Three Good and True Rat Stories

By: Jack Deal

All three of these are true; I couldn't have made them up. I was an eye witness to all three and even ate some of number three. If you are a little queasy, you might want to read these accounts a bit later when your system has settled down.

Rat Story #1 occurred recently after we had constructed our house in rural Veracruz. It was made of adobe mud walls and had cement floors. It has wooden rafters and a tin roof that heats up in the hot season. It is dry but could flood with long periods of rain or a hurricane. It is still standing and with relatives living in it now.

One night we are in bed and the wife is asleep. I'm looking up at the rafters wondering what in God's name I was doing in rural Veracruz. Then I see him walking on the rafter, slowly and deliberately -- a big ugly rat. I reach over for my .22 rifle, unlock the safety and aim.

"Don't you dare," was all she said. She was right...the piece of tin was worth a lot more than the dead rat. She grew up on a ranch so she knows about these things. I put the gun down and noticed the rat had stopped and turned his head toward me as if to say ... well, you can imagine what the rat said. He certainly knew how to pour salt on the wound.

Rat Story #2. We had just moved into the palapas in our Maya village when one afternoon we both noticed a smell like something had died. Sometimes in the city we don't get those type of smells... I went outside and tried to find the source but to no avail.

When we got back from the ranch the next day the smell was overwhelming. Being the farmgirl that she is,she pointed to the loft and said 'it's up there. Go get it and get rid of it'. Being the farm girl that she is, she knows what to do in these types of situations and how to get me to do it.

I crawl up into the loft over our air bed and find the dead critter directly over my pillow. The critter was not only smelling but beginning to ooze as well.

At night, just before going to sleep, she said ' you know, that dead, dripping rat was right over your head. If you hadn't gotten it out it would have dripped on you while you slept.' She didn't tell me something I didn't already know but being the farmgirl that she is she wanted to make certain I knew.

Rat Story #3 involves my friend Poot and catching the tepe. It's actually something all civilized people should know. It's ecologically sound as it uses no chemicals or otherwise degrades the environment. Poot traps these animals with a rock and stick trap outside their dens. One night they're wandering back in from a night on the jungle and bingo, there is one trapped tepe.

Poot caught one, skinned it, cut it up, built a fire of really hot coals, laid the tepe meat on banana leaf stalks, covered the whole thing with a metal card table top and then buried it in dirt for a little an hour. Technically speaking the tepe is not a rat but it has rat teeth and rat hands and feet. And the Maya absolutely do not eat house rats, like the one in Rat Story #2.

With no condiments or marination -- just the meat, and no other requirements. To be served with hot tortillas and habanero salsa. Tastes like a cross between pork and chicken. Mmmm....that's good rat!

So there you have my nominations for best rat story. If you've got better ones, let me know.

The truth is we can never have too many good rat stories.

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Jack D. Deal is the owner of Deal Business Consulting. He can be contacted at [email protected] Related articles can be found at and

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