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Valley Views for Dec. 22, 2021

A battle of purpose

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Packrat likes Prius. Wonderful engineering, mysterious passageways, fun, twisty-turns, tubing, wild sculpture unheeded expressions of unhinged art; must be a wonderful nesting opportunity somewhere in here, if she could only find it. 

And so she looks, she’s young, the world is hers for exploring, and what a world, unlike any she’s ever seen before. Just wait until she has kids and shows them this! 

But wait… there’s a problem. A big problem, in the form of the twelve-year-old dog, the one with the good nose, knowing the rat is in the mysterious twisty spaces of the Prius engine compartment. 

One wants to evade the other; a chase can’t take place, there’s no room, no space, though the old mutt gives it her all, trying to force her body under the too-narrow space under the car. It doesn’t work; she groans and growls with frustration, snaps her considerable teeth in despair, she wants that vermin between them! She knows her duty, but the rat knows hers too, to live, to reproduce, to find the safe haven, which she thought, for a while, she had found, and she continues climbing over the wild metallic countryside, valve covers, wires, alternator, pulleys, fans, manifold, many slick surfaces and divots, valleys dips and rises, wires in and out, and inviting almost-perfect places to nest. 

If only, if only, if only that damned dog weren’t growling and snapping and running from tire to tire, lunging at the grill, now tearing at the fenders with maniacal jaws slashing with viciousness and utter disregard for physics. Look! She is making the car shake! Listen! She is making the car zing with the sounds of teeth on plastic, teeth on metal, feet pawing frantically on tires, ripping on anything to try to get at that rat, so that, by the time the writer of this piece happened out of the house to come upon this drama, the front fender of the wonderful Prius was actually, truly, nearly punctured from dog’s teeth. The fender looked as if it had been peppered with blasts from a 12-gauge double-barreled shotgun! It must be seen to be believed. Perhaps the packrat, still in the engine compartment, is laughing hysterically tucked away by the fluid reservoir, the fuse box, the movie-house of the interior. In any case, the horror, once discovered, was put to a stop by said dog being brought into the house and properly congratulated on being such a good guard dog (wagging her tail, appropriately), and the rat extricated by use of one of those plug-in sonar high-pitched squeal things one buys for troublesome mice, rats, squirrels and the like. We had one. 

I plugged it in, hung it in the engine compartment, and soon enough, let rat-detecting Willow out of the house again to see if she’d still detect a rat in the engine compartment of the wounded Prius and after sniffing thoroughly around it, she looked at us with her definitive and disappointing (to her) answer: No. No rat. Rat-Be-Gone. 

End of story.


Eugene Beckes

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