Note: The interviewee has a “real job” and did not want to use his real name.
Q: Tell me about this job. How old were you?
A: I was a sophomore in high school, whatever age that is. I was in this photography class and we took a field trip to a wild animal rehab center. Like a raccoon gets hit by a car, they take in the babies. Or an opossum gets hit by a car and it’s injured and they take it in.
Q: An opossum? Is there a difference between a “possum” and an “opossum”?
A: No idea.
Q: OK, so you’re at the place?
A: Yes. The place had raccoons, opossums, snakes, hawks, some turtles…
All of the animals were in separate cages spread across about three acres. And during the trip we noticed that all of these rats were in holes and tunnels… They’d pop up, grab food from the animals, and sneak back into their holes. We saw it like 15 times within a couple of hours.
Q: In the middle of the day?
Q: Were they mice?
Q: How big?
A: Average rat size. I’d say about a foot from snout to tail.
Q: So how did you get this job?
A: We were all leaving and my friend and I ran into the owners, who were very creepy by the way.
We were like, “You’ve got a pretty serious rat problem.” And they were like, “We’ve tried everything. We can’t use poison because of the animals.” So we asked, “Have you tried shooting them?”
Q: Did you shoot a lot of things at this point in your life?
A: Not really, no.
Q: How did you learn to use a gun?
A: The Boy Scouts.
Q: Where did you get the guns?
A: My friends’ parents.
Q: OK, so you asked the owners if they tried to shoot the rats and they said?
A: They said nope. And we said, “We can take care of this for you.” And they said, “Whatever it takes.”
Keep in mind that we were sophomores and these were adults.
Then we were negotiating how we’d get paid, like should we get paid hourly… We said, “How about per rat?”
The owner thought about it and decided on 50 cents per rat. No contract signed, no liability waiver…
They told us to come back, and we returned that same day.
Q: When did you go? After school?
A: They said it would have to be at night.
A: They were open to people during the day. The start time was 10pm on school nights.
Q: Did your parents know you did this?
A: We’d sneak out. And my friend had the two shotguns.
Q: Did his parents know you took the guns?
Anyway, we got there and they walked us through the place. They showed us where the bigger problems were, and the rats WERE EVERYWHERE. We quickly realized there was an interconnected series of tunnels connecting the whole place.
Q: Were the owners afraid you’d kill the animals?
A: They told us just to be careful. I think we were more concerned than they were.
Q: How did it all work?
A: In a cage there would be a raccoon and two rats. You had to wait for the rat to move away before you could shoot. And once you did, the sound of the gun scared the animals.
Then you had to get the dead rat out and we weren’t allowed to open the cages.
At some point it became a cat and mouse game, almost like a cartoon. There was one particular rat that I spent about 45 minutes with. The hole was probably 10 feet away. I’d sit there ready and its little snout would poke out. I’d wait to see its full head so I could blow it off. For 45 minutes its little eye would peek up at me and then he’d disappear back down the hole. I never got him.
Another time I was out of ammo and I had a BB gun. I was walking in a barn and about 20 feet away, I shined a light on the wall and saw a rat running there. Like an Olympian marksman, I followed and shot it. It didn’t die, it just sort of ran back where it came from.
Q: Did you ever paint your face with camouflage paint?
Q: How many rats did you kill that night?
A: I think it was around 45 rats.
We were there for four hours. The word “holocaust” is messed up and not at all acceptable to use… but it’s appropriate… it was a mass killing.
There was a husband and wife, and we’d been talking mostly with the wife. But the creepy husband started following us with a wheelbarrow. We found a rat that wasn’t quite dead, and it is sad to watch an animal die. The husband got pretty worked up; he came out with a plastic bag and a canister of gas and he said, “No no, let’s just do it this way guys.”
Q: How did you know how many rats you killed?
A: The husband counted them all because he was paying.
It was a pretty gruesome scene—all of those rats in the wheelbarrow…
Q: Was it profitable?
A: After we paid for the ammo we actually lost money.
Q: How long did you do this?
A: We only did it four times. Each time we went back, the numbers went down tremendously, something like 10, then 8, then 5, then that was it. They were gone. The owners noticed it too.
Q: Did your parents ever find out?
Q: Do they know now?
Q: How old are you?
Q: Can I have their email address?