It was a plasticene day in the neighbourhood when Mortimer Snert was awakened by his cat. The cat, which had developed the nasty habit of sleeping on Mort’s face, had had it’s attention attracted and pealed out, leaving skid marks on Mort’s face and his left arm. Ripping off the covers, Mort leaped out of bed and pursued the cat, intent on causing it serious physical damage. However, he had not taken the time to install his contact lenses, and without them, quickly lost track of the cat. Returning to the dresser, Mort found his glasses, and returned to the search for the cat. It didn’t take long, because the cat was now standing in the shower, with its nose stuck firmly into the corner, and was yelling at the top of its lungs. Now Mort’s cat knew better than to stand in the shower, much less stand there and yell like it was. This irritated Mort just a tad, and he reached for the cold water faucet, intent on giving the cat a bath for all its trouble. Just as his hand reached the knob, Mort became aware of this aweful gnawing sound eminating from under the floor of the shower. What the hell is that? Mort asked the cat. Yow! Said the cat, which translated from cateese is There’s a squirrel under the floor and if I yell loud enough maybe he’ll go away. By now, the commotion had attracted the other cat, and all of a sudden it was also in the shower with its nose in the corner, yelling too. Not to be outdone, the original cat started yelling again, accompanied by even more intense gnawing sounds. Thinking quickly, Mort pounded on the wall of the shower and yelled Stop That, causing the cats to scatter and the gnawing to stop. Satisfied that the problem was over, Mort returned to bed. Just as his head hit the bloody pillows, the gnawing started again, which started the cats also. Deciding he wasn’t going to get any sleep, Mort got up, ate breakfast, and went to work. When he returned that evening, the gnawing was still going on, as was the cat yelling. Mort had had enough. Digging out the ladder, he went out on the front porch and proceeded to remove the ceiling, which was directly under the shower. Removing one of the boards and the insulation above it left Mort face to face with a very pissed off squirrel. Mr. Squirrel bared his teeth, flattened his ears back, made the squirrel noise and lashed his tail 57 times. Mort, being the brave soul that he was, dived off the ladder and retreated to the safety of his house, leaving Mr. Squirrel to figure out how to get down. Several hours later, Mort returned to the porch with a huge flashlight and pawed through the insulation to see if Mr. Squirrrel had gotten out. Seeing no signs of him, Mort bolted the porch back together and went to bed. The next day when Mort got home from work, he could hear the gnawing from the front porch and the cats yelling from upstairs. Mort was bent. He had fixed the place in the attic where the squirrel had gotten into the pipe chase, but as everyone knows, if squirrels want to go somewhere, there’s nothing that will stop them. So dragging the ladder out, Mort disconnected the ceiling again, expecting to find Mr. Squirrel. To his surprise, the beastie was nowhere to be found. Mort could still hear the gnawing though. This concerned him greatly, because squirrels are destructive little bastards. Mort had been in on the aftermath of a squirrel attack in Edmond one day, and the critters had eaten the insulation off the electrical wiring in the attic, leaving exposed live wires everywhere. In addition to that, one of them had inadvertantly electrocuted himself, and had fallen down between the walls. Now, being the middle of summer, it wasn’t long before he exploded, and blood and guts started oozing out from under the baseboard and into the carpet. The family that lived there quickly evacuated, and the sheetrock and carpet had to be removed and pitched. And after all that, there was still this distinctive aroma in the house. Mort could envision this happening at his house, because where the gnawing seemed to be coming from was under part of the bathroom that had a double floor. He decided to leave the ceiling off, and went back inside, where he pounded noisily on the floor and ran water. Suddenly the gnawing stopped. For about 5 minutes. Then it returned. It was getting real late, and Mort dearly wished for some sleep. The gnawing was now getting intermittant, and Mort hoped that maybe he could get to sleep between the chewing sessions. He was deadly tired, and figured if he could get to sleep, nothing short of nuclear war would wake him up. Well. This was not necessarily the case. Just as he was about to drift off, the gnawing would resume, and the cats would come running from wherever they were and start yelling, and Mort would get up and pound and run water. This process repeated itself all night that night. The next day was studio production at foreign language. Now Mort was not one to get bored at his job, nor was he prone to falling asleep while working, but that day found him more than once on another planet. He was constantly waking up to hear the teacher requesting a different shot, or graphic or something else. Try as he might, Mort could not concentrate. Between productions, he headed downstairs to the soda machine. What he needed was a little caffiene. No, actually what he needed was a Lot of caffiene. Standing in front of the machine, he looked for Jolt Cola. Now we must remember that Mort did not usually drink pop of any kind, much less stuff like Jolt. But he was getting desperate to keep awake, he had 5 more hours of programming to do, and it wasn’t about to get any better. Not finding Jolt, Mort selected the next most severe thing he could think of, Mountain Dew. This was extremely nasty stuff, and had the second highest caffiene content of all the soft drinks made. Mort bought 3 bottles and a handfull of candy bars. Since the studio had a policy of not allowing food or drinks in the control room, Mort had about 7 minutes to drink the cola and eat the candy bars. Whipping the lid off the first dew, he belted it down in seconds. Immediately he remembered why he didn’t like carbonated beverages. Belching loudly, he chased the dew with a candy bar. Then he chased the candy bar with another dew. And another candy bar, and another dew. By now, Mort was on the verge of blowing up like the guy on Monty Python. He still had a few candy bars left over, and by now was speeding quite nastily. Heading back to the control room, he finished the day. Returning home that night, he was greeted with the eternal gnawing, although the cats had thankfully given up yelling. Mort was still speeding. Getting the ladder back out, he determined that he was going to find that damned squirrel and strangle it with his bare hands. Now Mort was not inclined to be vicious with animals, (with the possible exception of opossums, but that’s another story) and he respected their little animal rights, but all that ended when they decided to be obnoxious, and invade his house and chew on things and just generally be a pain in the butt. So it was, that if Mort could find the thing, and get his hands on it, he was prepared to cause it permanent damage. So he ascended the ladder, with the cop flashlight in hand, and poked around to see if he could find Rocky. The gnawing was still going on, and the harder Mort looked, the more difficult it became to determine where the noise was coming from. Finally, out of frustration, he reached out and gave the sewer pipe a good whack. Instantly, he heard scurrying noises, and the gnawing started up right by his ear. The squirrel was INSIDE the pipe. Oh great, said Mort, to no one in particular. Carefully looking at the maze of plumbing above him, mort decided that there was no way to extract the squirrel without dismantling the shower, half the bathroom, the ceiling on the porch and part of the attic. No, something else would have to be done. Mort tried lowering a rope down the vent pipe in the attic where the squirrel had made his entrance to see if he would climb up the rope, but either he was faced the wrong direction, or it was too dark to see, or the beastie was not mechanically inclined, but that didn’t work. Mort tried running water to see if he would maybe go back up the pipe. That didn’t work either. So throwing up his hands, Mort decided to go to bed. Now there’s something that happens to one, when he is not used to caffiene, and suddenly drinks 3 litres of it, plus half a dozen candy bars. Yes, Mort was speeding his butt off. So trying to find something to do, he went upstairs and worked on a computer. This one happened to be a particularly cantankerous one, and he decided that maybe it would take his mind off things. Well it didn’t. And neither did the gnawing. Mort was surprised that with the amount of chewing that had gone on, that the squirrel hadn’t chewed away half the pipes. So Mort stayed up working on computers and listening to gnawing. Along about 4:30, the buzz finally wore off, and Mort passed out on his bed. The alarm clock went off way too early for Mort, and he dragged himself out of bed and went to work. Going downstairs, he noticed the gnawing had stopped. Dragging himself through the day, he returned home to a quiet house. Mort suspected that the squirrel had ingested enough pvc to kill 3 horses and had probably croaked and would be jammed in the vent pipe and probably smell bad for a while, and that would be that. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Mr. Squirrel had indeed croaked (and Mort didn’t feel a bit sorry for him, no, not at all) but instead of lodging himself in the vent pipe, he fell into the main sewer line, and in no time at all, was propelled out under the back yard on the way to the city sewer. That is, until he hit the tree roots. Here is where he became permanently lodged, and formed a perfect watertight seal inside the pipe. Now Mort didn’t realise this fact until he was in the kitchen, and heard funny noises and noticed a Real Distinctive Smell eminating from the bathroom. Cautiously opening the door, Mort discovered that the sewer was not behaving as it should. Immediately, he knew what was wrong. Grabbing the phone book, he called the plumber. They couldn’t come out until next week. He continued down the yellow pages until he found one that would come that afternoon. Mort waited patiently until afternoon, when he received a phone call from the plumber saying that he couldn’t make it. Mort was not pleased. He had talked to every plumber in the phone book, and that was the only one who could make it, and now he couldn’t. Now Mort was no dummy, but if there was one thing he really hated to do, that would be working on sewers. But it looked like there was no choice. Calling around, he located a rental store with a roto rooter machine which they would be happy to rent him. Mort decided to do the preliminaries before he rented the thing, since it was on an hourly basis, so going into the basement, he headed to the cleanout junction. Now mort had been through this before, and last time, there was residual water in the pipe. So mort located a 5 gallon bucket with the intention of draining the water out, and then going to get the machine. Positioning the bucket carefully under the connection, Mort began unscrewing the cap. Water began drizzling out into the bucket. It was coming out kinda slow, and he decided that if he unscrewed the cap ½ turn more, it might take less time to drain. That was a Big Mistake. As he inched the cap off slowly, the threads failed and close to 100 gallons of real live sewer water shot out of the pipe. Not expecting this to happen, Mort was indeed in the very wrong position, and was floored by the gusher of water. The water was under such pressure that it hit the far wall of the basement and splattered for days. Finally the water quit. Mort was not a happy boy. Now he was covered with nasty water and mud, and smelt real bad, and since the sewer didn’t work, he couldn’t very well wash it off. So he headed upstairs and was about to get out the water hose when the phone rang. It was the plumber. He could make it after all. Mort told him about the basement, and the guy laughed. So Mort went out into the freezing weather and washed off the big chunks with the hose, and had just gotten semi dry and changed clothed when the plumber arrived. Mort told him about the squirrel. The guy thought it was funny. So they dragged the roto rooter machine down to the basement, and proceeded to chew their way through the tree roots and squirrel guts. Finally it was done, and once again the toilets flushed and the water worked like it was supposed to. So now all Mort had to do was to clean out the basement. But that would be another day.