Sunday, August 26, 2007

A better class of rat in NZ.

I arrived home from work to discover Barb sitting grim faced and seething in the living room. Foolishly I said, ‘What’s wrong with you, you have a face like a smacked bum’. ‘So would you’, she spat ‘…if you had to deal with rats’. She then described how she went to the pantry and found a large rat sitting on the middle shelf, nonchalantly nibbling on a bagel. This breathtaking display of arrogance was its undoing, because quick as a flash, Barb grabbed a Tupperware box and placed it over the rat. This was over four hours ago and Barb was in no mood for joking. I was ordered to get rid of it and so down I went to the kitchen and sure enough, a large brown rat not quite so cocky now, sat all beady-eyed and nervous under the plastic box.

Now what would you do with a live rat, would you let it go and risk it coming back with friends or would you kill it? And how would you kill it? It was while considering the options - drowning, blunt instrument, sharp instrument that Zoe or Little dog as we affectionately call her, started sniffing the air and began to growl low and menacing. I was shocked. I’d never, ever heard her growl in this way before. It was then I had a brainwave. What if I took the loathsome vermin (you have to think this way about a rat before you can murder it) to the downstairs bathroom, which incidentally is fully tiled and easy to sluice down. And use it as a makeshift fighting pit.

At the time it was a good idea, it would give me an opportunity to see Little dog in action. I’d only ever seen her attack pet toys before and by god could she make short work of a stuffed mouse. In seconds bits of filling would be scattered around the room as she spun around and around like a mad thing. Once the toy was completely and utterly destroyed she’d stop, wagging her tail at a job well done. As she’s a Griffon or a Belgian ratter, I was expecting great things from her. For good measure our young cat Missy would join us behind closed doors. I placed the rat still under the box in the middle of the floor, closed the window as I’d heard that a cornered rat could jump two metres or more – then went for the dog who curiously had disappeared. It didn't look promising as Little dog literally had to be dragged by the scruff of her neck into the bathroom. The cat followed, the door was closed and the games began!

First I released the rat, which stood there blinking in the full glare of the halogen spots. Then without warning made a mad dash straight for me!!! Fearing it might run up my trouser leg and hold my trouser department to ransom, I kicked it away, I must confess this kick was accompanied by a girlish squeal of terror. The rat stood on its back legs, screeching in the corner. This was all too much for little dog, she immediately urinated (thank goodness for a fully tiled bathroom) and dragged herself, quivering like a wretch behind me. The cat was intrigued. Tail bushed out, she advanced on the rat - and was immediately ambushed by the rodent. It repeatedly leapt at her face. While this surprised the cat, Little dog almost lost complete control. I must admit I too was unnerved.

It's a wonder the neighbours didn't call the police because the noise in the bathroom was appalling, with me shouting at cowardly little dog, 'Belgian ratter my arse' then calling on the cat to kill the squeaking, hissing rat and Barb in the hall shouting (near hysteria) 'What's happening, what's happening'.

This obviously unhinged the rat because it made another attempt to reach the safety of my trouser leg. Wishing I owned a pair of bicycle clips I swung a brush I'd brought as a last minute idea, at the demented creature and it crumpled, twitching its back leg.

Now incontinent little dog and inept cat decided it was safe enough to investigate the body. I shooed them away and placed the rat in a plastic bag. In my effort to avoid touching the body, I attempted to pick it up using a piece of plastic. As I did so its tail flicked onto my wrist - causing an involuntary shudder. Barb insisted I bleach the entire bathroom and my wrist.

All the while, a now enthusiastic dog and cat are desperate to get at the dead rat. Immediately called a pest control man who arrived in a van emblazoned with day-glo graphics that told the entire neighbourhood of our problem.

'Tree rats' he announced, 'they come into homes in winter, looking for food'. Looking at the tower block of pizza boxes in the lads room, he shook his head and said we were lucky not to be overrun with them.

Barb had an attack of the vapors and the lads have been warned!

Tree rats? As far as I'm concerned the bugger looked like the rat from the film 'Willard'. Beady eyes, orange teeth, and an attitude. Had to have a session of EFT and 'tap' to get over the incident. 'Even though the rat could have sunk its orange fangs into my manhood, I deeply and completely accept myself...'

I do feel a bit guilty now and will ensure there’s no more killing or violence on this blog.