Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Author Fends Off Killer Rat

(Warning: screaming, cussing, ranting and hilarity below)

This happened last night. It scared me silly, but my husband laughed his ass off when I told him about it.

Last October, my father-in-law, Charlie, passed away. He was one of those odd souls who didn’t like to clean or have much to take care of, so he chose to live in a small camper. He had his TV, his DVD player, VHS player, and a radio; everything you could fit into an efficiency apartment was in that camper.

Well, this summer, my husband finally moved the camper to the house, and the girls and I turned it into my get-away office. Now some of you might have read a blog that I wrote about Charlie and the mysterious coffee cup that he used. Well, Charlie was also the most mischievous old fart you can imagine....

Last night, the snow fell hard, the wind blew hard, and by dark, a couple of inches of the white stuff coated the ground. Matthew turned the heat on in the camper, and later, I made my way out there to work on revisions for a paranormal romance I’ve finished. The wind blew so fiercely that the camper swayed and vibrated.

The scene that I was working on involved a scary moment for my protagonist. A big rat enters a public restroom and turns into this vaporous she-monster. Something began knocking behind me where I always sit. At first it startled me, and I jumped. It kept rapping, so I thought maybe the window wasn’t secured, but after checking it, I discovered that it was. Rap. Rap. Thonk. Bang. Frowning, I thought maybe it was tree limb because the camper sits under a big maple with low branches, or it might have been that the wind had torn the under penning loose.

The black rat thing in the novel’s scene transformed and attacked the heroine. The heroine escaped its claws and trapped it in a toilet stall.

A gust of wind slammed into the camper. Rap. Thonk. Bang!

The rat transformed into the vaporous yet half-solid monster, and the heroine beat it with her purse until the restaurant manager walked into the bathroom. The she-thing disappeared into a puff of smoke. The heroine told the manager a story about a big rat that jumped into the toilet and crawled down the hole.

Something rattled next to me—on the damn table.

I glanced over at my elbow. A long, dark tail slipped by and hid under the mirrored Faith shelf you see in that photo.


I leaped out of the bench seat and stood in my oh-so-big 24″ x 24″ living area and screamed some more.

Now, mind you, I don’t do girly-girl screams. Nope. Not me. I’m an Appalachian gal. I let out war whoops that can clear a football stadium and put the fear of God into my kids. Even my husband will vacate the premises when I’m startled or scared. Why? Because scaring me pisses me off. (Thank you psycho ex-husband!)

“You li’l son of a bitch!” I performed a jig in my oh-so-big living area.

The “huge” rodent ran out from under the shelf on the table, up over my big pillow, over the top of the books in the corner (there are several in that corner behind the red dictionary), and across the long shelf behind the bench seat. The li’l snot jumped up on the stovetop and stopped. It stopped! It sat up on its hind legs and looked at me! Looked at me!

“You li’l bastard! Get! Get out o’ here! You’re not welcome!”

I swear, its beady, black eyes appeared as if they were going to explode from its head. (I imagine mine did too, but that’s beside the point.) The rodent ran along the back wall, around the covered sink and the jam box playing Hotel California (how ironic is that???), down to the furnace, and jumped from it to the floor.

“Get lost, you furry son of a bitch! You’re not welcome here! Out!”

It disappeared through the crack in the bathroom door.

Exhausted, I stood there for a moment, then decided to go to the garage where my husband was sitting by the pot-bellied stove. I told him my story.

“And if your dad came back as a mouse,” I ranted, “he’s now in the bathroom shitting a brick!” I finished my story, and my husband howled with laughter.

No, it wasn’t a rat that whizzed by my arm on the table, but seeing that frickin’ li’l black tail after tweaking a scene in a paranormal romance that involves a rat really wigged me out.

Later, when I went back to the camper, the mouse came out from under the bunk. I realized that he was a determined li’l bastard; there was something he wanted. Then it occurred to me. Snow, cold, and hunger. My oldest boy had left a bag of sunflower seeds in the camper, so I sprinkled some on the floor. Mr. FIL in Mouse Form slipped out, snatched a seed, and scurried under the bed where I heard him munching away.

And Charlie? Well, I truly believe his presence is in that camper. Too many odd things happen out there in that writer’s get-away. And since he delighted in reading my fiction and teasing me to pieces, I’m not surprised that he was reading over my shoulder again.

If he came back in mouse form, he better behave from now on. I don’t mind sharing the space and yes, I’m a soft touch...but just don’t startle me while I’m revising scary scenes.


Desirée Lee said...


Now for shits and giggles, you (and the heroine) ought to make a nice Ratatouille for supper and you can both laugh over it.

Carpe Noctem,

Desirée Lee
Putting the Romance Back in Necromancy

Lisa Griffin said...

Ya know, Faith. You say you feel Charlie's presence when you're there. Maybe his sense of humor was coming through. What better way to pull a prank than when you're reading that RAT scene. ROFL. Nana nana nana.... He knew it'd give you the willies. Hehe!

*shivers* I've read that scene.

Faith said...

It's funny now, but it wasn't when it happened, LMAO!

Adelle said...

OMG LOL Only you,Faith...only you!

Jackie said...


Delores Walker said...

Thanks for the chuckles.

Faith said...

::snort!:: I have such a sympathetic crowd, LMAO!

Anthology Authors said...


I actually had a mouse run by my foot once while going the bathroom. I lived with my parents at the time. It came out from a hole under the toilet. Yeah, startled me just a bit. LOLOL

My mom has a mouse in her house too, but she doesn't want it. (I don't blame her. It can do a lot of damage.) I told her that our cats would have a field day with a mouse. (grin) I wouldn't be too happy as I'm not into that. They were ecstatic when we had cockroaches (long since gone). I can only imagine what they'd do with a small, furry animal.


Lisa Griffin said...

Marci, my kitties catch field mice in the yard and use them for toys. lol. If I see, I make them let the poor things go.:)

Kim Smith said...

OMG. This was the best ever!Thanks for the laugh!

Romantic Heretic said...

Snicker. *grin*

Great story.

Kissa Starling said...

hahaha Oh, this would have thrown me over the edge! I'd be in intensive care right now. I'm glad you handled it as well as you did.


M.E Ellis said...



Anna said...

OMG! There wouldn't have been any walls left on the camper had it been me.. I'm scared to death of those furry little buggers YUCK!

You stayed so cool and collected, I got a chuckle out of it but had it been me. I'd have screamed and about been in convulsions..

erotiwriter said...


OMg Faith! I would've freaked out! I really am not that afraid of mices, but my friends are. We have mice on one of the floors where I work, and they all freak out. That's what's hilarious! lol


Faith said...

I'm not afraid of mice, perse, but tweakig that rat scene in the novel, then seeing that really wigged me out.

Anonymous said...

Oh my I would have jumped through the roof!! I have a story for you. I use to live with my father in Minn. We had this A frame house with a fireplace. Well I got to sleep downstairs and my dad forgot to shut the flute for the fireplace. I was only 15 at the time when something woke me up and it flew at me. Covers went over my head and I could see the bat crawl up the covers. I was screaming so loud my step mom came running down and the bat flew at her. She trapped it in the closet so I could run out of the room. She told me to wake my dad well dad just rolled over. My step mom opened my windows in my room and the closet door. We shut the door and I slept upstairs. The next morning my dad comes down stairs and said he had this weird dream I woke him up saying a bat was in my room barb and I looked at him and busted out laughing. Till this day bats give me the creeps and I always make sure the fireplaces are closed!

Faith said...

That's happened more than once in various homes I've had here in SE Ohio. Those li'l bats can be wicked! I've knocked a few out of the air with a broom and pitched them outside.

dlgould said...

That happened to me and my daughter, but we were in my car and I was taking her to school. She was 16, it was spring and I have a 1979 Trans Am. We'd just taken it out of the barn since winter was over. We're on the way to school and she lets out this ear piercing scream(mind you I'm traveling upwards of 70 mph) and starts to open the door. I'm like, "What the hell are you doing?" A RAT she screams. Okay I'm freaking out now and swear I see in under the dash at my feet now. The thing was as big as a small dog. After driving down the road half a mile with the passenger door open and Renee ready to jump I was able to pull off the road. We both jump out screaming. Someone came along and gave Renee a ride to school, but I had to drive the mile back to my work, ALONE with the rat. I went into work having left both my doors open so the creature could make it's way out and find a new home. It was months before I was able to drive without wanting to pick up both feet off the floor.

Faith said...

I must have crappy luck with mice because I had a mouse in my van once. Nearly ran out of the road because it ran across my foot on the gas peddle!

Janice said...

Hi Faith,

Thanks for the laugh. I live in the country and we're had mice and rats so I understand getting starled by one.

The pack rat was interesting; I'd get to cleaning and find a pile of our dog's food underneath a piece of furniture, and some odd bit of junk jewelery that was too worthless to notice it was missing.


Charlotte McClain said...

Art reflects life. If I were you, I wouldn't write about freaky spiders or snakes any time soon.

Sharon M.Bidwell said...

LOL. Oh that's priceless. Reminds me when a friend was reading a story of mine with a spider in it and a piece of cotton on the edge of her top tickled her. She almost died there and then. There's a longer story where my grandmother frightened herself reading a book. Timing is all and from what you've said it sounds as if 'Charlie' enticed that little rat out just at the right moment.

Faith said...

I worked in the camper office yesterday. Most of the sunflower seeds were gone from the bag and I didn't see one hair of the mouse, so I'm thinking he might've moved out, lol.

Anthology Authors said...

Once when I was getting into my car in high school and a spider dropped down from the ceiling and stopped a few inches from my face. I like spiders, but, um, well, that scared the crap out of me. LOL Like you, Faith, I told the little spider that as long as it stayed out of sight, it could stay in the car.

The worst thing I've had happen, though, is a cockroach (one of those big black ones) dropped out of the fan above the stove while I was cooking. It nearly landed in the food. I screamed bloody murder. Of course, the time I went to open the refrigerator and nearly put my hand on one of those ghastly bugs was pretty awful too.

We lived out in the country too. My mother once found a tarantula in her car.


erotiwriter said...

Oh Marci, I was fine until you mentioned the tarantula! lolol


Tess MacKall said...

I don't get along with mice. Charlie or no Charlie, I'd have put out the poison and Charlie would have to come back again as maybe a nice fluffy dog or something...

Yuk, rats. Hate 'em.

Susan said...

I am amazed at all the negative comments about rats and tarantulas. They're really quite fun. I used to keep a rat for a pet - he'd sit on my shoulder and kibbitz while I wrote. I made him a leash of ribbon and we'd go for walks. I still miss him. As for tarantulas, they're not poisonous as so many people believe. When I was a girl we'd go up on the farm and catch them with little nooses of sewing thread and then pin them to our shirts for living jewelry. They're most fascinating. However - considering the general hysteria factor in this thread, I'm not going to say a word about the various snakes I've befriended.

Maryann Miller said...

How funny, Faith. If you had my cat, Uncle Charlie would be toast. I was cleaning out a cabinet the other day and a mouse ran out. Before it could make it across to the other side of the kitchen my cat came flying out of the laundry room, caught the mouse, and disposed of it in less than two minutes. A few minutes later, another mouse ran out and she did the same thing.

Faith said...

Sorry, Susan, I'm phobic about snakes, lol.

Maryann, I used to have a cat like that, but a rogue raccoon got into the house and killed her and her sister. I have three male kittens now who are half grown, but I'm not so sure they're going to be as good mousers as the girls were.

Cassie Exline said...

Faith, you're a brave soul. No way in the world I'd remain in the camper. Loved your blog, it's a gem.

Maggie Toussaint said...

I actually had a rat run across my foot. NO LIE. I was headed out through the garage to bring in the sheets I'd put on the line. It was dusk. Just as I hit the threshhold, something big scampered over my bare foot. I only saw the tail. I closed the door, sealing him in the garage, then ran around the outside of the house, banging on the family room door until my husband got up out of his football recliner. He didn't really believe me, but he brought a golf club just in case. The two of us went back to the garage and couldn't find the rat, but we knew he was in there. Hubby had me back the minivan out (now I am daitng myself) and there was the rat. Hubby dispatched with him in one swoop (hey, don't mess with my golfer) of his seven iron. True story.

Kealie Shay said...

OMG, I sat here in my in-laws' living room laughing so hard. Let me tell you, I can't explain to my very conservative in-laws what has me cackling so hard that I'm almost peeing my pants.

Your FIL sounds like a hoot! Maybe he was related to mine.

Anthology Authors said...


I'm not afraid of tarantulas. When I was a child, we had many in our wood pile. My sister would catch them every so often and bring them into the house. I've held my share. As long as you don't scare or frighten them, you are fine. From what I understand, their bite is no worse than a bee sting for most people. There are some really big spiders out there (Eg. Amazonian Tree Spider) that are much scarier. The spiders I don't tolerate are the black widow and the brown recluse due to how harmful their bites can be. The rest are fine.

BTW, that tarantula my mother found in her car, she released into the wild. She's not big on killing spiders either.

However, I hate cockroaches. (shudder) Can't abide those in the least.


Faith said...


I'm pleased that you got such a good laugh out of my post, Kealie!