I was grilling zucchini in my backyard, of a Saturday night, and having a damned fine time doing it. But then, the silhouette of a black rat rustled out of the bushes.
"I think I'm going to shoot it," I told my cousin, reaching for the pistol in my back pocket.
"What are you fucking nuts?" she cried. "Discharging a firearm?"
Hmm... this was a tough one. I hurled a rock in its general direction. Nothing. I jumped up and down like a lunatic and it rose up on its hind legs.
"It's threatening me," I shouted. "In my own backyard!" What good, indeed, is a firearm if you cannot dispatch a rat threatening you (and by extension, your zucchini) in your own home?
After some debate, I convinced my cousin I was right. But the rat had left. "Go ahead and shoot the thing," she said. "You're neighbors may not be happy, but they'll be impressed."
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Officer O' Dell at the City of Miami Police Department did not agree. "A rat?" he cried over the telephone. "No sir, you cannot shoot a rat. What if you miss and shoot someone else? Plus, someone might hear the shot and call the police. And you will be arrested."
I am still not convinced.