Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Simple Art of Murder: Cleaning Up



Last week, as I waxed poetic -- or maybe just waxed with lots of spit and elbow grease -- on the beauty of unspoiled nature, I was, at the same time, conducting mass executions in my basement.

Well, pardon my dark side.

If you’re a rat, apparently my house is a must-see stop on the Halleluiah Trail. I’m what you do on your summer vacation.

For a day or two, I can shut out the sound of their meet-and-greet and pot luck by playing Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto really, really loud. But it’s a non-stop party down there and their family reunion eventually spurs me to power up the Rat Zapper 2000.

These electric death chambers are a miracle, but only to a point. They kill rats on contact, without poison, without screams; only problem is, while the rat souls go directly to heaven, the too too solid flesh remains. And if a live rat gives you a shiver or two, that’s practically an afternoon with the Mona Lisa compared to a dead one.

After my first murder this season, I prevailed upon a friend, as he was over for breakfast anyway. You know, casual-like, “Do you want garlic in your Denver Omelet, and while I’m chopping, maybe you can...” And blah, blah, blah, the way any of us would ask someone in a crisp white shirt to venture down the black hole of Calcutta that is my basement and dispose of the dead.

Subsequent kills have been my responsibility, and I’ve risen to the occasion, generally with a nip or two of fortification; although, as a hardened veteran with eight sorties behind her belt, I can finally carry out corpses while stone cold sober --if I so choose.

This house is clean now. And by clean I don’t mean heroic measures have been taken, such as dusting behind the bureau. I mean clean in the sense that everyone inside has their shots and a standing invitation. And a name. And a good looking tail.

46 comments:

  1. I have nothing against Sandra Tsing Loh but "The Simple Art of Murder: Cleaning Up" is a great example of what KPCC should be carrying instead of "The Loh Down on Science."

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  2. Rat souls do not go to heaven. Of this I am sure. Or at least I hope so, as I sent at least a dozen undocumented residents of my garage to their eventual reward in the past year.

    And I think we need to start a movement to have Karin read her stuff on KPCC! I might have to hold my nose and pledge again if that happens!

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  3. It always starts with rats, but where is it going to end...

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  4. Silly. Everyone knows all the rats live in City Hall.

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  5. Karin, have you thought of blocking their entry points so you won't have to be such a godawful sinner?

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  6. We used to own an RZ2000. works great as long as they don't learn its ways. We had SMART rats---they'd avoid it. Either that or we just had too many that one RZ2000 wouldn't be enough!

    I got smart. I put the RZ2000 on a long line of weed whacker string, so I could grab the line with gloves, kept my "rat box" nearby, lined with plastic baggy, dumped the felon into the bag and into a can, ready for disposal & ready to put back into action.

    I'm the one who has to deal with such things and this is one thing that give me the heebeejeebees. Times like this, I wish I were more of a girl about such things.

    Tho, I can see the appeal of having a guest "for breakfast" and asking if they'd take care of the package in the basement for me. Just remind them to turn OFF the zapper BEFORE reaching for the dead felon!

    I like Petrea's suggestion, but guess, like our old basements, it might be an all summer project of building, stuffing and blocking---you need to block out anything more than 1/3" holes, and these felons are crafty creatures!

    wv: mateleg...if the mate doesn't get the felon, you'll feed his leg to them? ;-)

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  7. Omg, hysTERical. Love the visual--

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  8. We have never had rats. I think hubby would burn the house down to get rid of them. We do have field mice, and he's a fabulous murderer. Just another reason I adore him: he does the work so I don't have to.

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  9. K and Sage, just for that, my zapper and I are at your disposal.

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  10. wow, you would enjoy this video of rats scurrying about at our local KFC after hours. they all come out at night, just watch out for Karin!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvLDFtaL5HI

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  11. ...and a good looking tail it SO important!

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  12. Good tail. I mean, tale.

    JJ

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  13. I do enjoy the way you string words together and set a scene. Although I am sorry to hear lives were lost. :o/

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  14. I SOOOOO agreee with -K-!!!
    I love Mickey. Don't mess with meeses.

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  15. "Too too solid flesh" or "too too sullied flesh"? I'm pretty sure that's of them there Hamlet cruxes, unless they've finally decided on one correct answer.

    I don't have a rat story or a tail tale, so I play Hamlet bingo. There's probably a Latinate name for that disorder.

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  16. Grinning from ear to ear, or should I say from head to tail?

    KPCC, KPFK, PBS, NPR !!!

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  17. Big one dead on the lawn yesterday - geez, I didn't know the males were so well-endowed. Couldn't stop looking. Perhaps the equipment weighed him down so the cat could catch him? Probably left little babies back in my garage crying for their daddy.

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  18. Hilarious. You should submit this to a magazine.

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  19. KB,
    i'm going to have to get back with ya on this one. I left a home that had ........some tailed ........I can't talk about it now.
    V

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  20. I feel your pain, my sister. But from afar. And that's good enough for me.

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  21. Absolutely what K said. Please.
    And I bet you don't enunciate things all wacky.

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  22. Carolynn, I knew you wouldn't like it, and I tried many benign methods. The mariachi music in the basement, for example, drove no one out but me.

    (I'm a fan of KPCC, but Amy, I know what you mean. Every syllable doesn't have to be a different note.)

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  23. Karin, OMG: You have rats in your basement!

    If I understand this all right, RZ2000 is an electrical device to trap (kill) rats. I thought your 4 feet family members could hold the castle, so to say. If not, maybe you should feed them less ... or think of getting a cat too. I think cats have a tail.

    DAYo!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7u-MrDrtmrc

    BTW: Wth is KPCC? Kago Pace Cabbage Casting.

    FYI: It’s good album too. (Seriously!).

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  24. Karin, you could really do this radio thing. I have ideas. Let's talk.

    Hey! My WV is "kildo." I think it's for Bellis's rat.

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  25. So these rats play music, kind of like the mice in Cinderella dancing and singing?

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  26. Euww, gruesome, but sounds like a much more humane option than others. So there's no link whatsoever between the popularity of your basement and your love of smelly cheeses?

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  27. P, if that's not just the late night green tea talking, yes!

    HP: Bad girl.

    WV: Flobtat

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  28. I still need shock therapy for myself after a traumatic event when a rat jumped out of a crate of books I was carrying down from the attic and got loose in my house. In my previous home they played "So You Think You Can Dance" in the attic at night. I'll never get over it. You are one brave woman KB.
    V

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  29. Does the scurrying noise of previous alive rats haunt you in the dark of night?
    Somehow I am picturing Karin as a 'ghostbuster'. Geez!!!

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  30. Just so long as you don't make this stone cold sober thing a habit.

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  31. I have no words as clever as what's already here. Rats! Except to say, I'll be smiling all day. :)

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  32. My cat was hired, in part, to deal with rodent issues. That's his job.

    He turned out to be crap at it. Only time we both saw a mouse together, he froze in terror and I had to kill it in front of him. He was utterly traumatised.

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  33. May have to invest . . . the rat poison my husband leaves in the office when he hears little scuffling feet makes me nervous with a 2yr old in the house. But, I have a feeling that zapper would give her nightmares forever.

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  34. Hee-hee, y'all.

    Soilman, ah, well, we hear British cats are rather spoiled.

    Bec, sorry this heat wave hit just as you're getting ready for child #2.

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  35. Flobtat is just as good as my favorite, mershfig.

    It must be very upsetting to have rodents about - in the house. I sometimes see them outdoors when I put out birdseed in the feeders but my home is off-grade so I don' have this particular worry. At least, not yet. I agree with Virginia, you're very brave to be handling the corpses. Ewww.

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  36. Is that Peoples? You give him a bad rap. He might like to spend a little quality time over her.

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  37. Did I say how much I like your new Avatar pic? Just checking.

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  38. A couple years ago we had a small mouse problem; my husband bought some instant kill traps that were supposed to basically brain the mouse-- painlessly.

    Nope.

    We had a brain-damaged mouse in the trap the next morning... still alive. My husband felt terrible, and he knew he was going to have to finish the job himself. He scooped the poor, paralyzed mouse into a handy (empty) starbucks cup. Put the lid on it, then backed an SUV over it. It was the most instant way to die he could think of... Not elegant. But at least quick. Ish. We've never had a mouse since; I think they were as horrified as we were.

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  39. Okay, I just moseyed (nothing to do with a mouse) over here from Virginia's blog -- You guys are really funny. Knowing V, I understand the association.

    Think that I'll come back often!

    ("mosey" is a suthun term for a leisurely stroll without a firm objective)

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  40. Yes, sweet Tash, you did.

    Kat, I'm speechless. You're right, while a dead mouse is revolting, a half-dead mouse is horrifying.

    Genie, so you've been keeping our Virg out of trouble? Thank you for stopping by.

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  41. Unfortunately...we all have rats, whether we like to admit it or not. That comes with the territory and the fruit trees all around us.
    I personally use the live trap and I find that the fine dining combo of a little peanut butter topped with the secret ingredient of sesame seeds works like a charm. Or a piece of dry dog food also is ok and lasts longer. Once the little "neighbor" is inside, it's time for a little scuba lesson in the trash can with a foot or so of water...but somehow I always manage to forget to give them the air tanks...so 10 minutes later I pull the trap from the water and the 'student', sorry about that dude, slides right into the dry trash can. Then it's time to refresh the trap after a hosing down, and reset it.

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  42. Chris, I remember my dad carrying a trap out of the pantry every morning as we ate our Cheerios. Didn't bother me when someone else had the job.

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