In the End, Only Quentin Tarantino Could Do It Justice: Part IV


More of that.

Then some silence.

After two minutes, Groom finally put down his bowl of ice cream and meandered over to my prone form. Holding his spoon up to my mouth and noting that it fogged up with my breath, he returned to his snack and enjoyed the unaccustomed silence.

The next day, I came to. By then, Groomeo had set up a borrowed squirrel trap near Banana Alley in our kitchen and also bought a rat trap, which he set in the oven drawer.

Occasionally, over the next few days, he would stand at the back kitchen door and wave out to me in the little lean-to I had pitched in out in the raspberry patch. It was a small space, certainly, but it provided enough room for me, a sleeping bag, and Tuppy–not that I needed Tuppy, what with the great out of doors known as God’s Toilet all around me, but I’d brought my little chamber pot pal along for company and sanity saving, a la Tom Hanks and Wilson in CASTAWAY.

My, but Tuppy was cute once I drew a face on him. I spent many an hour back there amongst the raspberries, marveling at the clarity of his complexion, rubbing his back, asking him about his childhood in the factory.

Oh, all right, I didn’t really move out to the raspberry patch, but I sure as Stuart Little shadowed Groom more tightly than usual after the RAT pronouncement—no mean feat, since I always spend a fair amount of time latched onto his skin. It is, after all, very, very soft.

Indeed, we had a Velcro marriage for a few weeks, as we waited for the traps to spring and my soul to be released from bondage.

A visual metaphor for the marriage during this time.

The live trap proved no help, as the beast in the kitchen was small enough to get inside to eat the peanut butter…yet big enough to keep the trap door from snapping closed behind him as he ate.

How did I know he was male, you ask? Did I ever undertake any gender-typing examination, you wonder?

Effing screaming hellbats of yore, no I did not. However, I did find out later that he was actually very scrawny. And, in my experience (which includes the time I glanced at a jar of Jif and gained four pounds), anything that can eat loads of peanut butter every night and remain underweight is unquestionably male.

Eventually, then, we gave up on the live squirrel trap. It was up to the rat trap to bring home the glory and allow a foot of physical space to come between Groom and me. That “tight all the time” business was a bit too middle school even for my juvenile sensibility. We’d be walking around with our hands slipped into the back pockets of each other’s Levi 501’s, and suddenly I’d be possessed with the urge to yell out, randomly, “Hey, Mr. Murphy! That was a really tough pop quiz you gave in geometry yesterday!!”

One night, as we lay sleeping upstairs, we heard a loud clank down in the kitchen. Sitting up simultaneously, due to the Velcro, we managed to look at each other in a fashion both bleary and alarmed.

Is it Santa? I wondered to myself, hopefully. I did need new socks.

Alas, no. The sound had been that of a rat trap snapping shut inside an oven drawer. Peeling away the Velcro, I helpfully shoved Groom out of the bed, murmuring, “Go get ‘em, Tiger. And don’t forget to wear gloves when you deal with it. The Plague has been awaiting its chance to resurge.”

Two minutes later, Groom’s feet trudged back up the stairs, and he climbed back into bed with a “Rat bastard sprang the trap but got away.”

How very O.J. Simpson of him.

True to fashion, Groom was snoring thirty seconds later. To my credit, it only took me two more hours before I stopped listening for the sound of tiny scrabbling feet on the stair case.

The cool thing about rats, though, is that they’re slow learners.

Two nights later, we heard the same metallic clank; I gave the same shove; but this time, Groom was gone for some time.

In fact, I was listening to the third song sung by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Joey Bishop by the time he returned.

“Well,” he said, coming into the bedroom. “That was really gross.”

Because Groom is both of Norwegian extraction and an emergency First Responder, he doesn’t shake easily, I realized immediately that the fewer details I knew, the better the rest of my life would be. “So, um, it’s dead?”

“Yea. And it was gross.” He actually shuddered.

“It was ginormous, right, because how could it be small if it had all the world’s darkness powered by universal energies of malevolence and then packed into one body?” I needed to know.

“No, actually it was scrawny.” Despite the peanut butter. “But long.” Like a pole vaulter.

“Where’d you put it?” I asked, needing to know where not to look.

“Don’t worry. You won’t ever see it where I put it.”

Was it in the dishwasher, then? Perhaps the washing machine?

“So it’s over. It’s actually over.”

And it was. The only remnants of that night, in fact, are memories of my fear and my love of Tuppy, who still sleeps under my side of the bed

…and the fact that I can never see Groom in only his boxers and a pair of gardening gloves without having an adrenaline surge.

But that’s a whole ‘nother story.




24 responses to “In the End, Only Quentin Tarantino Could Do It Justice: Part IV”

  1. monica Avatar

    This is better than … the late night comedy show!! :o)))
    “Is it Santa? I wondered to myself, hopefully. I did need new socks.” Thanks Jocelyn – you make my day!! and I’ll be back ( she said, the Arnold way..)

  2. monica Avatar

    your 8.05 am is my 3.05 pm….
    another day in the office is soon over… :o)

  3. Jeni Avatar

    I love your prose. Especially the little descriptive elements -like asking Tuppy what life was like at the factory and such. Please tell me when you are going to write a book, replete with all these hilarious stories. You’d be a best-selling author, like Jean Kerr and her “Please Don’t Eat The Daisies.” Never fails to get an audible chuckle from me as I read your stuff.

  4. Jazz Avatar

    I have to ask: Does Groom often wear gardening gloves with his boxers?

  5. lime Avatar

    ya know, i have come to realize i could do a tropical version of this featuring gargantuan cockroaches only mine ends in a less triumphant manner as eventually all i requested was that my own groom flick off any of the foul creatures he found on my head when he awoke to empty his bladder in the sultry night.

    i still agree if it were a rat, i’d have become a velcro wife too.

  6. furiousBall Avatar

    velcro wife is far superior to wiffle wife, whenever it’s windy – you can hear wiffle wife coming from a mile away

  7. Green Girl in Wisconsin Avatar
    Green Girl in Wisconsin

    don’t care what Disney tries to make us think–rats are really icky.

  8. Maddy Avatar

    Hysterical. Married life, how do we ever survive! And ‘needing to know where not to look’ that would be me too.
    p.s. sorry you didn’t manage to persuade Lime to dance.

  9. Kylie w Warszawie Avatar
    Kylie w Warszawie

    I love the line about the thing eaton the peanut butter being male. I love it mostly because my husband and I have just started some bodybuilder diet where he eats 3000 calories a day and gains no weight. I eat exactly half of what he eats and I don’t lose weight.

    Anyway, I haven’t forgotten you. I may be starting a new blog that my husbands family doesn’t read so I can tell the really good stories!

  10. Chantal Avatar

    oh ya, male for sure!

  11. chelle Avatar

    hehe glad it was caught!
    Rat traps are nasty … almost as nasty as rats!

  12. ArtSparker Avatar

    A horror tory with a horrific/happy ending.

  13. citizen of the world Avatar
    citizen of the world

    So let me make sure I’ve got the gist of your last four posts: You discovered you had a rat, set a trap and now it’s dead?

  14. heartinsanfrancisco Avatar

    Way to go, Quentin. It sounds as if Groom’s Norwegian ancestry and his First Responder status make him the ideal husband. I am fond of telling people that “Flip is a married man — he’s used to horrible sights.” And he isn’t even Norwegian. Or a First Responder. Of course the horrible sights I reference have to do with me wearing a blue mask on my face to calm hives. Speak of gross.

    Did you get a new oven when the ordeal was over, even for the rat? Now there’s your final shot, zooming in on a gleaming new ratless kitchen with appliances in some unusual color and of course, all new Tupperware.

  15. flutter Avatar

    I have an “effing screaming hellbats of yore” tattoo on my butt, and I am just wondering how you knew.

  16. Midlife Jobhunter Avatar
    Midlife Jobhunter

    “Indeed, we had a Velcro marriage for a few weeks, as we waited for the traps to spring and my soul to be released from bondage.”

    Drama at its best. Glad you caught them. i noticed a few mice turds around the cabin last week. I say mouse as I don’t want to fathom anything larger. I’ll pass this task on to my husband. Yes, I’m a puss when it comes to somethings. I could do the mouse, but not a rat.

  17. maggie, dammit Avatar
    maggie, dammit

    If I’da known velcro was that strong I’da wrapped myself in beer bottles a long, long time ago.

  18. Becky Cazares Avatar
    Becky Cazares

    Ahh, the long-awaited season finale! I’ve been on pins and needles!

    I’m with heartinsanfrancisco. A brand spanking new oven is certainly in the offing, right? Oh, and new Tupperware, too, of course.

  19. kmkat Avatar

    I bow to your powers of description. “Effing screaming hellbats of yore” has such a poetical rhythm to it 😉

  20. actonbell Avatar

    Wonderful writing, great story:)

  21. Pam Avatar

    In my early teaching days I shared a farmhouse with a woman who did all those Groom rat-trapping adventures and disposal techniques without batting an eyelid, but then she probably slaughtered the sheep back home as well.

  22. cathy Avatar

    I loved the “velcro marriage” expression 🙂

    I’m not so happy with the squashed rodent images that my mind keeps trying to conjure up though.

  23. ArtSparker Avatar

    Here is a link to the 27th edition of American Illustration on amazon.

    However, it;s a bit of an investment…you might want to just look in an art store or large bookstore in the big city beofre investing it.

    I do like Brian Andreas’ work, I found out about it many years ago when I went to an open studio at his house in Berkeley.

  24. Karen MEG Avatar
    Karen MEG

    J, this was too, too hilarious. I am laughing out loud and my husband is looking at me like I’m a lunatic. Velcro not so much, right about now.

    Now a toolbelt, hubs should wear that, it would send you right over the edge wouldn’t it?

    We had a tiny, wee mouse that was in our basement for weeks on end one summer. The man bought a “humane” trap, and the darn bugger gnawed around the trap and got the cheese. Hubby felt mocked and would not stand for it.

    So got a real mousetrap and the poor little mousey got it in the end.

    Rats, though, are a whole nuther story. Your husband is a brave man.

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