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."
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.
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