Once again, I’ve gladly accepted the furniture cast-offs of those that either routinely upgrade their aesthetics or die. Luckily, my parents are alive and well. They just want better outdoor furniture. And as our overgrown backyard is barren and furniture-less, Dad rented a truck and appeared at 10pm Monday night with a chaise, a table and 3 matching chairs. In the spirit of Spotswood consistency, he also brought a bottle on wine.
As Mike, Dad and I carried the new stuff through the house and out back, we remembered to warn dad to watch his step outside.
“Well, Dick. There’s a dead rat out there.”
“Oh yeah, Dad. We’ve got a dead rat in our backyard. It’s super gross.”
“Well, why don’t you get rid of it?”
“Because we don’t want to touch it. Duh.”
“You have to burry it, guys. It’s a health and safety issue. Don’t you have a shovel?”
“Do we look like we have a shovel?”
We tiptoed around the rat and arranged our new outdoor set. The next evening, as I sat in my office overwhelmed by work and staring at the rain, I watched a soaked and disheveled man make his way up the steps to the front door carrying brand new shovels of varying sizes. “Um, hi Dad.”
“Hi Bethy! I went to Sloat. I bought you and Mike some shovels. You’ve really got to bury that rat. And I’ll come over and work in the garden when the rain’s stopped. But really. That rat’s gotta go.”
“Okay. That’s awesome. Thanks.”
My father departed just as suddenly as he arrived, and I was left to answer the curious looks from my co-workers. “Yes. We have a rat in our backyard. I told you. I live in the ghetto.”
Last night, I picked up Andy and met Mikey at home. “Oh Andy, I need you to help me carry some stuff in.”
I pulled the shovels from my trunk as Andy laughed. “This looks like the work of your dad. Cuz, girl, I know you’d never buy this shit. That’s some fancy ass shovels.”
I explained the rat situation as we walked inside and handed the shovels to Mike.
“Well, gravediggers. Get busy.”
Andy is hardly squeamish, so as Mike dug a hole, Andy poked and prodded the dead rodent.
“Okay, okay!” Mike yelled. “Throw that rat in here.”
Andy scooped up the corpse, posed for a picture and over-handed it directly into Mikey’s prepared grave. They really were quite a team, my adorable in-house pest service. As we headed out to Chinese food, I marveled at big city living. In the past week, I’ve seen identically hideous twin prostitutes, a man shooting heroin between his toes and a suit-clad Mikey standing in the backyard digging a grave for a dead rat…