Everything but…

Four missed calls turned into five, then six.  The joy of being on-call was overshadowed by the joy of being on-call with an absent supervisor.  However, I was a dutiful worker and answered the seventh missed call that came shortly after the sixth.  It was still early in the day; the sky was already filled with light and waiting for the sun to break through the morning clouds.

“Puney, we have a real emergency,” a man exclaimed.

Finally, I thought, a real emergency.  Not just that someone left their window open and a swarm of bees moved in or that smoke was filtering up through the floorboards from the boiler room.  It was a real live emergency, possibly something to make this on-call business worth-while.

“What’s going on?” I asked skeptical of his claim.

“We caught the big one last night,” the man rushed on excitedly.  “He been in there since about one this morning, he fought real hard at first.  We all heard him shaking the cage and hissing and slamming around trying to get out. Then it rained and now he’s just shivering.  You got to call the pest guy to pick him up, he’s really shaking.”

This did qualify as an emergency, Mr. Big was finally in captivity. We were to meet face to snout, at last.  I grabbed my bag, slipped into a pair of boots and headed out on a rescue/removal mission. 

Imagining the creature cold and wet all night, frantically trying to escape from his wire prison filled me with an irrational guilt.  We were at war, I shouldn’t have any feelings for the enemy.  Mr. Big knocked over the trash cans and dragged litter across the lawn almost every night, he taunted the neighbor’s cat and most recently had jumped out of a trashcan at a child.  Although provoked, Mr. Big scared the parents enough to get the neighborhood riled up and on the hunt for a raccoon of monstrous proportions and a luxurious coat.  He was at the wrong place at the wrong time but that didn’t matter, his fate was decided by the fear mongering crowd that day.  

Parking outside of the building, I ran around the back to the dumpster where half of a trap stuck out from underneath of a sheet of plywood.  A motionless, wet lump of dark fur was curled up in the back of the cage, like a pile of old grease rags.

“He’s dead,” I declared with no small amount of sadness and disappointment.  We had been at odds for so long, dealing with his mayhem was a part of the job.  For it to come to this cruel end, I felt responsible and regretted my part in hiring Gary, the self proclaimed answer to all pest problems. 

One shiny black eye was open but unblinking and there was no sign of breathing.  I pulled up my sleeves, pushed the fear of rabies out of mind, and prepared to start CPR.  You’re not going to die on my watch, Mr. Big.  Not after all this time.

Then the eye blinked, saving me from the life saving measures I was prepared to undergo to bring the creature back into the world.  The pile of fur began to inhale and exhale as it righted itself and shuffled to the end of the cage to greet its prison warden with a friendly wave.

To my shock, the animal was surprisingly small with thin fur, more of a miss than a mister, and almost certainly an imposter!

We caught the wrong one.  Mr. Big outsmarted the world that conspired against him, yet again.  I gave a little cheer under my breath, forever a fan of the underdog.  

In the words of Paul Harvey, “and now you know the rest of the story.”

mr big 

Short Fuse

monkey
Norm raised his hand feigning respect, “I was just wondering,” he started and hesitated, “I already know the answer, but I want to hear you say it.”

A silver bracelet fell down his forearm with his hand still in the air. He wore a turquoise ring on his middle finger that was as large and obnoxious as his personality.

He continued. “Do you think it is necessary to read poetry in order to write it?”

The instructor also wore silver; hammered half-moons dangled from her ears.

“Yes, you have to read…”

“Wait a minute, I wasn’t finished with my question,” he interrupted the instructor’s soft stream of words.

A snarl started to spread over my face.

The instructor took a deep breath and removed her glasses, a two-step, Norm-deflecting technique to regain her inner peace.

Without waiting for the instructor’s response, he continued. “What I was driving at…”

Norm went on but I could no longer hear him. I did not practice Norm-deflecting techniques. Red filled my eyes and the room went silent. I could only hear the pounding of blood in my head and feel my heart beating in my chest.

Like battle drums. Boom. Boom. Boom. They demanded action.

I leapt from the back row up and over the shared table-desk with the war cry of a wild Borneo monkey.
“Aieeeeeeeeeeeee….”

I landed square on Norm’s fat back and he stopped talking.

“Shut up!” I thought I screamed and shook his head mercilessly.

Later, I learned my words came out as a continuation of the newly acquired Borneo monkey language.

Norm grabbed at his chest as his eyes bulged out and his greasy, worm-lips moved with wordless gasping.

It looked like he was mouthing either, “Get help,” or more likely, “I’ll sue you for this.”

A few minutes later the ambulance arrived and Norm was carried out on a stretcher.

The drumbeat no longer called for battle;it announced victory.

It’s been a few months and I now have a lot of Norm-and-others-like-Norm deflecting techniques to use. The judge won’t like to hear this but even after all of the therapy, medication, and electroshock, I can’t help but to feel like a hero.

A certified, bonafide hero.

Blog Stats

  • 6,062 hits