This weekend I was watering some new grass in the yard when I spotted something small and furry out of the corner of my eye. At first I thought it was a rabbit. But then I looked closer–a rat foraging right next to our wood fence! Gross.
Before I could think, I instinctively squirted him (?) with the hose, hoping he would take off. He didn’t. Instead, he meandered like a drunk along the fence, half-heartedly looking for a way out of the yard. I went to a different part of the yard, assuming the rat would find his way out. (Not having invited him in the first place, I felt no obligation to personally escort him.)
About a half-hour later, I looked to see if he was still there. Yup. At this point, I had a shovel in my hand from moving some dirt. My first thought was to scoop the rat over the wooden stockade fence into the neighbor’s yard. But I instantly realized how wrong, terrifying, and absurd it would be if I were the neighbor and a rat suddenly came flying over the fence from next door.
By now I had figured out that something was not quite right with this rat. It was lethargic and I concluded it must have eaten some poison somewhere. So I gingerly scooped him up with a shovel and rake and walked to the alley. The rat didn’t really resist. I plopped him in a grassy spot under the el tracks behind the house.
That’s where I found him the next morning. He must have gone to the big rat hole in the sky with the sound of the el tracks as background noise. A true Chicago death.