Pack Rat Fever...

Pack Rat Fever...

A Story by roarke
"

what it's like being sick while living off the grid.

"

Pack Rat Fever


So today, I’m sick. I haven’t been sick in over two years, living a clean life in the bosom of the forest as we do. Nope, not even a sniffle. But three days ago, my lovely wife brought home what I can only refer to as the Montana version of The Ebola… she contracted this abomination from the loving members of her faith, who seem to have a proclivity of wandering the planet in search of rare and exotic diseases to bring back to Montana and share. Yeah. 


So, I feel like crap, like my wife, I too am running a high fever and my head feels like it’s filled with abused kindergarten clay, so I decided to pen a little diddie while under the delusional embrace of cranial crab boil…. Now a tiny bit of personal information about me.  Even when well, shoulders square and strapping, people who know me might argue that I have patience issues. I’m sick so I won’t debate this impression. But when I’m sick, my patience quotient slips into the negative integer range. Exponential minus integers.  And so, doctor recommended symptomatic health care is: isolation, which we already know I live on the side of a remote mountain in Montana, so that part is at least covered. 


Ok, alls well, everyone gets sick, things get bad and then it rains, or during this time of year, it snows and it did. I got up this morning, stumbled around in an effort to combat delirium as I started water boiling for coffee, built and stoked a fire in the heat stove and cleaned the kitchen counter up from the litter that had been accumulating since my wife first came down sick. When you live off grid, ya can’t afford to get all wimpy when ya don’t feel good. Then our princess puppies awoke and rumbled downstairs to be let out. When I opened the door to our porch, and after a draft of chill air initiated a vicious throat punch, I saw it. Horror of horrors. A pack rat had somehow found his way into our porch and had scattered and gnawed anything he could get his paws on. 


Now the story begins. Did I mention I am sick? Did I mention my issues with the virtue of patience? Ok. I hate pack rats. In the world of vermin, they rate higher than rabid, dog-sized wharf rats. If you are the kind of twisted individual that thinks pack rats are cute, then we ain’t got nothin’ ta talk about. Pack rats are incredibly intelligent, dubiously crafty and industrious in their nefarious endeavors, and they can out pee and out s**t a Clydesdale…. To say I was s**t-apple-redneck pissed,  would be an understatement.  One year, I went out to our wood shed and found some pack rat had totally rebuilt it to his own blueprint specs. What really got to me was it looked better than the original shed design. A couple years later, another one infested my generator shed, had a litter and it took me a week to “de-pack rat” its interior. In my weakened state, suffering from the Montana Ebola, I might have over reacted some. 


Even though my eyes were glazed with a spiking fever, I rummaged around our drawers looking for my Glock 22. My wife heard me and called our good friend and next door neighbor Ken, a truly experienced mountain man. They both knew where my disease addled mind was headed. I found the Glock, slammed a full clip of 40 cal hollow points in the butt and strode as well as I could manage to our front door. I threw open the door and fell against the door jamb in an offensive aiming stance pointing the front sight up at the storage space above. At the same moment our neighbor came in carrying his varmint trap. 

“Hold up there Bill.” He said holding the wire cage in front of him like a Kevlar vest…

“Screw it Ken, I’m sick, and I’m fed up with these pack rats.” I steadied my slightly trembling aim with both hands.

“Now, Bill, you aren’t feeling yourself.” Ken paused a moment in reflection of that statement. 

“I know exactly what I’m gonna do Ken, I’m gonna blow that vermin into pack rat confetti and be done with it.” I jacked back the barrel slide, slamming a round into the chamber. 

Ever patient Ken, a possible mortal-world emissary from God, put his hand on the Glock barrel and gently lowered the weapon. I handed him the pistol, he released the clip and ejected the round. A twitchy little smile tugged at the corner of his wiry mustache. 

“We’ll get ‘im bud, this here trap will do the trick.” Ken set the spring sides of the wire box and placed it up into the storage area. 

“Don’t ya need any bait, like peanut butter or somethin’?” Fever sweat dribbled down my temples.

“Naw, pack rats are curious devils, they can’t resist sticking their noses in traps. I catch ‘em this way all the time. You’ll have ‘im in there before you eat dinner tonight.”

A dry cough triggered a coughing jag. My chest hurt and I began noticing an icy cold curling up my legs. 

“Yer a good man Ken.”

“Yup.” 



© 2016 roarke



Author's Note

roarke
did I mention I was sick and running a high fever??

critiques and comments welcome, but remember, I'm SICK.

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register




Featured Review

for whatever it's worth, which may not be much, i originally skipped over reading this piece and read the ones you'd posted before and after it. perhaps my own disgust with rats had something to do with that, but between this pack-rat and the ones you placed at the Giza pyramid, you are raising their potential value as a subject matter to me. i was looking to review a piece that hadn't already been reviewed or read so much, hoping i could weigh-in on something you posted that was a little more off the beaten path. but if the responses to your last three postings are any indication, i'd probably be reading all your posts all morning in a doomed attempt to find something not universally responded to by your expansive audience. your popularity on this site appears unflinchingly supported, and deservedly so. you are an excellent craftsman with those all important tools of imagery, tone, usage, and observation. i get this sense that most of your vignettes could easily be spun into novellas, if only we all had unlimited time! what i specifically enjoy most about this piece, in particular, is how different the lexicon of the speaker is when compared to the two pieces you have surrounding it. This proves your mastery of language to me. how you are able to morph your styles of writing to match the settings of which you speak. i especially loved "a possible mortal-world emissary from God." what a fantastic expression! as soon as i read it i had one of those moments where i happened upon a concept i'd often grappled with, but never been so able to aptly express. excellent work, good sage. i'm extremely honored to be witnessing your dance with your muse on this site.

Posted 1 Year Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

roarke

1 Year Ago

um, I don't know what to say. I'm uncharacteristically speechless. I'm at once honored and undeservi.. read more



Reviews

The second paragraph got me warmed up. I love the exponential analysis. I wasn't especting that at all, couldnt stop reading after that. Thanks to the doctor for his recommendation.

Posted 6 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

roarke

6 Months Ago

thank you Bukbank, glad you stopped by.
for whatever it's worth, which may not be much, i originally skipped over reading this piece and read the ones you'd posted before and after it. perhaps my own disgust with rats had something to do with that, but between this pack-rat and the ones you placed at the Giza pyramid, you are raising their potential value as a subject matter to me. i was looking to review a piece that hadn't already been reviewed or read so much, hoping i could weigh-in on something you posted that was a little more off the beaten path. but if the responses to your last three postings are any indication, i'd probably be reading all your posts all morning in a doomed attempt to find something not universally responded to by your expansive audience. your popularity on this site appears unflinchingly supported, and deservedly so. you are an excellent craftsman with those all important tools of imagery, tone, usage, and observation. i get this sense that most of your vignettes could easily be spun into novellas, if only we all had unlimited time! what i specifically enjoy most about this piece, in particular, is how different the lexicon of the speaker is when compared to the two pieces you have surrounding it. This proves your mastery of language to me. how you are able to morph your styles of writing to match the settings of which you speak. i especially loved "a possible mortal-world emissary from God." what a fantastic expression! as soon as i read it i had one of those moments where i happened upon a concept i'd often grappled with, but never been so able to aptly express. excellent work, good sage. i'm extremely honored to be witnessing your dance with your muse on this site.

Posted 1 Year Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

roarke

1 Year Ago

um, I don't know what to say. I'm uncharacteristically speechless. I'm at once honored and undeservi.. read more
This story reminds me why I never got married. Despite your claim: "When you live off grid, ya can’t afford to get all wimpy when ya don’t feel good" . . . I found this to be a rat's nest of wimpy whining, interspersed with a few refrains of shoot-em-up macho bravado. There are many interesting aspects to this story & your writing. But I think it could be much tighter if you removed a little of yourself & your ego from the telling. Sorry if this seems a little rough. Maybe this is better told as a verbal story around the campfire.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

roarke

1 Year Ago

heh, thanks for the read and comments BG, remember this is fiction, not autobiographical non-fiction.. read more
barleygirl

1 Year Ago

I'm glad you're still laughing after my review. I'll definitely read more of you, to balance out my .. read more
roarke

1 Year Ago

It's a dark ride, wear yer seatbelt. hahaahha.
Roarke, I very much enjoyed your story, it gave me a chance to get to know you. Lots of clever humor, I loved the part of the rat-packs blue prints being better than yous. For a sick guy you write a great story. Have a great day. Richie B.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

roarke

1 Year Ago

thanks Richie, I appreciate your read and enjoyment of my story. Thanks.
sick or not, this as you may suspect, is my kind of writing!!!!! very funny and the way you tell it makes it such a pleasure to read. the last two lines tickled me no end. you know how to end a story.
the only thing we disagree on is that I find pack rats rather cute. I wish we had them in Tunisia.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

...I was so sick last week I tried to kill flies with ninja stars and nunchucks...they weren't even there...nice write from a fevered mind...now get better maybe scramble some eggs

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

You also mentioned you have a Glock, so this may be the finest prose ever written.

For a sick guy, you have a hell of a way with dialogue.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I feel your pain and frustration! What a time to deal with a rat, when you need to be left alone to heal. This is well written, I was engaged from start to finish, except for the cursing, but that is a personal choice. I have had bouts with this filthy vermin that destroyed one washer, two refrigerators, two dishwashers, before we could finally kill them all. I hope you are able to share your story with many. It is a lesson for knowing one's ability to rage well is altered by a fever. Good for you for letting your wise neighbor take charge of the situation.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

lol well I have to say you eloquently describe how we men become boys when we are ill. My wife would totally agree with this assessment.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

roarke

1 Year Ago

hahahaha, yeah, but Tate, I thought you had my back on this one...hahahaha
Tate Morgan

1 Year Ago

Well i am not a good one when Ill I am like a child at that point total loss of patience and logical.. read more
[send message][befriend] Subscribe
...
LAUGHING....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................Roark...shaking my head at you hahahahaha I LOVE IT! Have to agree with Sam...sickness and pack rats, strange creative enhancement tools, Roarke, but fing hilarious!

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

roarke

1 Year Ago

heh, you don't really believe this stuff is "fiction" do ya Lynn?
...

1 Year Ago

hahahahahaha...no! But, I love that you can see and write the humor of it, because, really, when you.. read more

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

449 Views
11 Reviews
Rating
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on December 19, 2015
Last Updated on February 16, 2016
Tags: flash fiction, short story, fiction, humor, country, pack rats, off grid, fever sick, william calkins, roarke

Author

roarke
roarke

About
Bio I've been a professional teacher, artist and musician for over thirty years and I currently pursue an off-the-grid homesteading lifestyle. I'm continuing life's journey, accepting and creating n.. more..

Writing
Errands Errands

A Poem by roarke


Skaters Skaters

A Story by roarke



Related Writing

People who liked this story also liked..