Because my California flower garden was continually being sucked underground by gophers I had to come up with a plan of action. Gopher gas bombs will drive those pesky critters from their hidey holes I decided, the fumes blew back into the house driving everyone out including the pesky. From that moment it was war, like St. Paul in his pre-Damascus days I breathed out death and destruction, those gophers didn’t stand a chance. I needed traps.

      I told an assistant in the hardware store I was looking for gopher traps, he raised one quizzical eyebrow in that annoying way which appears to question one’s sanity and said gophers were nearly impossible to trap. I promised to bring him the first two caught, he flinched and his quizzical eyebrow shot even higher.

    The next morning I heard the distinctive munch of gophers on the steep terraced walls of the canyon where, risking life and limb, I’d rappelled down a rope tied to a sturdy redwood tree to plant Japanese iris. Traps in hand I eased myself over the canyon rim, one misstep and I’d plummet a hundred feet to the canyon floor. I didn’t usually take my phone along, but I was expecting an important call so I stashed it behind a large clump of iris. Following the gopher’s telltale lines of raised earth I popped a chunk of carrot into eight traps, slipped them into the gopher tunnels and piled dried ferns on top to ensure no light filtered through.

     Rrrrrrring, rrrrrrring, Edging gingerly towards the large clump of iris my feet slipping and sliding I managed to stop before plummeting  through a patch of poison oak to which I am highly allergic and crawled back to answer the phone. It was not behind the large clump of iris. It had seemed obvious which clump when I placed it there. Rrrrrrring, rrrrrrring, I retraced my footsteps until I was back where I started, next to the big clump of iris. I had to find my phone. My garden gloves were there and my trowel lay next to the tunnels into which I’d placed eight traps. Rrrrrrrring, rrrrrrrring, the phone kept ringing, but where was it?

     Lying on top of the soil by the first excavation, next to the large clump of iris was a gopher trap. I’d buried seven traps and my phone.

      Earthquakes won’t destroy California, gophers will. Eventually millions of tunnels will run together causing the Golden State to collapse and fall into ruin. As for me, I no longer live where gophers’ tunnel, my home is in a different State and I’m now on the warpath of a more challenging pest, the Armadillo. 

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