The first time I had a close encounter of the rodent kind I was very young. Spare you the details, but my grandmother raised chickens. Many of my pre-school days were spent with my grandparents on their farm. Mice jumped from grain buckets in the chicken coop and also ran wild through the corn crib. I was more afraid of the hens pecking me than the mice. In fact, they were kind of cute.
During my Docent years at Metrozoo, I fed mice to the snakes. Again, I’ll spare the details for those who just don’t want to know.
Years later, we had a mouse die somewhere in the kitchen. It was unseen, but the smell was unmistakable. We tore apart the kitchen cabinets in search of the critter which we didn’t find. We tried to deal with the smell using charcoal, baking soda and vinegar. Eventually I guess the insects carried out the unseen carcass bit by bit.
Not long ago the unmistable eau de rodent hit me again – live or dead the smell is unforgettable. As I walked into the home of a hospice patient, I greated his care taker with: “I smell a rat!” Which she quickly confirmed. There was an infestation; one dead. She knew where it was trapped but didn’t want to take care of it. So, I did. Plastic bags are indespensible. I tripled bagged it before disposing of it.
Last week, I was on my way early to the Creek clubhouse, Wednesday morning coffee. I had tickets to sell for upcoming events. With necesarry supplies in hand, including my coffee mug, I was out the door. Then I heard the faint, frantic call for; “Help!” coming from up the street behind me. “Help! Help! Patricia, Help!” Ok, I thought as I turned around and saw a neighbor in near hysterics. She was almost paralyzed with fear but attempted to meet me half way. She was waving something akin to a fireplace poker in one hand; a plastic bag in the other. “Help, Patricia! I have an emergency!”
Now within speaking distance I queried; “What’s wrong?” She was on the verge of tears. “Last night…I had an….inturder!” Now I’m really not sure where this was going. I did consider that she wounded someone. “I got him!” Oh no, I’m thinking she stabbed him with the poker and locked him in the bathroom?”
“What kind of intuder?”
“Well, a….a….it’s a little…animal. I got him. Oh! I don’t know how I’m going to get through this! See!?”
I looked at her feet; “Oh. It’s a rat.”
Hearing the confirmation /indentification of her intruder sent her in true hysterics.
I gestured for her fire poker so I could confirm its demise. She didn’t want me to touch the rat with the poker.
“It’s dead! See. It’s all…stiff. I, I … just don’t know what to doooo…!”
“It’s okay. I’ll take care of it.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Do you want the trap back?”
“Weeeelll, yes! OH what are you to dooo?”
“Let me have the bag.”
“DON’T touch it!”
“I don’t need to.” I picked up the trap with the edge of the bag; then released the lethal bar allowing the rat to plop into the bag. I tied up the bag and handed it to her.
“What do we do with it now?”
“Just throw in in the trash.” Although I was tempted to tell her that it had to be buried under the light of a full moon.
I gathered up my stuff, which I had carefully placed in the middle of the street in order to respond to the unknown emergency and continued my way to the club house. And sanitized my hands.
You dirty little rats!!!