Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ratsicles

Yesterday I was running errands in town. I needed more coffee beans, and since Roaster's Gallery was closed, I had to go around the corner to the Community Cup. I parked on a side street to avoid Main. I was carrying all 23+ pounds of Helen, grasping my purse, stowing the keys, and holding Owen's hand. Suddenly, Owen hollered, "Himey!" (Kitty!) Yeesh!! NOT a kitty, but a huge rat, lying dead on a grate right beside the bank building. I said calmly, "No, that's not a kitty," and entreated briskly, "Come, let's go to the coffee shop!"

I was a little suspect. This didn't appear like the average nasty sewer rat, but looked almost like a domesticated rat, if there is such a thing. It had a white body and a brown head. And usually the sidewalks in Atmore are kept clean.

Today I was running errands again, and since I only bought a 1/2 pound of beans yesterday, decided to try again for Joel's shop. The doors were wide open, and he yelled, "Hey, Owen!!" from the back, and promptly came up to offer Owen a coffee bean, which he ate with gusto. I got another 1/2 pound of coffee, my favorite, Monsooned Malabar. I found out that the "strange" woman who kept waving to me at the park on Sunday was none other than his wife Celia--how embarrassing that I didn't recognize her!!

I like the feel of the shop. He has his art hanging all over the walls, several claw-foot tubs he is restoring, a few potted plants, some worn couches and braided rugs. And more often than not, downtown business owners will stop by for a cup of coffee and a chat. Today, Mr. Joe Brantley came in. Helen took one look at him and dove for his arms. He just had that grandpa look and sound.

We were about to go when Joel piped up, "Hey, Owen, wanna see some RATS?!!" He strode over to the fridge, yanked open the freezer compartment and withdrew two gallon-size Ziploc bags stuffed with frozen rats, exactly like the dead one we saw yesterday. Apparently before the pet shop two doors down closed, the owner lost track of some rats. When he cleared out, he left them behind. When they ran out of food, they started running the street. And when Joel sees them, he shoots them with a pellet gun or something else of that nature, and then saves them in his freezer. He rolled his eyes when he recounted how the bank ladies wouldn't even go in their door because of the dead rat. "Tell Jay-Bob I said hi and I miss him," he imparted as I went to the truck.

I drove home shaking my head. Only in Atmore.

11 comments:

krista said...

Wow...only in Atmore...I am sure a few other places would join ya'll, but really, in his freezer? I hope the coffee wasn't stored in there. =) Hope you are ready for company soon! Glad they can come and celebrate all 23 lbs of Helen!

Anonymous said...

Sounds kind of like the vacuum packed frozen cats that were stacked in the science lab freezer in A & P class :). Jan

heather said...

YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING JOYCE! What in the world??? Reminds me of when we went soliciting for Bible School this past summer. We were in White Pigeon going door to door and we came upon a little girl stoaking something in her arms. When we asked her what she had and she said, "it's my pet rat." Then her mom came out to say they make really great pets and they are really good with kids. Already then......O.K. So do you want to come to Bible School. (And please leave your rats at home)

heather said...

Thats should have been "stroking" NOT stoaking. Seriously can we install spell check in this thing?

joy said...

oh yummy...might leave hair on your tongue...

Sabrina said...

Why, oh why, is he keeping the dead rats?? I have chills! His shop sounds neat! I babysat some kids one time that showed me a dead puppy they were keeping in their freezer. I still feel sick when I think of it.

Cottonista said...

I called Celia at City Hall after lunch yesterday, to connect after "ignoring" her at the park. Apparently they are sizing up to be quite a problem, although they don't like green coffee beans.

I still don't know why the rats are in the freezer.

Cottonista said...

I now know why they are in the freezer--"So I can show 'em to people!!" As of yesterday, the count is up to 19.

Lynette said...

They're in the freezer for the same reason that stupid snake is in mine. It's a male pride thing. :)Have to show off conquests and all. . .

Joanne said...

Sounds like a Stephen King novel, actually!

Wynette said...

I was gonna say the same thing as joanne. It sounds just like something I would read in a book and say, "Yeah, right, like that would ever happen in real life!"