Saturday, December 05, 2009

Of mice and women

THE TINY dirty kitchen at the back of our house has, shall we say, been colonized by tiny invaders.

Tiny meanies. Big ears. Or plain mice.

The euphemisms I think up primarily consider the feelings of my mother, who believes naming Them aloud will dispatch Them on a frenzy of ratty destruction.

Nibbled a favorite pair of pants that can never be worn unless I want people staring at the oddly placed holes. Left in my Mary Janes fuschia pellets so pretty I thought of windblown seeds until they melted and smelled.

Though oblique, the evil we bear against Them is sleepless and undying.

Of us all, no one is colder and more calculating than our companion, Puring.

When the supermarkets seemed to run out of this fast-selling poison that dimmed the rodents’ sight so they sought the light and died conveniently out in the open, Puring discovered that a pail filled with a little water was as efficient and a lot cheaper.

Placed overnight under a tracery of branches from where They usually divebombed, the pail was a death chamber that always had two or three floaters, who gave up the ghost after swimming all night. Though masters of escape, even They could not scale the murderously smooth insides of the pail.

Any morning survivor was thrown out with the water in our garden, where a cartel of cats controls all operations.

Winning our war against the rodents just bugs me a little.

You cannot be around rats and not know how smart, or smarter, they are.

You think you run a clean place? One day, the floor drain you always figured was stuck suddenly pops us and black beady eyes look you up and down.

So I wonder why They always fall for the death-by-drowning extreme challenge nightly plotted out, with no variation, by our companion.

Are They becoming intellectually sluggish from eating what we’re also eating?

Do They regularly prune the clan of the bad and useless sort so the plastic death chamber is actually a convenience, a ready pit into which they can toss off their rubbish?

Without a doubt, the bodies I glimpsed before the cats took them away for processing were tiny and immature. I didn’t see the corpse of one of the semi-bald, battle-scarred veterans that are as big as cats, they think they are the cats and cuff around my spitting and bottlebrush-tailed felines as if they were kindergarten kitties.

So, Sherlock, what can we conclude? Adult rats never take a swim?

Or it’s only the babes that fall to their deaths, and the survivors simply watch and take their cue and endure.

I wonder if this is one of the pitfalls of naivete or just natural selection among rats?

Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael "Toto" Mangudadatu is challenging Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. in next year’s Maguindanao gubernatorial election.
Reports reached Mangudadatu that his political rival will chop him to pieces if he files his certificate of candidacy (COC).

What does a man do when someone threatens his life?

On Nov. 23, 2009, Mangudadatu sends his wife, sisters, aunts, aides, lawyers and journalists to file his COC at the Commission on Elections office in Shariff Aguak.
Mangudadatu believed that the women and the journalists would “deter” an attack.

In the tragedy that has come to be known as the Maguindanao Massacre, at least 57 people were abducted, tortured, buried alive and desecrated, not just in the killing fields of Ampatuan but in invasive news images and reports.

In more than one interview with the media, Mangudadatu does his version of breast-beating: he enumerates, by each harrowing detail, the atrocities carried out on his wife, Genalyn. He keens for justice before seguing into his political ambitions.

I am a woman and my instinct, in danger, is to gather my loved ones and shield them. I do not understand Mangudadatu.

But as with our Tiny Meanies, I will not give up observing and drawing the parallelisms of mice and women. 09173226131

* First published as Sun.Star Cebu’s Dec. 6, 2009 “Matamata” column

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