From a writer’s perspective, one can plan their material weeks, days or hours in advance and then one instance can consume all creative thought. It doesn’t have to be a tragedy or major event. It could be something as insignificant as spilling a glass of orange juice. Though depending on how, where and what said orange juice was spilt on could make it a major tragedy. Point being, any event can have a resounding effect when pen reaches paper or fingers dance across a keyboard.

Saturday morning finds me up and moving before the dawn cracks. Never a victim of oversleeping or perpetrator of sleeping in, the internal clock makes the call to rise before the sun. Even on the weekends there are the morning routine rituals to start the day. Bathroom, wash-up and use the pot; quietly making my way thorough the house, to answer the call of the coffeemaker, in hopes of not rousing my fellow residents. These early hours are mine and I savor the stillness.

There is the usual visit to the House o‘Saw’s rattery’s rats in residence, Rorschach, Dormu and Dave. A small tap is given to the wire-mesh top of their dwelling, to let them know breakfast treats will be dealt out shortly and to make sure everyone’s still alive. Sounds morbid but domestic rats have a lifespan of 2 to 3 years and they’re pushing into their 3rd.

There is a stirring inside their little house but no one’s coming out. Except Dave, he’s already out, laying prone in the shreddings. The most paranoid of the bunch; his lack of reaction tells me all I need to know… still, I have to be sure. Slowly pulling my hand away, my brief mourning for this small nervous creature ensues.

There are different degrees of pets. Some are constant companions, some friends that greet and hang-out with you and some are little visitors you decided to let stay—they do their thing you do yours—coexisting in harmony. Our rats are the latter. This is not to cry neglect but rather a mutual understanding of their short lifespan and our attempt to make it as pleasant and companionable as possible.

Emotions in check, there are things to attend to. Lil Red (the spouse) is informed post haste and together we tell the grandson. There is crying, consoling and comforting, but his natural happy demeanor wins out when we assure him everything will be fine. He looks on from a distance at death and opts out of having any part of the burial process. At his age he has too many questions he doesn’t want the answers to.

The other rodents remain hidden, even when the corpse is removed. Out of respect or fear, we will never know. Though it was probably a tiny heart-attack, their home must be cleaned and sanitized in the event of a virus. Red will handle that end; I’ve other things to do.

A shovel is procured, a hole is dug and a tiny body is carefully wrapped in a soft cloth. There is melancholy as the shrouded form is sealed in two plastic bags to prevent the smell of decay leading to a premature excavation. Thankfully the hole’s size is adequate (nothing is worse than removal and re-digging).

Not wanting to just dump the soil back in, a spade is used for filling in; drawing me closer to the grave. Emotionally void till now the sound of loose earth… pattering down on the makeshift plastic coffin…. is unhinging. The NOISE encompasses EVERYTHING, this is taking forever, when will it end? This is where it ends! This is the sound of death, buried by a funeral party of one, beneath a stump beside the road; alone, invisible, underground, forgotten? I hum a soothing melody. No my little friend, you will not be forgotten. You will have a place scampering thorough my heart until it beats no more. See ya on the other side of the bridge Dave.

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Hope to hear from ya until then try and stay focused. See ya.