Hold the Tiger

There was once a small company bothered by insects in the cellar, which occasionally buzzed out to annoy and distract the staff. So they found a pest control expert, but they demanded “natural” means to deal with the problem, no poisons. This was a highly responsible company, led by a compassionate owner.

The pest control expert pointed out that the most natural remedy for the insects was a toad, since toads eat prodigious amounts of every insect imaginable, and can do so in total darkness. “Okay,” said the company president, “bring on the toads.”

The toads finished up inside a week, but then took off to find more food in the various nooks and crannies of the cellar, and began to make an enormous racket of “dribbet” and “kerouk.” There were fears that they would begin breeding down there, and employees were refusing to go into the cellar for supplies. Once again, the president consulted his expert, but demanded a natural remedy.

“I reckon a snake would do it,” he said, “since they are the natural enemy of toads. A good sized constrictor would take care of all of them I believe.”

And so it was that a seven-foot red constrictor was allowed to slither into the cellar, and the croaking quickly stopped, after some frenzied leaping about into the walls. As you may assume, no one could round up the snake, and no one would go near the cellar door, so another meeting took place.

Before the president could speak, the pest control expert said, “Mongoose.”

“Do it,” said the president.

There was an awful racket for the next couple of days. Finally, only the nagging, persistent squeal of the mongoose could be heard, but it was heard over everything. “What would take care of a mongoose?” asked the president. And the next day, a hyena trotted down the cellar stairs, snorting and sniffing. The hourly animal rental charges were mounting up.

To make a long story short, these are not called “laughing hyenas” for nothing. The cacophony was unbearable from this single animal. And so a final meeting was held down the street in a coffee shop, since it was now hard to hear anything in the office and most employees had taken to wearing earphones. Supplies were being trucked in from a retailer in the next town.

The pest control expert said, pensively, while stirring his coffee, that there was no cause for alarm, he had a solution.

“Natural, no guns or toxins?” asked the president.

“No, a natural enemy,” replied the expert.

“What is a hyena’s natural enemy?” asked the president.

“A tiger.”

“Just in case,” queried the president, tallying up his mounting debt, what is the tiger’s natural enemy?”

The pest control expert was shocked. “Why, it has no natural enemy,” he explained.

It was about at that time, up the street at the office, amidst the hyena’s mocking laughter, as the tiger was being contemplated in the coffee shop, that the insects returned.

© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.

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