Battles with the encroaching rodent population continue, and I believe I am winning, though slowly.

It was "surge" time. Armed with a dozen large glue traps and half a pound of sunflower seeds, I was ready to do battle in earnest.

It was high time. I would be sitting in my chair writing on my computer, or about to doze off on the sofa, when all of a sudden:

TUMBLE RUMBLE RUSTLE SCURRY SCRAPE!!!

Across the living room ceiling, in the space between the ceiling and the second story floor. Then dead silence. The next thing I know:

BUMBLE BANG BONG SLAP POW!!!

This will wake you up and scare the bejeezus out of the cat napping at your side. I half expected to hear a yell of, "The British are coming! The British are coming!"

There are three definite intrusion areas: The living room ceiling and stairway area; the piddling room, and the bathroom at the rear of the house. I do not know where they get in the other areas, but I know theyíre getting in through the garage intersection with the shop roof to get to the living room. Youíll ask why I havenít simply blocked off that access point, right? Well, simple: Itís a point of ambush.

This is war, you know. I know where the enemy supply lines enter camp, and I know where their troop movements are. Unfortunately, they have positioned themselves on an elevated position where they can see for miles around, and they only move at night.

Crafty devils.

I have given up use of the rifle. I was getting after them with my grandmaís .22 loaded with birdshot.

I love that old gun. When my dad was about 10 or so, visiting the Rez from Ft. Worth, he and a buncha the other kids challenged my grandma to hit a clothespin on a clothesline from a good 40 yards.

Ma Faye put the little Winchester to her shoulder, took careful aim and POW! The clothespin spun like it was about to take off!

The kids were astounded. "Do it again, maw!" they pleaded.

"Nope," she said, handing the rifle back to my dad. "I only have to prove myself once."

She told me, some 50 years later, "Truth was, I couldnít believe I hit it in the first place, I wasnít about to try to do it again!"

But those were different days. Nowadays if I go prowling around the garage with a little Winchester rifle somebody starts thinking Iím crazy or something. Can you imagine? I liked being an urban Indian much better.

So I set myself up a big glue trap on the ledge of the wall frame inside the garage. Knowing that, in the past, I have lost two of these four-by-six sized traps into thin air, I hammered a six-penny nail through the corner of the trap and into the two-by-four.

Come morning, I slipped out the shop door, slunk my way over to the garage and peered up.

The trap was gone.

I looked everywhere. No sign of it. In the garage, in the yard, all the way to the bayou.

Now, do you suppose a rat somehow towed a four-by-six inch trap, half an inch thick, through a narrow slit between the metal roofing and the wood panels into the house?

This is the fourth trap Iíve lost this way, and Iím starting to think they believe Iím merely supplying them with self-adhesive building materials and theyíre constructing a little high-rise apartment complex somewhere in my attic. If I used conventional traps, with the spring-loaded bar, would they use it as a winch or something?

I put up another trap and Lo! The next morning, I had one of the skanky suckers!

Now Iím beset with the task of climbing back up the ladder with a hammer and pulling the two nails so I can retrieve the trap and rodent Ė hopelessly stuck and squirming. Ewwwwwww!

Having one of their troops captured and summarily executed, an alarm must have been sounded, and a memo sent out in triplicate:

From: Central Command, Charenton

To: All Commanders, All Divisions

Re: Enemy tactics

Beware of all four-inch by six-inch black objects associated with sunflower seeds. Enemy tactic recently discovered. If captured, haul entire object away, we will assist you with disposal in construction of barracks. That is all.

I have cut down their populations, I know. Iíve taken out six, so far. I donít hear as much noise. Either that, or theyíve gone into stealth mode. Now and then I could swear I see a little red dot on my chestÖ

But I got home from work one day, and Patches had delivered me a casualty on the stoop. So Iím not alone in my battles.

Itís quieter now. I think Iím getting there. One at a time. Theyíve carried off more traps than Iíve disposed of with them. Itís a numbers game. Iíve set me up a blueprint of the house in the kitchen, on the dining table, and I move little plastic green soldiers and artillery around with long sticks as I plan my strategy. If only I had a navy!

Now, theyíve gotten into my tomato plants.

Sure enough, chewed it right in half. The little monsters. It either was that, or the squirrels.

Now, the way I feel about squirrelsÖ

To quote a hero of mine, "You know, of course, this means war."