Yesterday I poisoned the rats.
I told the story of rats over my bed at night in the staff room. The other staff were sympathetic (in so much as I let them be; playing up palpitations for comedy effect) and said that they don’t generally get rats in their homes. I had assumed it was just part of life in Kenya and that everybody had to deal with it. They said that my house is particularly suseptible to them and that having rats in the house is likley to encourage snakes who come in chasing the rats. Clearly this is not a satisfactory situation.
The deputy principal fetched me a small pot of rat poison called FUKO-KIL (which he pronounced FOO-co Kill, but I still grinned when I saw it). This, as he described it, is like black margerine.
“Spread it on a piece of bread as you would Blueband”, he told me, “and throw it into the place where the rats are. They will die very quickly, but you may have a problem then with them smelling”.
I took a piece of bread and spread black butter on it with the spatula that came in the box with the poison. I took it to the place just outside the bathroom where the loft access panel is and lifeted the panel with the end of my squee-gee mop. All manner of shit fell down — mostly rat shit. I backed away from the hail of dried turds, dust and seeds and stared up into the roof space. I tossed a piece of black bread up into the poisoned-loft.
And then … tap, tap, tap, tap, … something was moving up there in the darkness above me. Someone was coming to investigate. I slung the second piece of bait up through the hole and dragged the cover back into place as fast as I could. Once the lid was back down I felt a litte bit better. I Swept up the mess on the floor did the washing up in the sink and covered the toilet (they say the poison makes rats so thirsty they throw themselves into uncovered water and die there only to be discovered later when you’v drunk most of it. Although I don’t propose to drink the water in my toilet, netiher do I relish the idea of having to flush away deceased rodents.
But even while I was doing this, I was super-sensitive to noises from above. The house makes noises all the time: the tin roof heats and cools daily, sighing and cracking as it does so; birds land on it with a clatter of claws on the corrigation. I had to leave the house and go walk to the market (there was almost no food in my kitchen at all) to buy fresh bread.
I didn’t head the usual scampering last night, but that might be because I slept the sleep of the snotty since I seem to be developing a bit of a head cold.