Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Felonious Jive's Last Stand

After clearly stating my affinity for the month of April, I have been awash in misfortune, of all sorts. Typical. Nothing crippling, but permanent damage may have been done, on many levels. Things may never be the same. The mind struggles to get a grip on the situation.....it is hard to explain at this point (although a certain centipede comes to mind). There are physical manifestations. I cower in fear in my own bedroom, and am bleeding from dozens of wounds on my wrists and arms. I made a $50 investment tonight in spirits......which on Midway, does not go as far as you may think. Finally, I have been prevented from posting one of my best blogs ever here at BBB due to these grim circumstances.....and so I am going to attempt to outdo myself with this one. I recommend taking this with a beer, or at least a lot of coffee. I warn you that this has nothing to do with Midway, birds, or even bourbon.....but some people would consider me to be one king-hell of a bastard, so there it is.

Aside from right now, there have been a few times in my life where I have battled irrational fear......and, in retrospect, I don't think I wouldve reacted now the way I did then. There are two instances, embarrassingly, where I probably would've done the exact same thing now as I did then.

The first instance was the infamous "Bug In The Ear" Episode that took place at Wildberries Market in Arcata, California. This consisted of me frantically jumping around and screaming and hitting myself in the head (quite publicly) due to there being, in fact, a huge bug in my ear. I discovered the thing while casually picking my ear in the checkout line. By the time my stuff was being wrung up, I had the horrible realization that some mega-bug was occupying the entire width and length of my ear canal. I then informed the cashier, "Dude, theres a bug in my ear!" about a hundred times. Now, I had been hitherto unaware of the fact that I could not handle a huge arthropod occupying my ear canal. He recommended I buy some q-tips in Aisle 7, but I told him "No man, I don't have time for that. I need to go......"

After finishing there, I walked up to an associate of mine and informed her, "Dude, there's a bug in my ear!!!" I offered my head so she could understand my problem. So she leaned in real close, and stared intently. Then she quite thoughtfully said. "You're right. There is a bug in your ear." And for some godless reason, she thought it would be fruitful to blow in my ear. It was at this point I lost all semblance of composure. I was jumping around, hitting myself in the side of the head, screaming obscenities while she sat there and laughed gleefully. Other shoppers openly stared. I finally knocked it out and ground it into an orange paste with my shoe.

In my defense, I at least can say that it turned out that it was a massive beast in there, not some little gnat. For weeks afterward, I often thought about how it had laid hundreds of eggs and they would feast on my incredibly large brain (hey, Ive got a big head) as they matured. I often felt ghost bugs in there. It was awful.

The next event was The Great Barnaby War, held in my old apartment known as The Ashtray. The Ashtray, due to its very nature, was great habitat for rodents, and I was not surprised when I saw that a small rat had moved in. However, due to my vegan warrior status at the time, I was entirely opposed to killing it unless it ate my food and left feces everywhere. This was the deal that Barnaby (that was the rat's name) and I had.

We both stuck to our deal for many months, and I even found it humorous that Barnaby would eat my roommate's food, but not mine. To be honest, I kind of thought he livened up the place. I referred to him as "The Third Roommate". Then one fateful winter's eve, I opened a drawer in the kitchen to find some tinfoil, and instead reached down to find Barnaby. I don't remember, but I probably screamed like a little girl (who was dropped into a writhing snake pit that also, strangely, had several clowns writhing as well) as Barnaby jumped out and ran into another room. This embarrassed me greatly. He had left a decent amount of his little rat turds and rat piss in there, and so I realized what I had to do. I was going to war with Barnaby.

Barnaby would have to go. Before I decided to destroy him (wars are often described in grandiose terms, no?), I would attempt a frontal assault on his home base. But first I had to find it. After examining several potential targets, I decided to invade one of the most-heavily fortified areas of all.......the cabinet under the kitchen sink. It contained hundreds of plastic grocery bags that were supposed to be recycled and reused, but of course no one ever thought to actually do that so they just accumulated there. I was armed with oversized latex gloves and a broom handle. One by one I flung the bags out onto the floor, and the stench of rat piss got worse and worse. Finally I reached The Core, and I was horrified to find that Barnaby was actually home, and I would have to confront him, one on one. To be honest, I had The Fear. I had no idea that rats, in addition to bugs in my ear, invoked something like Pure Terror from deep in my bowels. Perhaps it was the biologist in me......they had helped snuff the existence of dozens of species all over the Earth, when they had been introduced to places they were not native to. And who was I, after all, to stand up to the harbingers of The Plague?

And so with my trusty broom handle I plunged into the Bag Core, and flushed out Barnaby, tail between my legs the entire time. And once again, he escaped safely to one of his hideouts in another room, but I felt, at least, that I had won The Battle, if not The War. He would not be able to hold the line anymore without The Bag Core.....right? I felt good about myself, and my colleagues and I drank merrily that night in celebration of my triumphant victory.

Of course, Barnaby did not give up so easily. He now defecated wherever he wanted to, and ate my food as he pleased. He knew that things were different now, that we were on Another Level. And I, of course, had to one-up him. I was going to kill him.

The trap was set. It was the standard, trusty neck-breaking kind. I had great confidence in it. And so I waited. And waited. And waited. Barnaby was too smart. He would not take the bait. He would flagrantly run through the living room, in the middle of raging parties. I would hear the trap go off in the middle of the night, only to find no rat the next day. He did not give two shits out of a rat's ass about what I was trying to do to him. He behaved with impunity. After some time of this, I had grown tired of chasing him around and screaming at him, not to mention his constant surprise attacks that left me feeling burned out and crazy. We had reached a stalemate. Then one afternoon, as I read in the living room, Barnaby hopped out from somewhere and calmly walked across the room. He did not run. He did not scurry. He plainly walked. He had no fear anymore.

I simply rolled my eyes at him. There was no way I was going to catch him, ever. I was stuck with Barnaby, and he with me. About ten minutes later he reappeared, taking his sweet rat time walking back across the room. I glared at Barnaby with disdain.

But to my amazement, Barnaby walked up to an empty paper bag that was sitting on the floor. After considering it briefly, he scaled the side of the bag, reached the top.....and calmly jumped in.

I could not believe that this was happening. It was surreal. I stared at the bag for some time, thinking it was a trick. Had I been drugged? I knew that the moment I got up, Barnaby would explode out of the bag, crawl up my leg and go for an artery in my groin. But I got up, and nothing happened. I walked over to the bag, and nothing happened. I closed the bag and picked it up, and Barnaby did not protest. I was overwhelmed.....I had given up all hope.......the war was over!

Of course, I had to figure out The Terms Of Surrender. I could not just kill him....he had given up himself peaceably, without bloodshed. But what could I do with him? Then it dawned on me.....a few blocks from my house, there lived The Blonde Mexican and her comrades. Next to their building was a huge junk pile, perfect for a rat. So I marched right over there, and chucked Barnaby in.

The war was won! I marched back to my house, my chest swollen with pride. I had not surrendered. I had not capitulated. I had won! With no bloodshed! Surely, Barnaby would not come back.....that pile was a palace. Even if he did want to return, he would not find his way.....right?

Two nights later a rat scared the shit out of me in the bathroom in the early hours of the morning. It was the last thing I had expected. The catatonic despair that sat in was crushing. It was a trick! Barnaby had made a fool out of me......I was despondent. If I was going to win this, it would have to be a decisive victory. Blood would be shed. It made me feel low. I stocked up on rat traps, baited them, set them in the bathroom, and waited.

Three days later, a large rat lay dead on my bathroom floor. A small pool of blood lay next to its broken head......death looked to be quite painful for my old friend Barnaby. Somberly, I took him outside and tossed him in the dumpster, and waited for the guilt to set in. I had never murdered a friend before. It was over.

Until the next day of course, when I saw a huge rat in my kitchen. This was infuriating. Not only did Barnaby make me kill him, he sent in his buddy to torment me. Barnaby was waging war from beyond the grave.....I could not believe it. The vast intellect that Barnaby displayed was unlike any I had ever seen......it was far more insidious and complex than any haphazard plan that CIA could thrash together at any time....presidents have died at the hands of those far less capable than Barnaby's. I did not know what to do. I was at my wit's end. With shaking hands, I armed my last rat traps. This was Felonious Jive's Last Stand. I seriously was considering moving out, for I could not withstand The Onslaught Of The Rats.

And then it was done. Barnaby's comrade lay dead on the floor, much like Barnaby had laid only two days before. I prayed as much as an atheist can that Barnaby would send no more commands for his Ashtray Offensive from beyond the pearly rat gates. And so I waited. Hours turned to days, and days into weeks. I was without rats! But the terrible guilt of murdering Barnaby still lingered. Did I really have to do it.....was there some other way?

And then it dawned on me. One of the reasons that I was able to withstand the presence of Barnaby in the first place was his diminutive size. He was cute, for a rat. The rat that crawled into my bag was most definitely Barnaby. He was small, and had attitude. The rats that were caught in my traps were monsters.....some sort of gruesome Buffalo Rats. They were huge. In fact, there was no way that Barnaby died in my traps.....it was two other rats that had laid down their lives on the floor of our beloved Ashtray. Barnaby was out still out there, somewhere.....still plotting to take over the world, one dirty apartment at a time.

No comments:

Post a Comment