Its important to be able to laugh at one’s self…
Yesterday when I came home from that busy lunch/afternoon with USAID, I found one of the plastic pots from on top of the fridge was on the floor in the kitchen. Furthermore there was an odd dark stain on a sheet of newspaper on top of the fridge, and there were small bits of the rubber seal on teh fridge door scattered on the floor. Besides all this, the room smelt of rat!
And there were rustling noises coming from the fridge.
It wasn’t inside the fridge, which was a relief. And the light still came on when I opened the door, so it hadn’t chewed away the power cable either. (I once lived in a house with a Guinnea Pig that caused havoc behind all the white goods in the kitchen, and my stereo, one day when it escaped). I couldn’t see the offending animal, but I could still hear it. I went and sat in the living room for a while thiking of strategies. I wondered how I would
react when finally face-to-face with a rat: would I be scared? I changed from my sandals into my big stomping boots, just in case.
When I returned the creature was up at about my eye-height trying to get out of the closed kitchen window. My heart raced. I was angry, not really sacared, but full of adrenaline: ready to fight. I tried to open the window, shouting “OUT YOU GO!”, but as soon as it detected me, it fell down behind the cupboard and scampered out of signt.
I felt powerless, and by this time my heart was pounding on my rib cage and cold chills were running down my neck and spine. Reluctantly I reached into my pocket and, with my thumb, wrote the following on my mobile phone:
"I have a rat in my kitchen. Can you advise me"
And sent it to Sister Pauline, 30 yards away in the convent. I knew there would be humorous stories about me in the staff-room today, but I really didnt know waht to do. I didn’t want it eating either my food or the wires, and now it was trapped in. I had discovered where it had bitten its way through the mosquito net in the fireplace when it fell donwn the chimney. I felt offended by it’s breaing the sanctitiy of my home and pissing on my Guardian Weekly. My hand began to shake… my mobile was vibrating: Sister Pauline had replied to my message:
"PLS KILL IT"
(She always writes in capital letters). Well that’s a lot of help.
"I'm not sure how to"
They really are going to laugh at me tomorrow. I tried moving the fridge, it stands on some wooden blocks and moving it means lifting the whole thing. It lurched as one of its legs came off the wood and it stopped humming. “Now I’ve broken the fridge and the rat is still ok”, I thought, but the light still came on when I opened the door, so I realized the motor
just happened to go off while was wrestling with it.
"PLS ASK WATCHMAN TO HELP"
Good idea! Why didn’t I think of that? I locked the kitchen again, took my torch and alked into the darkness of the college compound. (on reflection, Im glad the electricity was on during all this, I would have hated to do it by candlelight). I called Simon, the watchman, and David the other watchman appeared out of the shadows and darkness in a rather unnerving way. Those army grate-coats are like elven cloaks of not-being-very-easy-to-see. David, like Simon, carries a wooden bow and some arrows with scary-looking rusty arrows. I shook his hand and asked if he could help me.
“A Snake?”, he asked.
“No, a Rat”, I replied and lead him into the battle-arena that was my
David hunkered down and peered under the fridge with his torch (another good common-sense idea that had escaped me). I fetched a piece of metal that had once been part of something else, possibly my cooker, from the other room.
“Wait!”, he commanded.
We moved the cupboard and table from the room so we could get to all of the floor except under the sink and under the fridge. Then we both squatted down, like a couple of anorexic sumo wrestlers. He ligned one of his arrows up in the gap between the fridge and its wooden base, then thrust it forward. After repating this a few times, the rat finally fled the sanctuary of my appliance and scuttled round the perimeter of the room while David and I stomped innefectualy at it: anorexic sumo-wrestlers tap-dancing. The rat ran all the
way round the room and back under the fridge.
The second time we got the creature to bolt from its hide-out I whacked the floor violently with my metal thingamabob: if I couldn’t stamp on it, perhaps I could deafen it. Thrid time I actually managed to bring the culinary weapon down on top of the fleeing rodent. It was sufficiently supprised/stunned that it stopped running and David’s gumboot did the rest. He picked it up by the tip of its tail and carried it outside, a trophy. Another watchman was waiting outside my door by this time and David made a point of theatrically placing his quarray on the concrete path and stamping on it a few more times.
I thanked the watchmen (my heroes!), went inside and sat quietly for a while waiting from my heartbeat to return to normal. Way too much stress over a rat! I texted Sister Pauline one more time:
"Excelent advice, Mr David was most helpful!"
If I was going to be the laughing stock of college, I might as well do it properly.