Friday, August 23, 2013
Me vs the Squirrels, Update
The next morning I saw a dark ball sitting in the trap, but not a squirrel. A rat. I don't want to exaggerate, so I am an giving a cautious estimate when I say she measured eight inches from nose to tail. Again, I am claiming no behemoth rodent here; the tail accounts for half that.
She seemed calm until I lifted the trap, and then she scampered back and forth, hoping to find an exit she'd overlooked the night before. The funny thing is, if I'd seen her loose and she'd run across my foot, or if I'd found her in a conventional trap, her neck broken under a steel bar, I'd have been repulsed, but seeing her safely caged, where I was safe from her, and she from me, I felt - oh, Lord, you will think me such a sentimental sap - pity.
I considered whether I should put a towel on the floorboard before setting the trap in my car. She was already quite nervous, and, quite understandably, she might pee from the sheer excitement of taking her first car ride. But then I reasoned she'd probably emptied her bladder the night before and had nothing to drink since, so off we went.
I called her Iphigenia, which I now realize was a mistake. I should've named her Danae, but once you apply the wrong name, it's too late. In my mind she could never be Danae. In mythology Danae had been locked in a box and thrown into the sea by her evil father, Acrisius, with the rationalization that her fate - life or death - would be decided by Poseidon. Which is kind of like saying, fathers locking daughters in boxes and throwing them in the sea don't kill people, sea gods kill people. Iphegenia was sort of similar, except her father, Agamemnon, wrapped her up in heavy chains first. Say what you will about Acrisius, he was a sweetheart compared to Agamemnon.
But like those women of myth, the little rat was to be cast away in some strange place for fate to run its course. She might make a burrow, find a mate, and live a full and happy life. She might run into a snake and be a morning snack.
I got to Arabia, set the trap down at the verge of the woods, and opened the door. She needed no coaxing. I saw her bound once above the tall weeds, and she was gone.