Going for a bike ride usually cleared Sandy’s head, but today was different. She and Roger rarely argued, so this morning’s row raised emotions which could not simply be cycled away. Outside forces, in the shape of burglars invading local properties at will, had created tension and dissent. There was no knowing whose home was going to be targeted next. Like the rest of their community, she and Roger were afraid of the unseen enemy. One thing was perfectly obvious; they needed some sort of protection, but neither had been able to come up with a security plan that satisfied their needs.
As she biked through the forestry tracks, Sandy reviewed their options. Despite no budget, Roger believed they’d have to get the security experts in, but Sandy rebelled at the idea. Yet another expense they could ill-afford right now, with Roger ‘between jobs’ and her own work a bit slow. Roger’s argument that they’d been through financially tough times before, and survived, just didn’t cut it. Sandy was sure there was a better way, and refused to relent.
She couldn’t fathom the sort of vermin who could just take other peoples hard-earned things, and special memories, without caring about what was damaged on the way. Like filthy rats, the thieves scurried around in the dark, unseen, leaving behind dismay and destruction. They needed to be caught and dealt to, and then maybe handed over to Police.
As she turned her bike for home, Sandy fantasised a scene where Roger, her hero, would catch the rotten pack, tormenting the villains until they squeaked, evermore saving the neighbourhood from this menace. Folk would be so grateful. With his reputation magnified, Roger would have a new job in no time. Who knew, there might even be a reward, big enough to pay off the credit card. Aaah, if only.
Nearing her house, Sandy heard a terrified scream. Roger! She threw down her bike and ran, along the path, up the steps, across the veranda, only pausing long enough to grab the axe that sat beside the door. Roger screamed again.
‘Get out! Get out of my house you vermin’ he cried.
Sandy raced along the hall, and, with no thought to her own safety, flung open the kitchen door, ready to kill.
Roger was cornered, desperately cowering on the kitchen bench. A baby rat raced around the floor, frantically searching for a way out. Spotting the open door, it scuttled between Sandy’s legs and fled.
Sandy dropped the axe, and bent over, holding her ribs. Her breaths came short and shallow, while a mixture of emotions fought for control.
Roger’s subdued voice asked ‘Um, can you help me down?’
Laughter erupted from Sandy’s ribcage, forcing tears to run down her face; her body weakened and she fell to the floor, helpless.
‘It’s not funny’ growled Roger, setting Sandy off even more.
Several minutes later, aware she was hurting Roger’s feelings, Sandy struggled to sit up. Putting her head between her knees, she sucked in deep breaths, steadying her thoughts.
Finally she looked up at her hero, and in an unexpected volte-face, said “I decided you’re right. We should get the security experts in.’
Then, when she finally helped Roger down, she couldn’t help adding ‘and the exterminators.’