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Claudine Jones

Center Effect

Last week I facebooked two old friends Lunch! Hadn't seen either of them in quite a while; it turned out to be a great idea. Being out of circulation & out of regular rehearsals has me squarely nervous & spending waaaay too much time reading googlenews inanity, watching Nurse Jackie & knitting & suddenly thinking of an item I can't live without thus requiring that I hit pause & open Amazon while I've got the idea in mind. I've stopped checking to see if everything I ordered has shipped! or is on its way! or delivered by front porch. R  looks to see if the mail is here, or  goes out for the recycling bins, or for a walk; then I hear his steps coming up the stairs you got a package!  Something I desired two days ago has made its way to me.

This is not to say I haven't obsessively listened to next repertoire mp3s or cooked or baked or tackled other stuff—o, no, indeed.

We lost our dishwasher to rodents last month; who knew the door-bottom had perfect access to wires, solenoids & insulation?  It appeared those little fuckers were hitting all the soft stuff. Jake's bedroom/our TV room turned up lovies with stuffing coming out of their faces & ears; my bed-buddy attacked in the middle of the night from its place on the floor (even the best BB ends up there when it has cooled off), so grain everywhere. The couch in the guest room where I can read in the sun & take naps—had to remove the pillows & leave a micro-fleece blanket spread out--& guess who's leetle paw prints were in evidence all over it next morning? Guess who took a swim in the W.C. at 2AM?

O the plodding room after another, micro-fleeced & shut up tight with bath mats jammed under the door, little snacks of sodium poison strategically placed & traps with fresh goodies & new batteries. Downstairs in the back porch room, to protect the upholstery & anything else that might be tempting, we just had to vacuum thoroughly & close up the old sliding door. Anything in the music room had to be covered up. Traps weren't working—catch & release with bacon; wire loaded with peanut butter;  zappers with cashews or oyster crackers or chicken feed—not a single corpse. 

One memorable Saturday we both had a night of continuously interrupted sleep—an individual was chewing & not making any attempt at discreetness. Any amount of stumbling around with a penlight was fruitless.

The next morning: between the kitchen & dining room where we had very cleverly (we thought) blocked both drafts & denizens with a cunning fabric-covered snake—said serpent was rudely eviscerated & (this still pisses me off) the entire lower corner of the fucking door and the trim had been gnawed through like somebody with a goddamn sawsall.    But no egress. A check around the domicile showed no evidence. The noise had just radiated from kitchen all the way up the wall to the ceiling & into the bedroom above.


We decided it was time to have a look-see behind that dishwasher—I mean, between the two of us we had done a serious amount of obstructing, so now...if it was a question of wall-habitation—ewww—there was nothing for it but to bust that dead appliance out. We had already ordered a new one & the guy was going to take the junker away, but it had eventually to be un-installed by us. Yay. Way to spend a relaxing Sunday morning. I called my big brother to ask about the plumbing bits & he talked me through. I said okay, got it.

Five minutes into this I panicked. Called my brother back Help!

You do not want to know what then ensued. Suffice to say we were quite thankful that it was not raining—it had the day before & it did the day after, but praise the gods not that Sunday. The back french doors could be flung wide, everything in the room shifted, a very handy double music stand light illuminating anywhere behind furniture, & holy crap there was only the one gnawer who scared the living tuna-salad out of us.  Out across the floor, around the fridge, between legs, behind the toaster, avoiding a Swiffer spear. He had not gone through into the wall behind the dishwasher, he was only living there, staying warm & very annoyed at being stuck in the kitchen at night.   We are adept at jumping out of the way & lucky that my big brother is no sissy.

The house is calmed; I'm looking forward to starting a new year with colleagues & friends, music & lunches.

I do not believe in magical thinking. Just because I say no sign of rat doesn't bring him back.

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Actor/Singer/Dancer Claudine Jones has worked steadily in Bay Area joints for a number of decades.
She writes a monthly column and is
a Senior Writer for Scene4.
For more of her commentary and articles,
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©2016 Claudine Jones
©2016 Publication Scene4 Magazine




February 2016

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