I came home from work the other evening to find The Lady of the House, the grandson and our cats staring out the back window, flashing yellow lights reflecting off the glass. The lights were attached to a huge truck, taller than the back shed.
"What's that?" I asked.
"We don't know," said The Lady of the House. "That's why I have you. Go find out."
I had a hunch it was a sewer truck and I was right. The manhole in the alley was off and two city workers were standing next to the gaping hole feeding a hose into it.
"What're y'all up to?" I said loudly over the roaring din of the truck.
"Got a clog that way," said one guy pointing up another alley.
"So this is a giant plumber's snake?" I asked.
"Not really," said the other guy. "It's like a powerful hose.
I looked down the hole; just milky water running by. Maybe someone was doing laundry "upstream." No giant rats, no cockroaches.
"Ever find anything weird down there? Rats? Cockroaches?" I asked.
"No, pretty routine," said one.
"When I was a kid my dad used to talk about sewer rats about this big," I held my hands about two feet apart, "Living under big city hotels. And once I lived in a town where you could tell a sewer clog was nearby because the yard would fill with dozens of cockroaches running from the overflow."
The guys just looked at me.
"Well, have a great night," I said.
I went back into the Stucco Hacienda.
"It's a sewer truck, there's a clog up that-a-way," I said to The Lady of the House, pointing outside.
"You didn't ask them about giant sewer rats and cockroaches, did you?" she asked.
"Well, you know, I see an open sewer it brings back memories," I said.
The Lady of the House sighed and walked back into the kitchen.
Grant McGee is a long-time broadcaster and former truck driver who rides bicycles and likes to talk about his many adventures on the road of life. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org