How To Drown a Rat

by Mick & Debbie Lindley

    This is a true story. It happened in the summer of 1976. Debbie and I were building a new house in Minor near Birmingham, AL. Since we were doing most of the work ourselves we needed to be close by. We rented a house belonging to my brother about 3 miles away in Docena.

   We had two daughters at the time, Heather was 3 years old and Lisa was 2. We had seen signs of a mouse for 2 or 3 days when we would come home in the evenings. I hunted up a small garden variety mouse trap. One night after going to bed Debbie and I heard a noise in the kitchen. It sounded like little claws of a mouse (or rat) on the tile floor as he was scampering around in the kitchen. I got up and eased into the kitchen as Debbie followed close behind and turned the light on. We were expecting to see a mouse, when all of the sudden the biggest RAT I had ever seen (even to this day) ran out from behind the end of the kitchen cabinet. He was going toward an opening beside the water heater to escape. We later learned there was a hole in the floor.

    No matter how macho you are, or think you are, an 11 inch rat (tail not included) coming toward you will make most peoples heart skip a beat. Debbie jumped up on the table, I jumped up in a nearby chair. The rat could get no traction on the slick tile floor, for the longest time it seemed as if he was going nowhere. Finally he started moving and ran to the water heater and disappeared. I looked at Debbie and said "did you see that"? She pointed to the mouse trap I had hunted up previously and said, 'you're going to need a bigger trap". I immediately replied, "we don't have a bigger trap".

    We retreated back to the bedroom and talked it over. Again I repeated, "we don't have a bigger trap".  Debbie said, "I can't leave my babies in this house with a rat, he'll bite their toes off". Debbie asked, "what are we going to do?". I responded with, "we'll drown him".  She immediately got a look of shock and utter disbelief on her face, to which she responded with, "What? You can't drown a rat".

    I told her "yes we can", and sent her off to gather up as many books as she could find. I got the tall kitchen trash can, emptied it, and filled it a little more than half full of water being about 12 inches deep. Then I explained the plan. We are going to build a small stairway with the books up to the rim of the trash can. This is when her faith in me really hit a low. I told her the rat would walk up the stairway and jump into the trash can and drown in the water. I'll never forget the look on her face as she decided I had lost the rest of my mind.

    At this point I got a small piece of cheese out of the refrigerator. I rubbed the cheese on the floor around the trash can. I rubbed it on the edge of each one of the books, and finally along the rim of the trash can. Next we turned the light off and went to the bedroom to await the big event. 

    It was way after midnight and I was very tired, so I went off to sleep quickly. Debbie lay there with her eyes WIDE OPEN and listened. After a while she heard the same noise of little feet on the tile floor. The rat was back in the kitchen. She waited patiently, and listened. The rat succumbed to the thought of a big cheese delight in the bottom of the can and jumped in. Imagine his surprise when he hit the water. Immediately she shouted, "we got him". I woke up trying to get my senses working and she kept repeating "we got him, we got him".  We got up, went into the kitchen, turned the light on, and peered over the edge of the trash can to see inside. Much to our surprise and horror the rat was standing on the bottom of the can stretched out and just barely keeping his nose out of the water. We had a problem, he's not going to drown.

   I was a deer hunter at the time so I got an arrow out of the quiver and used the point of it to hold the rat under the water until he drowned and sunk to the bottom of the can. It was over, we left everything as is and cleaned up all the mess the next morning.

   By this time it was around 2:00 am. Debbie had not slept at all so when we went to bed she fell off to sleep in about 2 minutes. As I laid there that night I remember thinking the rat was only trying to survive. However, he picked the wrong house to try to survive at. You CAN drown a rat.