Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Life and Death of Wally the Rat

For these past few weeks, the sounds of scratching in the wall continued with an almost comforting regularity at around 9 or 10p every evening. We quickly learned to diligently clean the kitchen after dinner to reduce occurrences of late-night snacking, and to keep anything even remotely edible either in the fridge or in sealed Tupperware. Surely this would stop these visitations, we thought. Then, we started noticing the telltale signs of first our sponges, and next our soap, being suspiciously nibbled away. It was as if Wally was taunting us - reminding us that he was here first, and that he’s still hungry.

So last night we decided to make some popcorn. No microwave, but the old fashioned way on the stove in a pot. It was very tasty with a drizzle of homemade caramel over the top. We settled down for a quiet evening of watching a movie on the couch. Strangely enough, there was no wall scratching, and we figured we were safe at least for a while. Mike got up to get some water from the kitchen, and shortly thereafter, let out a yell so loud it was likely heard for miles around in the otherwise silent Yapese night. For the record, it wasn’t a girly scream. The source of the commotion was a very large, very fast shape darting from near our garbage can, across the kitchen floor, into the baseboard beneath the sink. After recovering from the shock of a confirmed Wally sighting, we resolved to end this once and for all.

Before going to bed, beneath the hole where Wally retreated to, we installed a ‘sticky trap’. It’s basically a piece of cardboard covered in a layer of tar with scent-based bait in the middle. While we were concerned we’d be woken up by the sounds of rodent screaming, or that the trap would be literally covered with geckos, we hoped for the best and went to sleep.

The night passed uneventfully. In the morning though, Miranda got up and then quickly came back to bed to shake Mike awake. The look in her eyes clearly showed we caught something. Going into the kitchen, we found our trap – with its prey stuck securely in the middle. The rat was brown, about six inches long not including the tail, and looked pretty fat from a steady diet of banana bread, garbage, and soap.

Without going into the gory details, Wally had unsuccessfully tried to escape by chewing off his own limbs, yet only managed to get himself more stuck. The whole corner of the kitchen looked like a crime scene from a blood splatter expert’s worst nightmare. Brandishing a broom handle in one hand, and some plastic bags in the other, Mike approached. That’s when Wally flipped out, violently thrashing around with his unstuck legs and looking generally very pissed off. At that point, Miranda left the house. A single, forceful whack to head put Wally out of perhaps many hours of misery, and he was unceremoniously bagged up and disposed of in the garbage cans down the street.

I don’t think we’ll miss you Wally, but you’ve at least added to the many unique experiences that will make up memories of our time here for years to come. May you rest in peace, and hopefully you didn’t leave a large family of Wally Jr’s to avenge your passing. At least, we hope you didn’t leave them in our walls.

1 comment:

  1. That brings back really aweful memories of chasing the almost feral cat who was playing catch and release with a dripping rat around the apartment. I'm sorry you had to deal with it. It is one of my grossest memories. I had to clean rat blood from 3 rooms, a closet, and a wall. Yeah, the wall. After hitting the cat with a broom to get it out! Hitting the cat, all the blood- I cried!