I have been waiting to see if the recently evicted rat was going to retaliate and just when I thought we might be in the clear, she lowered the boom. Four nights ago I was sitting in my living room watching TV and I heard a very loud crashing noise. I assumed something in the kitchen must have fallen but I couldn't imagine what it could be because of the loudness of the crash. I went into the kitchen and then became a bit frightened because it was clear that the crashing noise had not come from the kitchen and the only other place it could have had come from was outside on the porch. It was after 11:00 at night and I worried that someone was out there. I do not share Alvin's reaction to danger by running towards it and yet, I have a reaction that is nearly as dysfunctional and useless, which is to stand perfectly still, look away from the danger, and hope it goes away. After clicking my heals three times and discovered that I had not been magically transported to my "safe place", I grudgingly decided that I needed to at least take a peak outside. I did not see anyone and finally decided to slowly open the back door. Still not hearing or seeing anything, I took one step outside and then BAM! I saw her! It was the rat and she was back! She took a long look at me and then took off for the bush. I realized that she must have jumped on something that then came crashing to the ground. I refused to investigate further and determined that I had managed to thoroughly piss off the Cujo of the rodent world. For the next four days when letting the dogs out I refused to go out there and although I am not Catholic, I made the sign of the cross and wished them the best - but they were on their own. Upon further reflection, I concluded that although I had taken the rat's house away from her, I was relinquishing any and all rights to my entire backyard because she has me beat. A rat owns me at this point and I can only take comfort in the fact that a rat's life expectancy is much less than a humans. Today I finally got up the courage to go out to try to figure out what the source of the crash was and I discovered that she had managed to knock down a plastic container that had heavy automotive type tools it, along with small gardening pots and supplies. I assume that the cause of the commotion was the heavy tools hitting the concrete. I would take comfort if the commotion had caused her to flee but in reality, she stayed around and was waiting for me when I came out. I am pretty sure I saw her turn up her lip and I heard her say, "What's up now sucker? I own you." So, I am now formally giving away my entire backyard. It's hers, she can have it. I am now wondering if that's why Alvin refuses to go out there and maybe this is the first time he has been smart enough to stay away from danger. I sure am paying a big price for evicting one rat!