A long time ago, I used to live with my aunt in Charlotte. She owned a townhouse and I had just graduated college. She was nice enough to cut me a ‘family’ deal. One particular night, I started hearing a scratching sound in the basement, which was adjacent to my bedroom. I didn’t really know what it was but it got to be annoying enough that a couple of days later I went to investigate.
I kept things in shoeboxes; old letters from people, birthday cards, photos and trinkets. Upon inspection of one of these boxes, I discovered some foil had been torn to little bits and pieces. Only after deducing that these bits of paper belonged to a nibbled on chocolate shaped heart given by a past sweetheart did I put two and two together…. A RAT!!!!
(I’m honestly not daft, but I didn’t have a previous history of rats. And I also know there is technically a difference between mice and rats. But at the end of the day to me, a mouse is a rat and a rat is a rat.)
Fast forward to living in NYC. The street that I moved to was repairing/ upgrading the water/sewer lines. So the entire street was ripped open. It was not the fault of the sewer rats that their natural habitat was exposed to us and there was no longer a barrier.
One night I was returning from walking to store and I passed a fence. Perched on the side of the fence (not the top) was a black cat. I thought it was sort of strange for a cat to be hanging, and so I turned around for further inspection. It wasn’t a cat like I previously thought, but the biggest rat I have ever seen! I didn’t know they grew that big. Big as a cat!
Those are my two closest encounters with rats. Enough to psychologically scar me for life. The tell- tale signs of their presence (the rat droppings, the scratching, and scurrying sounds) unnerve me. God forbid I come face to face with one.
I was bought from a great sleep last night by the sounds of what seemed like someone moving furniture in the next room. When my brain focused a little more, it sounded more like a dog chasing a cat. But they don’t have a dog…. or an indoor cat. Holy Hell… rats.
They weren’t in the next room, but in the walls (and possibly ceiling, don’t underestimate their ingenuity). How could this be!?! Why!?! Why now?
** An aside: I brought with me for emergency purposes a stash of items that hopefully will tide me over during stretches of homesickness.
– A box of Mac n’ Cheese
– Hot Chocolate
– Blow Pops
– Sour Cream Pringles
– And Two 20 oz. bottles of Coca-Cola
Are they after my stash!?! Inconceivable! We are on the second floor! There is a whole kitchen of food downstairs. …I bet it’s the chocolate. But the walls are made of concrete…. there are cats outside patrolling the grounds…. concrete walls, thick ones.
I think they are getting closer. Infiltrating…. its only a matter of time now.
But I have concrete walls! There is no way they can chew through them tonight. Tomorrow I will fortify my stash; go buy a tin or steel box.
In the mean time, I got out my IPod and was pleasantly distracted and lulled back to sleep by ‘The Nearness of You”, by Norah Jones. (And praying I didn’t wake to my toes being gnawed off by rats.)
"...he got mad, drew back his arm, and slashed my shirt I laughed at first, then thought, "hold up, that hurt" It wasn't a dream, man, this guy was for real I said, "Freddy, uh, pal, there's been an awful mistake here" No further words and then I darted upstairs Crashed through my door then jumped on my bed Pulled the covers up over my head And said, "Oh please do something with Fred" He jumped on my bed, went through the covers with his claws Tried to get me, but my alarm went off And then silence It was a whole new day I thought, "Huh, I wasn't scared of him anyway" Until I noticed those rips in my sheets And that was proof that there had been a nightmare on my street." Nightmare On My Street, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince