Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet," "Endangered Edens," and the "Time Is Irreverent" series.

Martyman, rats, and mice. Oh, my!

Martyman and the frozen meat

Last night, at 2:30, my dog Lucy went crazy. It wasn’t one of her normal barks. It was one of those “Dad, get up! Mass murderers are at the door!” barks.

Thinking it was actually just a bear, I rolled out of bed and hurried to a window. I looked out to see a pickup truck in the driveway. Had I finally pissed-off the local right-wingers enough that the men with pitch forks had arrived? I briefly considered grabbing a can of bear spray, but instead I raced downstairs in my underwear.

Martyman met me at the door, with his AR-15. I said to him, “What the hell are you doing with a gun? You know I detest those things!”

Martyman replied: “I stole it from your Republican Jesus*. It’s amazing how easy it is to disarm someone who isn’t properly trained.”

(*My son gave me a Jesus action figure years ago, and the toy insists on parading around our house, carrying an oversized assault rifle.)

“Okay, on the count of three,” I said. Martyman and I burst out onto the front porch! Me in just my underpants; Martyman with his AR-15. I tripped over something large and heavy. It was a box labeled “Frozen Meat.”

Had the local right-wingers chopped someone up and left him frozen on my porch? No. It was a box of frozen rodents! Once a year, I order food for my three rainbow boa snakes. This year’s order included 125 extra-large mice and 40 medium rats.*

(*I really hope God doesn’t turn out to be a giant rodent. Because if he is one, I’m going straight to hell for ordering the mass murder of thousands of rats and mice during my lifetime. But hey, snakes have to eat.)

Here’s what had happened: My supplier, RodentPro, had shipped the rats and mice via Fed-Ex from Indiana. Something went wrong when the package reached Billings, Montana, and it ended up just sitting there. RodentPro complained to Fed-Ex that the rodents would spoil, so Fed-Ex hired an independent contractor to drive them 375 miles to my house. That contractor didn’t arrive until 2:30 in the morning.

I have to say that I’m impressed with the independent contractor’s dedication. I live out in the country, on a dark dirt road. The last part of the drive requires a steep, winding climb to the top of a hill—and no GPS gets my house location correct. The driver could have easily left the rodents on the wrong porch.

Imagine if that had happened. Someone would have found a box, marked “frozen meat,” at their door and thought a friend sent them a gift of seafood or steaks. They would have been in for one hell of a surprise when they opened the box!


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