July 18, 2008

Another Friday night (be warned, its gross)

It was all Randy’s fault. Way back when, about twenty-five years ago, there was no garbage service in the outlying county areas. What you did was collect the garbage around your house and “take it off” to one of many dumpster sites around. The closest one to us was about three miles away on Witcher Road. There were two or three huge dumpsters that were just dropped on the side of the road with a small gravel area around them for parking. There were no limits as to what you could put in them… furniture, household garbage, you name it. One night Randy was hanging out with us and asked us if we had ever been rat killing…. We had no idea what he was talking about. He then explained that you took a bb gun to the dumpster and waited for a rat to run from the dumpster up the embankment and try to get back in its hole. The competition was to see who could get more with their bb gun.
It’s sick, twisted and very disgusting, but hey.. When you are sixteen and full of raging testosterone it sounds twisted enough to be fun… We piled into Randy’s car loaded with all manner of weaponry and headed off into the night in search of rat trophies. He parked the car just right, with the headlights shinning on the space between the dumpster and the embankment. He jumped out of the car and started shooting at rats that were scurrying away. We had never really been to the dumpster at night. We had seen the rat holes in the dirt near the top of the embankment but just never paid attention. I had no idea there were that many rodents alive let alone all in one place. They settled down after a few minutes while we walked around to try to find the ones we got, no, you didn’t pick them up. Except for that one that found its way into that mailbox… but that’s fodder for another post… (“Someone put a field mouse in our mail box” field mouse my ass, it was a four pound disease ridden dumpster overlord, picked up with an empty pizza box)…
We were stalking around looking for the dead ones, bb guns shouldered at the ready; a wary eye on the rat holes. Randy waited until we were between the dumpster and the embankment, he was safely on the other side, and began to bang on the side of the dumpster. What followed was a ten minute literal flood of rats that came pouring out and ran right toward us, some people ran, some people froze in place, I started swinging the bb gun in fear for my life… they were running up our legs, jumping all over the place. There is nothing quite like seeing the air full of flying dumpster rats. When calm finally returned to the scene Randy was laughing his ass off, I was standing white knuckled and breathing hard, the car was full of wide eyed teenage boys staring over the dash board, my brother was white faced, not moving and shaking slightly…Randy knew what he was doing… The swinging bb gun move did give birth to the use of a hickory axe handle in place of the bb gun. We traveled around for a while after that with various “rat sticks” in the car.
Over the next few months we treated selected individuals to the experience, always starting the same way. “You stand right here and we’ll go over here to get them started…” I still can’t believe Troy made it from the ground to the dumpster top in one leap… “Man that was not cool” was his response, but he was laughing as hard as any of us.
If I had to classify this disgusting behavior I would place it in the right of passage category of teen boys, like knocking down mail boxes or cutting down a tree with an axe. Albeit not many people have participated in this activity outside of various third world nations.
Years later when I was moving out after getting married my wife looked at the red tinged, crusty axe handle propped in the corner of my closet and asked “What is that?” I smiled to myself and quietly replied ”Rat stick.” Being new to the area, having just moved to Georgia from Illinois she backed away from the bags we were putting clothes in and looked around warily…

9 comments:

Jules said...

aIn the big city we get up on the roof of our garages and take pot shots at them with bb guns. We have no interest in getting close enough to club them. Have you never heard of rabies?

Clay Perry said...

the danger added to the excitement

Jules said...

It must be a guy thing. The best time was during the garbage strike. The rats almost took over as I am sure you can imagine.

The Angry Georgian said...

Oh yeah. We had such a place when we lived on the farm. We would burn mostly everything in this bog pit we had out back, but the unburnables got thrown into the back of dad's pick-em-up truck and hauled away to the dumpsters.

HeartofGoldPlate said...

Maybe we're weird, my friends and I, but we didn't beat the rats... we scoured the alleys and back entrances to places for furniture, appliances or the rare toilet seat to beat into nothing.

Anonymous said...

Ewww!Rats.I remember garbage men in Chicago when I was a child They
wore high top work boots.When they
would empty the metal garbage cans(most of these were 50 gallon drums)rats would run from behind them or jump out of them and the men would stomp on them or hit them with shovels and then toss them in the garbage truck.I remember that like yesterday.Mj

Patrick said...

I have never had an experience like that, but I'm pretty sure it would be either really gross or really cool.

Clay Perry said...

it was gross and cool, pool and a pond

RANDY B. HYDE said...

This is THE Randy! If you didn't like what Clay wrote about, don't read this part!! One time at the dumpster, (don't remember who was with me other than my little brother Stanley), we took a fishing net with us. The idea was to put the fishing net at the exit hole on the bottom of the dumpster to catch as many rats as possible while someone else on the other side of the dumpster beat on the side with an axe handle (rat stick)! Well, I can't remember who got the three rats in the net, but I remember pounding the hell out of them with the axe handle while they were being held up in the net. It was absolutley crazy. We left the dumpster that hot, humid night and went to the Kwickie store for some soft drinks. We got to the counter and the clerk asked me what all of the red stuff on my face was?? I turned to my little brother, and he said, "Dude, you've got rat blood all over your face!" That, so far, has been the highlight of my life.