…And If the Coen Brothers Won’t Direct It, Don’t You Think Jonathan Demme Could Tap into the Necessary Pathos?

Part II:

Subconsciously, of course, I had an inkling about the culprit.

Them was animal scats.

Looking at Former Naturalist Groom, I pled, “You used to teach Small Mammals class…so what creature emitted this junk?”

In our marriage, this question is the equivalent of “Does this make me look fat?” in other marriages. The poor male needed to be very, very careful how he answered.

You see, it’s possible I have a wee issue with things rodential. I had missed classes in college due to encountering squirrels on the path; I had called the police when a bat got into my house; I had experienced a mini-nervous breakdown in junior high when the end of my neighbor’s hamster’s tail broke off in her hand (and this, before that same hamster killed and partially ate his compatriot the time I pet sat).

Groom was aware of both my history and my desire for honesty. Thus, he didn’t want to affirm or deny the possibility that a creature with clawed, scrabbly feet, a pointed tale, and a lust for blood might reside within our house.

Cleverly, he drew upon his history of teaching diplomacy to student naturalists and answered my question as he would have the “Does this make me look fat?” query:

“Well, what do you think?”

What I thought was that it was time to pack my bags and head to a hotel until a team of eleventy-seven pest control professionals had rid the house of every possible rodent, even if they had to inject the place with clouds of toxic gasses that would subsequently cause the fetus in my belly to grow three eyes.

Turns out, what Groom thought was that the drawer was full of something clearly larger than mouse emissions and that they had come from a shrew or a vole. His reasoned reaction entailed not a week in a hotel but rather getting some traps, yet—hello, Einstein Trump–traps do not even come with a swimming pool or air conditioning or cable tv, so where was the fun in that?

Harrumphing, I watched from the corner, arms crossed, while he set a handful of traps later that day. As I harrumphed, I realized that the traps were all in the kitchen, and the kitchen was an essential part of my nocturnal route to the bathroom. I couldn’t get to Bathroom without Kitchen. Hmmm. Suddenly, having considered the logistics and realizing Kitchen Bypass = exploding bladder, I found myself on the horns of a dilemma.

Harrumphing even more, I distracted myself by musing about The Strange Case of the Half-Eaten Banana, a mystery that had been unfolding inside my work bag that week. Every night, I would put a banana into my satchel and lean the bag against the back kitchen door, where I could grab it on my way out the next morning. Strangely, a couple of times that week, when I would get to my office and fish around my bag for the banana, I’d find it already half eaten. Pretty high-larious practical joke, O Uninspired Family, is what I’d been thinking up until the day of Rodent Squizz in the Oven Drawer.



Gnawed-upon bananas and masses of excrement beneath the cookie baker and no place to relieve myself—all these traumas mixed together in my psyche, as I faced the truth of wildlife afoot inside my home.

And it wore a tiny t-shirt reading “I Defecate for Potassium!”


Part III pending…





20 responses to “…And If the Coen Brothers Won’t Direct It, Don’t You Think Jonathan Demme Could Tap into the Necessary Pathos?”

  1. Kylie w Warszawie Avatar
    Kylie w Warszawie

    Hubby has a thing against creepy crawlies. Every summer we have an ant infestation in our house. Every summer we call out our landlords to fix it and every summer they come and hand me a pamphlet and spray or don’t spray some poison and go on their merry way.

    This time, hubby has decided caulking will fix it (remember, we don’t own this house). So he caulks up every crack if he sees an ant come out of it. Our house has the distinct feel of a gingerbread house. Which seems like a cool thing to live in, but really, it’s not.

  2. monica Avatar

    Ha, I can’t wait for part III – wonder when the redeeming ending is revealed… part VII or so? don’t you worry, I keep coming back – every day actually… am a loyal fan..
    the hamsters tail fell off?
    we had a pair of small blue birds once, a male and a female, the male hackered th female to death, then lost all his feathers and then grieved himself to death…hm..

  3. heartinsanfrancisco Avatar

    I am far more afraid of rodential humans, of which I know several. None of them, to my knowledge, has ever squizzed in my oven drawer, though I could be wrong.

    I await breathlessly the revelation of whether the offending creature was in fact a vole or shrew — or o.t.h.e.r. furry, young-eating example of nature, red in tooth and claw.

  4. ArtSparker Avatar

    Bananas placed elsewhere? Expectant rodent of some mind?

  5. Glamourpuss Avatar


    Really. Ew.


  6. Jazz Avatar

    Well? Well?

    You can’t just start a story and leave me hanging this way!!! This isn’t LOST!!!

    Besides as a wise old man once told me, little creatures don’t eat big creatures.

    Well, except for that hamster maybe, he might have eaten a human. That was an evil ass hamster.

  7. furiousBall Avatar

    You know what we call the brown parts of a banana?


    we are teh awesomes

  8. lime Avatar

    i am gagging in sympathy thinking you may have for many days on end eaten the remaining half a banana not knowing….

  9. Shania Avatar

    Please tell me the rat didn’t eat your banana.


  10. steve Avatar

    Clues are revealed in your banana photo. Said rodent carries a paring knife.

    My friend in Hawaii, topical rat paradise, has staredowns with the critters in his home. The rats, after winning, allegedly snicker.

  11. Bethany Avatar

    I totally would call the police if there was a bat in my house and no one to catch it. Or, at least, hide in my bedroom until someone missed me.

    Deep respect that you didn’t bolt for the hotel. Deep.

  12. phd in yogurtry Avatar
    phd in yogurtry

    It was me. I ate the banana.

  13. actonbell Avatar

    I am really sorry to hear about your hamster experience. That’s rough.

    You’ve got a mighty interesting mystery unfolding here!

  14. Jeni Avatar

    I think what you will really need for your house is a really effective little thing that will keep the rodent population at bay and in probably about 4-6 weeks from now, I would gladly ship three of the four lovely little kittens we have here to your home. I would even pay for the shipping fees, mind you!
    Bats – ugh and double ugh! Mice don’t really frighten me -once I get past the initial sighting of one, that is. But bats -now those things totally do me in! One got in granddaughter Maya’s bedroom last spring or summer and she woke up in the middle of the night, screaming for her mother cause there was a “Black bird flying in my bedroom!” The son-in-law played the super-hero role quite well as he protected the females from the little beast, caught it and tossed it out the window!

  15. Pam Avatar

    Nooooooo. You were supposed to tell me in this post!!!. The suspense is getting to me! It’s like a bizzare riddle “What chews bananas, poos in oven drawers, and mystifies pregnant ladies?” Wish I knew the answer. Wish also that my bum would drop off. No such luck.

  16. musingwoman Avatar

    About that bat in your house, I say calling the police was totally justified!

  17. jess Avatar

    This is starting to sound eerily familiar. I used to live in a neighborhood that bordered a large wooded park and the animal tales I have…

    Waiting breathlessly for the conclusion (and hoping it did not entail you crawling onto the roof to release a mother raccoon from the trap your landlords had paid for. Not that that’s ever happened to me, ‘hem.

    p.s. Jeni, can I have the kittens if Jocelyn doesn’t want them?

  18. citizen of the world Avatar
    citizen of the world

    What if it’s a racon – those are rodents. But how can you not like squirrels? They are adorable.

  19. Green Girl in Wisconsin Avatar
    Green Girl in Wisconsin

    A possum? THis is killing me.

  20. Karen MEG Avatar
    Karen MEG

    Ooof… I’d buy the T-shirt.

    This is good, J, so good…

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