This past Tuesday, I thought The Rat Diaries had come to a close. Apparently, however, there was an addendum.
The evidence: a fat, brown rat in a steel trap on my balcony.
As you may know, just a couple of days ago, I believed my two months of vermin torment ended with the capture of a rat in the cabinet under my kitchen sink. However, hidden under the waves of relief I felt that marvelous afternoon were a few inklings of doubt.
Primary inkling: The initial time I met The Rat -- or, more accurately, The Rat's rear end -- he was quite large with a thick, brown tail. The rat caught Tuesday was smallish and gray. (Yes, that's a big freaking inkling but hope can cause delusions, OK?!?)
If you recall from "The Rat Diaries," I surmised that The Rat had recognized the trap under my sink for what it was and wisely refused to go in. ("That's right: The Rat KNEW BETTER than to enter the trap, choosing to attempt to get the food from the outside, failing, and retreating.") Subsequently, however, a rat was caught in the trap.
My conclusion: The rat caught Tuesday was a scout, sent into the trap by The Rat to do recognizance.
Rat Cyberdine Model 101 remained at large.
The latest incident in the saga began early Thursday morning when I heard the dreaded rustling behind the wall in the kitchen. There was no visible evidence of The Rat's presence but, with utter dejection, I reinstalled the rat barricade and requested that the trap be returned under my sink. This time, it wasn't long at all before there were results. Less than a day, actually.
Upon my return home from an overtime shift, I heard the rustling -- but it wasn't the furtive sounds of a creature at work or at play. It was the disgruntled sound of a creature attempting to escape from a steel cage.
Success again, but was it really The Rat?
The varmint caged under my sink was large. It was fat. It was brown, with an exceedingly long, thick, brown tail. (UGH)
Yes, I believe it was, in fact, The Rat. No delusions.
Following the now-ritual high-pitched screaming elicited by the sight of the creature's scurries came another realization, however: Yes, The Rat was in custody, but the maintenance men wouldn't be available to take him away for another seven hours.
No. This would NOT work. Every noise from The Rat, even caged, caused my nervous system to overload -- as well as involuntary and unfortunate squeaking noises from me.
Either The Rat had to go or I did.
Enter Frank, a dear friend from work. Upon my call, Frank charged in on his magnificent steed (or, more accurately, a 20-plus-year-old Chevy truck). He removed Rat-In-Cage from my kitchen and placed it on my balcony, out of my earshot and my breathing space until maintenance arrived on scene.
One final serendipitous note before I (God willing) close the book on The Rat Diaries: The heroic Frank's birthday? August 29th.