Once upon a time there was a little boy, whose hard work, determination and perseverance to nag his mother to within an inch of her life finally paid off and he was on the precipice of being the proud owner of two Dumbo Rats.

One can only surmise that the boy’s mother was in the throws of a mental breakdown, probably brought on by the lack of home Internet going on two weeks, resulting in a severe lapse of judgement, when one Sunday morning they found themselves parked up at the far far away land of Creatures & Critters at 9am. It was actually for a school project on Chameleons, Veil Chameleons to be precise. With no Internet, and an oral due, Mom who was clearly not in the right frame of mind to have foreseen where this trip might have ended up, decided to take the boy to go see actual Chameleons and ask the pet store staff questions so that he could get real life experience to talk about instead of sitting on the couch googling pics with Mom’s dwindling data on her iPhone.

The boy, whose secret power turns out to be professional nagging, kicked it up a notch and got cracking on Mom’s nerves. He went in high, as any skilled negotiator would do. He wanted a chameleon or lizard.  One look at the price, and Mom was having none of it. Never ever. Que the over friendly, over helpful, eager to please sales staff. “M’aam (we will circle back to Mom’s irritation at being referred to as M’aam) , we don’t recommend lizards or such as pets for children, however, if you follow me here… we have very cute child friendly Dumbo rats. They make the best pets for kids. And they are only R90 each”

This would turn out to be the first of many Mommy-muttered-under-her-breath moments. “FFS, FML, f&!k.

The Mom looked around for help. A fairy godmother or a genie or a flying donkey. Fok all.

The boy, the boy’s sister and the sales staff – all 3 oo’ing and aahh-ing at the little critters, had already picked out two, yes two, and named them.

Mom must have been having another Mommy-muttered-under-her-breath moment as to this day she cannot recall their names.

The dear boy’s mother was torn. She had been traveling a lot, she was tired, her resolve was low. Would rats be that bad? Perhaps this was a teaching moment. Give the boy all the responsibility of keeping them alive and then when they aren’t, it’s a win-win all round.

  • Mom got boy rats – brownie points
  • Boy has his brief time with the rats – boy is happy
  • Boy realises looking after rats is a huge responsibility – Lesson learnt
  • A good parenting moment
  • Rats are gone, story is done

Okay you can get rats, but it’s coming out of your pocket money”  

– the sentence the boy was waiting to hear, and the sentence Mom wished she never said.

Ah but first, a cage!

Twas a slight problem of housing. The actual rats, it turns out, were the cheap part.

Mother and boy (and girl) left the pet store with a solemn promise to the sales staff to return before closing to purchase the rats and return them to Rockwood where they were supposed to live happily ever after.

They journeyed to the quaint little village of The Lucky Bean for tea, time-out and free wifi. But the little boy wanted to make sure his Mom kept their promise and so like clockwork, nagged and nagged and nagged – asking his Mom if she had found a cage yet. Feverishly, Mom jumped on Google, Gumtree and Facebook’s Upper Highway Buy, Swap & Sell, with desperate pleas of a rat’s cage for sale. Time was ticking, Creatures & Critters closed at 3!

With the magic wave of the finger on facebook, the Mom came up with the goods! A cage for sale, in budget, in Kloof. Seller was available at 2pm. Rare that someone who posts something for sale on Upper Highway is actually from the Upper Highway area. There must have been a fairy godmother in the mix, for sure. Typical, now she bloody turns up.

As time ticked by, very slowly, accompanied by the not-so-soft mumblings and murmurs of “When can we get the cage? When can we get the rats?” the time had come to set forth to ATM to draw cash, then to Kloof to fetch the cage, then to Bothas Hill to buy the rats.  It must be said at this point that they had picked up a roaming villager, Tebs, who was only too delighted to accompany them on their quest. (Obviously)

With the sun shining, the birds chirping and harp music in the background, the boy, the boy’s sister, the boy’s mother and Tebs the villager arrived in Rockwood Estate with the rats, all except Mom blissfully happy and content with the new additions to the household.

Apart from a brief crisis where both rats got stuck in the array of tunnels circling around in the cage and we had to send for uncle Rod the neighbour to help dismantle the tunnels to extract them…(They ended up squashed up together, the one’s face in the other ones butt and Mom was in no way prepared to try and pull them out)… all was good in Rockwood Estate.

Mommy-muttered-under-her-breath moment heresomething about how on earth she got herself in a situation where she had to call the neighbour to get two wedged rats out of a plastic blue tunnel.

But, alas dear readers, the story does not end here.  One key factor was overlooked in this tale…

Baba aka Batdog – the rat destroyer!

The rat-sniffing Jack Russell, emerged from his boudoir, ears up, nose wet, with a guttural sound like an evil wolf “I will not rest until I have those rats”

Game on.

The sky clouded over, thunder rolled in, the night began to fall. As did the boy’s mother’s patience.

The Mom warned of rats keeping the boy awake all night. That Baba would not sleep and would find a way to try and get at them. However, these warnings fell on deaf ears.

Indeed as predicted the rats kept the boy awake all night, so he ended up in Mom’s room all night. Baba barked and scratched all night, keeping Mom awake all night.

After night one, the rats were sent to live with the roaming Villager Tebs.
They were returned by Teb’s mom the next day. Drat.

More sleepless nights befell Rockwood. The situation was dire.

They rats were then banished to the study, with the door closed, in the garage, with the door closed.

The Mom wished for a swift death by neglect for the rats. But it was not to be. The boy took his rat responsibilities very very seriously. Even got smart and kept a big bowl of water next to the cage so it was easier to fill up the little water dish every day.

Mommy-muttered-under-her-breath moment here. – he can’t look after an array of inanimate objects, usually breaking them within minutes. But rats?? Seriously?

The rats were getting bigger, and making a huge mess and smelling, gross and still very much alive. Something had to be done. This was proving problematic.

The boy’s mother decided it was time to get devious.

With an imminent move to the Republic of Cape Town on the cards, the boy’s mother planted the seeds and advised the little boy that rats were not allowed to fly on planes, travel in trucks and certainly not able to go in her car. This did not go down well and the boy began to weep, a lot.

Another Mommy-muttered-under-her-breath moment.  “Mirror mirror on the wall, how can I get rid of the rats once and for all?

The boy’s mother was after the long-game here so she bided her time and waited for the right moment. And as luck would have it, a few long weeks later, it appeared in the form of a Games store at Watercrest Mall, during a power outage. Bingo! (Insert big evil laugh here).  The little boy wanted a Ps4 game… desperately.  The Mom explained to the little boy that she would love to buy the new game for him, but that it was so much money, money she didn’t have. And so the only way would be if they sold the rats. Then she could get enough money together to buy the game. Because of the power outage they couldn’t buy the game then, so it gave them time to discuss the treaty on the table. Pinky promises were made, rules laid out. It was the only way. It must be done.

After some tough negotiations, it was agreed.  The rats were to go, and the little boy could finally have W2K18. The Mom decided R499 was a small, very small price to pay, if only the power came back on. Another entire story could be told about the hours between agreeing to buy the game and 2pm when the power would return, but we can save that for another day.

When the little boy and his mother returned home, game in hand, the rats had mysteriously escaped from the cage…. that was left open. Mom’s master plan wasn’t even necessary WTF!

Mommy-muttered-under-her-breath moment.  – Seriously, like seriously? No effing way. I was soooo conned!

The little boy didn’t notice. Him and Tebs were too busy playing games.

Narrators Notes:

Unfortunately, the rats didn’t actually disappear, like they do in fairy tales. Instead the one got to work in the office, eating nearly all my cushions, and most of the net curtaining giving Zama grief and a few high pitched screams and her refusing to go into the garage, while the other set up camp in the pool pump. Which in turn make Baba absolutely crazy, barking all night, wanting to be let out the house up to 6 times every night.


Perfectly Sorted


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