February 17, 2003

They Are Rats! Rats with Cute Furry Tails, but Rats!

In my view, Rich Baker has (i) read the works of science fiction writer Geegory Benford a little too intensively, and (ii) gone a little too far in empathizing with the squirrels who are now using their incisors to destroy key portions of his house:

Death lurking in darkness: The family has started to become comfortable within the Artefact. The vast pillars that stretch towards a ceiling lost in darkness seem almost as natural as trees, the strange machines scattered across the floor as familiar and comforting as bushes. It's almost easy for them to forget that this place is utterly alien, that it and all of its contents were manufactured and then seemingly forgotten by intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic. They've almost ceased to consider what godlike creatures could discard so many pieces of technological detritus.

What the family doesn't know is that lurking out there in the dark are infinitely patient machines whose only purpose is killing. Perhaps they will wait an hour or a day or a month, but they will strike. The vast silent spaces will be filled with sudden, unexpected violence. There will be a blur of metal, the motion faster than thought. Then there will be pain for a brief, brilliant moment. Then there will be death, and silence once more

All of which is by way of saying that the guy from the council has supplemented the poison in our loft with mechanical squirrel traps. My newest duty is to check these each morning to confirm kills. I can't say I'm too happy about any of this, but we are now all suffering from highly disturbed sleep because of squirrels running around up there, and if I'm feeling this sleepy right now then my dad must be feeling much worse. Only now I can't sleep, because every time I hear a squirrel I expect to hear the bang of a trap being triggered, and it's the only thing I can think about in those quiet hours late at night...

Posted by DeLong at February 17, 2003 07:59 AM | TrackBack

The Chinese word for squirrel is, in fact, sung-shu = "pine-rat". And they are omnivorous too. And they carry rabies. But they're so darn cute! I lived in a cabin once which was taken over by a bushy-tailed wood rat (= pack-rat I think). Objectively speaking (?) they're pretty cute too, but not when they've taken over your residence. (We could always tell where the rat was, because our fierce cat would go to the opposite corner of the cabin and stay there).

Posted by: zizka on February 18, 2003 02:39 PM
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