessed, performed as cool as a cucumber. Yes sir, as cool as one of Farmer Buchard’s finest Essex County Cuke’s. Eighty shiny cents a bushel, no less. I ain’t called Pepino Sauve for nada.
***
Hours after Pepina’s Martha Stuart Trance (MRT), we were snuggled in the den; fire crackling in the hearth, family programming on the tube, Grandma’s desk drying in the corner (the fumes from the stain inhibiting our usual snacking jones). Li’l Pepinita and I were sharing the couch, and Sra. Pepina opted for Uncle Bob’s Leather Recliner of the Gods that is broken-in better than any baseball mitt I’ve ever seen. As quickly as you could say, “What are you thinking?”, Ingrid jumps on us like a flying monkey on Dorothy. She hugged me like I was the last life preserver on the Titanic. My shout of, “What the…?!” was muffled by her right shoulder, or her clavical, I can’t be certain, but it was muffled, anyway. She gripped me tighter than she would a half-off whatyamicallet at a Kohl’s sale.
“A mouse crawled into the fireplace!” she yell/screeches, depending on who’s telling the story. My brain is starved for oxygen yet she squeezes harder and yells, “It just ran out of the fireplace!” Now Pepinita is on her toes like no world-class balerina could, balancing on the top of the couch yelling something like, “Ooooooh, oooooh!” I struggle from Pepina the College Athlete’s grip, she simultaneously joins her daughter atop the couch, a la Balerina Barby, and I launch after the rodent. That’s right, Pepino Suave persued the mouse in a room the size of brother Mike’s wet bar. In my efforts, barefoot by the way, I hit every wall and skinned a toe on the fireplace but made no headway with Mickey’s kin. I grumbled incoherently under my breath not only to indirectly place blame, but to give the impression that the weight of the free world rested on my lonely shoulders, as well. Meanwhile, the gals maintained the exact same pose as described above.
With only enough sense to know that, if I couldn’t keep up with the J.V. girls in high school cross country, this ol’ Pepino wasn’t going to out run vermin; I set out for the garage to find the rat traps. Once armed with peanut butter and sunflowers, I placed them about the den and off we went to bed. A side note, only a sliver of our obese-king-size bed was utilized that night, between the three of us.
We wake up from our dilled slumber this morning, and the dames won’t leave the bed unless I go check the traps; Talea claiming she saw mouse turds by the bathroom door.
Sleepy eyed, I made for the den. The trap under Grandma’s desk I checked first. Licked clean of Skippy, it was still armed. Sneaky critter. I go over to the trap by the fireplace only to find a little rat deader n’ Jack Abremoff”s (sp?) career (As a lobbyist, anyway. Word has it that he and Rocky are working on a book deal). I do a little Pepino Suave victory dance and the girls come out of hiding like its V-day or something. We hug, I got some well deserved pats on the back, the girls show some misplaced grief for their former foe (“liefershlot” murmers my now somber Dutch wife), and life goes on. End of story.
Still, this incident might remind some of our long-time readers of a little rope-a-dope Yours Truly had with a Mexican winged rat back in September. Any of you thousands of new readers might want to go over to the sidebar there and double click on early September and find out for yourself (El Murcielago, Sept 1, 2005. Enjoy).

Ol’ Pepino just can’t stop saving the world for his beloved Pepinas…

El Pepino Mas Macho,

Pepino Ratero

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