The owl/cat incident I described in the previous entry, the sense I get that this nation is at war somewhere, despite my careful avoidance of news media reports and anything outside the boundaries I’ve established around my attentions…. (Roughly summarized: If I can’t do anything about it, it’s none of my business), and someone telling me there’s been a series of cases of bubonic and hanta virus in New Mexico this year in domestic animals and humans, caused me to poke around in some old files.
The hanta virus is a second-cousin to Ebola…. Causes a fairly effective method of exiting the vehicle via painful internal bleeding. It’s mainly from mouse and other rodent droppings, but it finds a path into the food chain to predators, including domestic cats. New Mexico’s blessed as the home base and distributor for the product.
Twice-blessed, you might say, because we also have a burgeoning population of prairie-dogs, the reservoir for bubonic plague.
When I was a kid, prairie-dogs were as nearly extinct as humans were able to make them at the time. We all did our part to finish the job, popping them with our .22s when we had the chance. Pesky little critters like to make towns, carry a lot of fleas, and bubonic and man were just about the only thing keeping the population at a level that left room for other uses of the earth. We’d already pretty well killed off the predators that used to control them, coyotes, owls, wolves, rattlers, hawks and eagles, because of their fondness for agricultural fauna as a part of their diets.
So, when all those creatures except coyotes became protected, prairie-dogs came back like gangbusters. Now we have a glut of most of them…. Prairie-dog towns everywhere, owls and hawks so prolific it’s almost impossible to raise free-ranging chickens, and bubonic’s coming back a bit more every year.
Philosophically, I’m in favor of the end results of all this. It’s just the intermediate steps to getting there that are difficult on a personal level. Losing domestic animals to preditation without any recourse is a bit hard to swallow for a man who grew up believing that isn’t the way things ought to work.
Anyway, as I was saying before all that digression by way of explanation, I was reminded of something I wrote a few years ago and dug it out of the files. Decided to share a bit of off-the-wall jingoism and paranoia with you:
“Trouble!” says you. “What trouble?”
“The Ruskies went home a decade ago,” You say. “Berlin wall came down and no one even remembers it. The Germans are all running around hugging one another worrying about mad cows and leaving everyone else alone.
“We kicked the holy bejesus out of Samdam Hoooosane and his royal guards,” you say, “And might do it again if he doesn’t behave,” You say, “And we’re all safe and sound here in the land of milk and honey.....Ain’t gonna war no more,” You say, “Except the occasional invasion of a minor third rate Middle Eastern or Balkan country,” You say.....”All safe and sound, swords into plowshares, all that.”
And you really believe that, do you?
Well, if you believe that, you’d better prepare yourself for a shock down to your carefully manicured and polished toenails......'cause the real challenge is still out there, the real challenge is happening right there in your back yard even as we speak, in your attic, in the sewer under your squeeky clean porcelain commode; in the trees behind your quiet complacent little hidey hole you’ve made for yourself to stick your soft American head into.
You kept your guard up all those years because one of the Marx brothers talked about lulling the West into a false sense of security, and of course he was right. Of course he was.
Only the timeskid was slower than anticipated and all the Marx brothers died.
Yeah, Groucho and Harpo sleep with the fishes, but it’s still going on.
The fifth column is here, now, at work near you, near your home.
"Rats." I say.
"Rats?" You say.
Yeah. Rattus Rattus, the good American rat, the roof rat, is the only real American who knows, and he ain’t saying much.
Old Rattus Rattus suffers silently in his simple Christian American way; fighting quietly for his homeland with American knowhow. Sure, it sounds silly and pointy headed, Rattus Rattus, but that’s his damned name, same as yours is Homo Sexian or some such thing.
Rattus Rattus struggles without complaint for his tiny children, while slowly, the habitat and other lousy habits, recede every year. You ought to know by the name; Rattus Norvigicus, the Norwegian rat, the dreaded wharf rat: the foreign rat the communist pinko athiest moslem heathen yellowjapaneseinvader super rat of the future is bullying him back.
While you sleep there in your complacent soft pillowland, it's going on outside and up in your attic, in the streets, the alleys, the sewerplants, the amber grainfields, the feedlots, the silos, Rattus Rattus battles for you against the silent invaders. Rattus Rattus draws his lines in the sand, digs his little burrows, fortifies, and retreats as the highly mechanized divisions of Norwegian rats advance, house by house, burrow by burrow......Every year the Rattus Rattus line moves inward a few miles, seven miles in along the whole perimeter.
Yeah. There are bulges, enclaves of encirclement. Enclaves of resistence, but Norvigicus takes no prisoners, spares no one. And you sleep silently, peacefully while your own good American rats are diminished, you who gutsylike bomb the bejesus out of other commie pinko foreign middleastern terrorsist muslim and Balkans, sleep while your own brotherrats in your own back yard die without your help.
And what do you think, you sleeping bastards, will happen when the final conquest is complete? Do you think you will be left alone, when the last fighters have all fought on your behalf, when the silent armies of Rattus Rattus are all destroyed, all the food for ravens scattered on the battlefields of America? Don't bet on it. The sound of scratching in the ceiling, inside the walls has barely begun.
Time to join the battle, fellow Americans, time to get out the cyanide, the 1080, the pelletguns and the mousetraps, time to stock up on cheese, and warfrin, and time to prepare for the big battle for America in the American way. Time to begin the manufacture of tiny tanks, (maybe Tonka and some of those can help) and artillery pieces, and scatterguns and nervegas and miniaturized nuclear weapons.....time to join in the real battle for America here at home.
If you aren’t with us, you are against us, behind enemy lines, already under the areas controlled by the foreign devils, and you won’t be spared, unless you form an underground, a fifth column of your own.....
They’ve already got all the other countries, the other continents, and as has happened so often in history, America stands alone against them, a tiny host of good American rats, behind the scenes, fighting against all odds for you, to the end......
And that doesn’t even touch on the imported fire ants killing our domestic fireants, the imported Africanized bees killing our good American queen bees and selfishly taking over the hives, the Russian Thistles (tumbleweeds) cluttering up our prairies, the imported hares (jackrabbits), the English Sparrows (that battle’s already lost), the tamaracs (salt cedars stealing our precious water for their foreign interests), and the imported fruitflies.......it’s all there, all in black and white, been written down, so it’s
true.....a multi pronged attack against all that’s good in America.....while you sleep.......
And now the foreign weathermen, the Canadians and Mexicans, are predicting our weather, keeping the good stuff for themselves......
Anyway, here's what one of my cats had to say about the owl attack last night:
That's life in the big city.