Rats

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Justin Cullen's rat story was interesting; one can attain a 36” vertical jump encountering one unexpectedly, which occasionally I reached opening up boxcars filled with grain early in the morning working for the Union Pacific.

In the early 1960s, my father had a long time hunting partner, named Henry, who retired from owning a gas station. He soon got bored and decided to take a job as a night watchman at Armour's meat packing plant. At that time Omaha had four big packing plants and every week would vie with Chicago for the number one position for number of cattle slaughtered. Of course those large numbers of livestock would attract a large number of rats, which he thought, knowing my father's love for hunting and shooting would be a wonderful fit.

So Henry proposed to my father that he should come down to the plant an hour at the beginning of his shift, around 11 p.m.

My dad told me about it, and at first it sounded rather exciting and I thought about going, but I had an important economics test early the next day. I also had some reservations about shooting in the city which I expressed to my father. He brushed it off saying he would be shooting .22 shorts which don't have as much velocity. I also realized that he was not interested in me going anyway; he wanted all the rats for himself.

He brought 1,000 rounds.  Henry would turn on the flood lights and the rats would freeze and Dad would fire away. He pushed so many rounds through that rifle that the barrel would glow. No need for a night watchman to make sure no cattle rustling that evening. Apparently at the end of the carnage, about four hours later, out of ammunition and exhausted, he went home. Hundreds of dead rats all over. Miraculously, no cattle or or any other critters were shot. Henry said the rats had all disappeared by daybreak, the victims of cannibalism.

VIC MASSARA

Omaha, Neb.

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