The House Chicken And The Swedish Rat.

by Serge

My face is squished into the carpet and the dogs think maybe I've had that stroke they've been waiting for. They are sniffing at my neck and my ass, taking big drags of my odor, seeing if they can smell the Grim Reaper on me. Lucky for me, they don't. I know they would start in eating me before too long. No Call of The Wild shit here. No pacing around the master, whining/worrying. No miraculous calls to 911 placed by a black lab. Hell no. One of them would give the other one the green light with a quick glance.

There! There I smelled it! I just smelled the dead smell! He's gone/Dig In!

They'd be conking heads and making snorts and using their paws and their fangs and their long stinky tongues to get at the best cuts of me; like the rednecks at the Golden Corral on Saturday night, when they refresh the ribs and the pulled pork. Fucking fat bastards. Thankless pickled-brained gluttons, vaccuming my sweet fine muscles into their dog guts.


Anyways, I'm not dead, so they can shove it.

I'm down on the floor, with my left cheek planted so hard into the carpet that I can feel some of the fibers tickling the corner of my eyball. I'm being still too, and quiet, so when the damn dogs come hovering I have to give them stealth kicks and ninja pops to get them to clear out. 

I see Violet's little socks thumping across her side of the floor. She's on the move. Perfect. She has no clue I'm here. I can barely make out her feet when they stop just a few inches away from my eye, on the other side of her bedroom door.

Twist/Shake/Twist/Twist/Shake! Ha! She's trying to turn the door knob! I'm breaded in pride crumbs. My little girl trying to escape her bedroom on her own.

I am enamored. Fascinated with a splash of terror.

(  And I'm ok with it as long as I'm in on the whole thing, either lying in wait behind the door, or having a Diet Coke and some chips as I watch my secret bank of forty three hidden camera montors. Whatever works is fine with me. I'll get as creative as she does. Sneaking out the window at 11pm on a Friday night when we're supposed to be waking up early tomorrow morning for a family trip to the Christmas Tree Farm/YES IN JULY!, to keep an eye on the tree we tagged with a sliver of orange ribbon back in March; to make certain it is growing and will be ready for the sixty pounds of lights and kabibble we aim to hang from its carcass come December. Sneaking out the window, using the little fire ladder I have set up to aid her in an emergency, a ladder which she descends, quietly/swiftly, down-down-down, to the freedom she deserves and the friends she NEEDS to see TONIGHT; to be with other humans who actually understand her and love her, not like her thick-headed dorky asshole Dad who is, O.M.G!: waiting at the bottom of the ladder, with a glass of wine; ankle-deep in Home Depot barkchips and cedar shavings.

"Hi, Honey."  )

So, Violet whacks at the knob a few times and sighs. Then, she lets out a gasp; a sweet beautiful little cry for help from some unseen God of Kids/God of Locked Doors. I smile at that.

Watching things under a door, with only about an inch of vantage, is really something. You have to use so much of your imagination, to picture exactly what is going on in there, but you're also dictated quite a bit of the story just by the shadowy movements of feet, the sounds that slip out of people's lips when they are sure they are alone and forgotten. At one point, my daughter rams her head a couple times  against her side of the door. When you're the parent you get used to having that extra sense that tells you: Yes, that particular thwap on the front window or echoing off of the dryer, yeah, that was your kid's head slamming around out there. Same here. As soon as she pops the door with her noodle I can tell it was a head butt. She does it twice more, then: no sound.

I dig deep into the carpet and watch as her feet disappear around a corner. I strain my ears and soon enough I make out some Russian. She's in there blabbering it up with her stuffed Ikea rat, talking in tongues to the good listener. Her tones amaze me. Lilting conversational tones, tones of inquiry and chastising and gentle prodding. And no sensible words, just secret ishkibibble dressed up in tight little sentences. I see her in my head. I see her standing over beside her new big kid's bed, holding the rat in her plum fist, pointing her teeny finger at his whiskered snout.

She tells him whats up. Tells him they're trapped. Tells him not to worry, she'll think of something.

Then, she's back at the door. The small socks turn the corner and the knob bursts with a fresh bustle of turns and shakes. (It isn't locked, but it doesn't matter much.) Pow,Pow,Pow, she kicks the door just by my eye. It is a spectacular visual, for me at least. Like watching wildlife shows when you're baked. The 1978 thick clumsy footage of high mountain rams smashing skulls at 75 mph as you drag a Ruffles through supermarket onion dip and all of the universe spins up in a swirling tornado crueller of toasted mind-blows. She kicks at the door, at the camera's expensive lense, and I narrate in my head.

"I'mmmmm Marty Stouffer. The rarely seen Sleepy Grumpkin is a sight to behold. With its friend the Swedish Furniture Rat, she can tear apart her own deep cave nest in a matter of minutes, driven by her endless need to parade around on the forest floor, looking for things to pick up and, sometimes, rice cake crumbs or boot mud she can nibble upon. Join me as we peer in on this fascinating creature, Tonight on Wiiiilllllld America."

I slide my fingers into the crack between the door and the carpet and her fumbling around stops.

There is a long solitary moment when I am the soul of giddy anticipation. What will happen? What's she gonna do? I mean, there are really only two things that can happen, I guess. B ut I'm hoping of one of them.

I wait. I wiggle my digits, slide them a little this way and that.

Then it comes. I feel her light fingers brush the tops of mine, as if she's touching to make sure shes seeing; as if she's making sure she isn't dreaming. I lift as much of my hand as I can.

She pokes at me again.

I grab hold of one of her fingers.

She cackles with glee. I shake it a little bit: you're mine now!: a friendly monster coming in under the door. It makes her bananas. She darts backwards acrosss the room and I can barely see it happen.  I give knock on the door and she comes flying back and starts whacking at the knob again.

And, then of course, I go in. Like a dumbass. Like a spoiler, an enabler. Unable to stick to my plan, to just watch and not give myself up; to observe the kid in her natural habitat as she freaks out/plays me, and then eventually, falls asleep like she's supposed to be doing, on her bed or curled up down on the carpet.

I open the door and she flies right right by my kness like a chicken on its way across the yard, never looking up at me, never paying me any mind at all.

Places to go, shit to do, man. Places to go. Shit to do.