Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Crows and Critters--Part 2
Before part 2 of Mama Ruth's story, a note: don't forget to visit Novel Journey for the second part of their interview with Sue Brower, senior fiction acquisitions editor at Zondervan.
Now once again, Heeeeeere's Mama Ruth!
… I sighed. "Oh, that. It's just my noisy husband. He's in the storeroom," I pointed to two doors in a side wall, "killing rats with a hockey stick. We have too many rats in this house."
Two heads swiveled. Susan squealed, "You said 'RATS'? Big ones?"
I nodded. Susan quivered, her shoulders hunching up to her ears.
Charles's mouth fell open. "Killing rats in the storeroom. With a hockey stick." He looked totally dazed.
I couldn't help but giggle. “Don’t worry, it's an everyday affair in this house. "J.T.'s good, too. They can't get away from his flying arm fast enough. We can't keep rats out of that storeroom. They drive us batty knocking cans around in there."
"Cans? What kind of cans?"
"Big cans. We have them made in the bazaar with tight-fitting lids."
"What's in the cans?"
"Oh, foods like cheese, flour, sugar, and also panties, bras, slips, silk and nylon things. Lots of things. We put things in cans because rats will eat anything. They love nylon." I kept talking to try to make my guests feel at home. "Those rats eat all the labels off food cans, too, and sometimes we don't know what we're going to eat for supper. Whatever we open is our supper surprise. Sometimes it's gulash with meat, and sometimes it's a can of jelly. But I always make bread to go with it."
The VIP and Susan sat round-eyed, their tea growing cold.
After a minute of reverent silence, the double doors banged open and my J.T. came out carrying his hockey stick and grinning. "Got six that time!" He noticed his flabbergasted guests. "Oh. . . I didn't know we had company--I won't shake hands until I clean up."
"I'm sure you couldn't hear them with all your noise. J.T., this is Congressman Charles Crow and his wife, Susan. They got an earlier flight and came in today."
J.T. smiled at them both. "I'm sorry we didn’t know. We could have met you at the station. So nice to have a Congressman and wife as our guests. Please excuse me for a minute, I'll get a basket for the dead. MOLLI!" he called.
"Yes, Sahib," answered the gardener from outside the back door.
"Please bring in that big basket to take these dead rats out." Turning to me he said, "Honey, I'll go and clean up and then I'd like some tea and biscuits." He exited toward our bathroom, carrying his hockey stick.
Susan covered her eyes with a dainty handkerchief and leaned back against the couch.
Our barefoot, wizened gardener quietly appeared. He wore a bright red turban on his head and a once-white dothi tied around his skinny hips and bowed legs. He carried in a huge round basket; bits of grass and banyan leaves clinging to its rough insides. He disappeared into the storeroom and we heard some thuds. Molli soon reappeared, lifting the basket to the top of his turban as he padded from the room.
Susan missed the tableau, but Charles' eyes followed Molli's every move. His face showed no expression.
J.T. came back and sat at a small table. I poured a cup of tea for him and handed him two cookies. He sipped and munched.
Stout-hearted American Crow gulped, cleared his throat, and finally found his voice. "What. . . what will he do with those rats? Bury them?
J.T. shrugged. "No, we don't bother. We believe in nature's own disposition."
Stalwart American Crow asked, "How does nature do that?"
"We just throw them out by the fence. The crows will be glad to gather and eat them."
“Don’t worry,” I said cheerfully, “you won’t have to watch. We’ll have our own nice supper here in the dining room.”
Honorable American Crow managed a grim smile. All the same, something told he’d lost his appetite.