You ever have one of those days when you walk into your kitchen and you’re instantly bludgeoned to near unconsciousness with that unmistakable odor only describable as “something must’ve died in here”?

I’ve pretty much been having one of those days all week and let me tell you, there are certainly plenty of other ways that I’d rather be bludgeoned to near unconsciousness, that’s for sure! It’s the kind of smell that makes you consider relocating to another part of the country or at the very least, ordering a napalm strike in the general vicinity of your neighborhood. You can never be too sure when it comes to the unmentionable odors found in one’s kitchen, and contrary to what your Mother might suggest, there aren’t windows big enough in your house that you could open “…just to give the place a chance to air out a bit…” Not to mention the environmental hazards and administrative red tape – you’ve really got to keep this sort of thing contained or you’ll have a real mess on your hands…

The thing is, at this point several increasingly thorough searches have been conducted near “ground zero” and so far we’ve come up with absolutely nothing – not a rotting piece of fruit, not an unmarked container of leftovers that’s now went and grown legs on its own – nothing! Every day I get some new suggestions from people of where to try looking, and yet every night I come home and find myself just a little more grossed out by its increasing girth, so to speak, after my latest search comes up empty as usual. It’s kind of like living in the movie Groundhog Day, except that instead of living the exact same day over and over again, it’s like I have a dead groundhog hiding somewhere in my kitchen and each day, it gets a little dead-er.

I don’t think it’s a groundhog in all seriousness, though, because we live in the state of Florida and we really don’t have any groundhogs here – period. You see, to have a groundhog simply by virtue of the name, then one would expect a certain quantity of ground in abundance for the creature to hog. Perhaps we here in Florida might be able to support some type of swamphog or other, but I really think we’re getting off track because there seems to be somewhat of a draft in the house today and its currently wafting “the odor” from the kitchen into my office. The beast is gaining ground fast, folks – we need to act fast!

(And just for clarification, the ground being gained here is strictly proverbial in nature, for all of you eyeing my loophole in hopes of bringing the groundhog back in as a suspect…)

So what am I going to do about this atrocity here in the wee-most days of 2007? Well, a thorough inspection of my New Years Resolutions shows that not once did I include “Have my life overrun by an unexplainable, repulsive force that is definitely not Celine Dion” in my list, so we need to do something. My first suggestion, of course, was to simply move, quietly and in the middle of the night as to not provide any leads to the smell about our new whereabouts, but then I was reminded of leases and jobs and “how we’re not moving simply because of one possibly dead creature hiding out in our kitchen.” I see her point, but excuses still don’t clean the potential carcass out from behind our refrigerator…or wherever you might actually be hiding, you sneaky, dead rodent…assuming that you’re reading my column this week, which you probably aren’t, but hey, more readers out there on the Internet equals more bling-bling for Scott…

I’m going to have to get back to you on this one because clearly this isn’t going to just be a cut and dry case. Knowing my previous history with rodents and even other insect-like intruders in our household, there’s a pretty good chance that I could drag this puppy out for weeks upon weeks for material if I absolutely have to. Of course, that’s only assuming that my creative juices are flowing so poorly that rodentia emissions are the only things I can come up to talk about, but I’m sure 2007 will be kinder to me than that, don’t you think?!

God, I hope so! We’ll see you next week – in the meantime, though, I’ve got a rat to find…maybe.