by Tany Z
Usual disclaimers. Unbetaed. Warnings: A generous sprinkling of really bad words. Also, PETA-type folks might find this objectionable. Don't throw paint at me. At least I don't wear fur.
"Miserable stinkin' little..."
Jim Ellison winced as the door to the loft closed with far more force than was usual for his normally-mellow roommate. He looked up to see a red-faced, scowling Sandburg stalk into the living room and fling himself into a chair in apparent utter disgust. When no explanation seemed forthcoming, Ellison sighed and put down his book. "All right, Sandburg. What's got your pantyhose in a wad?"
Blair shot him a baleful look. "I'm gonna commit murder."
"Ah, ok...are you sure this is something you should be telling a cop?"
"Yeah, 'cause on second thought, no jury would convict me. It's gonna be more like justifiable homicide. Or at least a crime of passion. Or...wait. Use of deadly force to protect the home! Yeah, that's it! Kill!"
"Whoa, Rambo. You wanna explain before you go off on your killing spree?"
"No time, Jim." He jumped up from his seat. "Gotta get down to Home Depot before the roof is a total loss."
Blair started to the door but found his way blocked by a large Sentinel. "Whoa, whoa, whoa, I said. The roof? C'mon, Sandburg, I'm not letting you go off on some tear on that note. What's wrong with the roof?"
"Not the roof per se, Jim, it's the...my...those incredibly fuckin' audacious...aaarrgh!!" Waving his hands and sputtering, he stomped back to the sofa and flopped full length on it, buried his face in a cushion, and gave a muffled, but still impressive scream of rage.
Jim heaved a long-suffering sigh and settled at one end of the sofa. He regarded his prone Guide with mixed affection and trepidation. "All right. Give."
Blair dragged himself to a sitting position and glared at his friend. "Squirrels."
"Yes, squirrels, goddammit! Squirrels. Roof. TOMATOES! Getting the picture?"
"Oh. Oh, boy. You mean..."
"Yes, I mean. I hauled eight big honkin' half-barrels up to the roof. I lugged umpteen bags of topsoil, humus, manure. I planted. I fed, watered, staked, nurtured. Didn't think worms could find their way to the roof, but when they did, I fought the good organic fight and defeated them with environmentally-safe, non-chemical methods. I warded off the birds with netting. I watched the plants set fruit, watched 'em get big and start to color...and now those rotten, filthy, flea-ridden roof rats are laying waste to my tomatoes!!"
He launched himself to his feet and began to pace in a circle, hands flying and eyes blazing. "My beautiful tomatoes! My Merced, my Early Girl, my Carnival, my Celebrity! My Better Bush and my Big Boys! I planted three of those, Jim! Those would have…aw, man, think of it! Big, succulent, juicy slices of ripe, sun-warmed fruit, layered on fresh pumpernickel with roast beef and provolone. I had it all planned, man! I was gonna build us the most beautiful sandwiches mankind has ever seen! And grilled tomatoes! Brush `em with a little oil, slap `em on the hibachi with garlic salt and a few twigs of oregano. And salads! Virgin olive oil, basalmic vinegar, fresh basil…it would've been heaven. But those little fuckers are ruining it!!"
Sandburg rounded the coffee table and came to a halt in front of Jim, whose mouth had begun to water at his Guide's menu recitation. "And to add insult to injury, they're mocking me! I go up there and find half-eaten tomatoes in all the barrels - god, some of them only have one bite taken out of them, like they're just grazing, y'know, just sampling the salad bar! And then I hear this chittering and I look up and there's two of them on top of the stairwell, making their nasty little noises at me like they're scolding me for interrupting their meal! Well, I've had it! I declare war! I am going to seriously kill those little shits! I'm going to Home Depot and buying the biggest rat traps I can find! I'm going to snap their little necks like twigs!"
"Hold it, Chief. No rat traps. You know that's not safe - other people go up that roof to sunbathe and such, and sometimes they bring kids. And do you really want to risk some poor roof-roaming cat getting a limb caught? Picture finding that when you go check your traps."
"Ok, ok, no traps. Poison! Rat poison ought to work on squirrels, too! Yeah, that's the ticket…slow, agonizing death! All right! Off to Home Depot…oof!" He took a step backward, glaring at the unmoving roommate he'd just bounced off of.
Said roommate was unfazed and glared back. "No. Nyet. Ixnay. Illegal, and you know it. No open poison in public spaces, Chief."
"Then whatthefuckamigonnado, dammit!?"
"Well, aside from not breaking the law, think about what Naomi would think of her son plotting mass murder of Nature's innocent little creatures, with whom we should share the earth in total harmony." He grinning at his fuming Guide.
"Innocent, my ass! We're not talking adorable little woodland creatures here, pal," Blair snarled. "They're not innocent, they're criminals! This ain't no Disney movie, this is the Discovery Channel! Survival of the fittest! Kill or be killed! Rend! Maim!"
"Ease off, Godzilla. You're going to pop a blood vessel. How about I go up with you and survey the situation?"
The pair climbed the stairs to the roof, detective leading the way, muttering observer behind him. When they emerged into the sunlight, Sandburg gestured wildly at the scene of the crime. "See? See what those bastards are doing? They actually chewed through the bird netting! And I've been trying everything I can think of - ammonia, soap spray, fake owls, tinfoil - nothing discourages those evil, rotten, vicious little mother…"
Jim interrupted the tirade. "Sandburg, this netting is pretty tough stuff. Are you sure the squirrels are the culprits? Maybe we've got real rats."
"I saw them, I tell you! In the barrel, going to town on the netting. Maybe they're fucking mutants. Hey, I know - how about a guillotine? I can probably rig one up with an opening too small for a kid's hand. A nice little descending blade, a miniature basket to catch their severed heads…perfect! And then I can mount the heads on little stakes and stick `em in the barrels to warn their cohorts! Whattaya think?"
"I think you need to calm down and give me a chance to deal with this before you commit your missiles. I may have an idea."
"You gonna shoot them?" inquired Sandburg hopefully.
"No, I'm not gonna be killing anything, and neither are you. Come on, back downstairs. "
Once back in the loft, Ellison pointed to the dining table and the laptop. "Sit. Cruise the `net for anti-squirrel sites. Join a couple of gardening lists. Have some lunch. Have a beer - have two beers. Just settle down a bit, and don't go back up to the roof until I get back with my solution."
"Come on, Jim, don't leave me in suspense. What have you got planned?"
"It'll be a surprise, Farmer Brown - if I can find what I have in mind." With that, he was out the door, truck keys in hand.
Blair stared after him in bemusement.
An hour or so later, Sandburg looked up from his laptop as Jim strolled back into the apartment, a satisfied smile on his face. "Hey, buddy. Find any good squirrel sites?"
"Well, some interesting sites anyway - do you know if you type `squirrel killer'; into Google you get like 26,000 hits? Some really weird ones, too. Boy, you think I'm bloodthirsty, you should see some of these battle stories. And who would've guessed there'd be a rap singer named `Squirrel Killah'?"
Jim shuddered. "I don't even want to think about that,Chief."
"So, now you going to tell me what you did?"
"With a little luck, I'm going to show you what I did. I've already been up to the roof and set it up."
"Oh, wow. A deadfall, maybe? Nice little pit with sharpened sticks at the bottom?"
"Har, har. No, nothing lethal. You'll see before the day's out, I hope….AHA!!" The Sentinel tilted his head, aiming his hearing towards the ceiling.
"What? The little sticks of dynamite went off? All right!"
Jim swatted his friend lightly on the head. "Who would've thought a vegetable garden would bring out your killer instinct, Sandburg? Let's go check out the north forty."
Back to the roof they went.
"Ok, Jim, what's your diabolical plan? I was hoping to see little furry corpses strewn about the landscape."
Blair cocked his head, listened…and heard angry chittering. "They're here! I can hear the little shits! Where are they?!" He made a beeline for the sound, ran around the nearest barrel - and came to a sudden halt, staring at his feet.
In front of him was an odd metal cage, filled with one angry, complaining, well-fed squirrel.
"Jim!! You're an animal-friendly genius, man! I was so pissed, I didn't even think of a HaveaHeart trap!"
"Not just one, buddy. Two HaveaHearts. Guaranteed to see us through the rest of the growing season. We'll harvest those tomatoes yet." He reached down and grabbed the cage by its handle. "I'll just transport Rocky here to his new home in the Municipal Gardens. No tomatoes, but I'm sure the local pigeons will share their popcorn."
"Wait," said Sandburg, looking longingly at his vanquished enemy. "Couldn't I just torture him a little first?"
"Forget it, Torquemada. Think of this as preserving your karma, not to mention my potential sandwiches."
"My hero!" Batting his eyelashes at his Sentinel, Blair Sandburg ducked a head-swat and descended the stairs laughing, fond thoughts of salsa and salad dancing through his head.
True-life adventures. My tomato crop was seriously endangered by said miserable stinkin' rodents. My pacifist nature totally went by the wayside as I devised means to murder the little !*@!&! rat- bassets. But my sweetie bought me a HaveaHeart, and I eventually triumphed!