Okay, not exactly a scream. It must be so satisfying to scream like Jamie Lee Curtis in "Halloween," but I've never been able to shriek like that. I yell or bellow; it's the best I can do. I did bellow last night, but that just doesn't have the same ring, does it?
After moving the desecrated box of diaper wipes yesterday, I went back to start the chores for the day. Some time ago, Thing had gnawed a hole in the cover of the barrel of chicken scratch. As long as the barrel was full, he could get himself in, raid the grain, and get out. Yesterday he made an error in judgement and dropped into a nearly empty barrel and was trapped. I lifted the lid and found myself looking into Thing's beady eyes.
Thing is a rat. Not one of those huge, urban Norwegian rats, but a smaller wood rat, about eight inches in body length with a ten-inch bald tail. Thing hooked me firmly on the horns of a dilemma. I needed to get grain for the chickens. He was sitting on the grain or racing in circles. Mice scare me not one whit, but Thing was a lot bigger, showing gnarly teeth and making growly noises and he has a proven record of bad attitude. I didn't want to reach into the bottom of the barrel and take the chance of Thing biting me or racing up my arm. Mice in my britches is one thing, rats are another. Well, a person does what a person has to do and I moved faster than I've ever done and scooped out a can of grain for the hens before Thing could react. I jammed the lid back on and went about my business. The problems mounted in my mind: there was not enough room in the barrel to swing a bat. If I shot him, I'd blow a hole in a perfectly good grain barrel. If I left him in the barrel, he'd die a slow death of dehydration (and from overeating). While I wished Thing gone, I don't like to think of any animal suffering. What to do, what to do? For the time being, I did nothing.
As evening approached, I knew I had to face the enemy again. I had been worrying. Thing had been plotting. My plan was to drop a small bucket over Thing to contain him while I got grain for the chickens. Thing thought otherwise. I dropped the bucket. Thing scrambled out from underneath and used the bucket as a stepping stone to launch himself up and over my shoulder and out to freedom. I bellowed.
Now I worry about retaliation.