It was the middle of the day. The middle of an unbearably hot, 43C, kick your ass right down in the shade and wait for evening kind of day. And there, when I strolled in to the kitchen (which works as an intergalatic amplifier for the sun) to get some water, this cheeky little bastard rat popped up out of a bag of spaghetti sitting on top of our backup water jerry cans. He glanced at me for just a second before tearing out of the kitchen, under the exterior door, which has a 2cm gap that exists soley for the purpose of transporting all manner of pestilence through it.
Thinking that I am vastly more evolved than a rat, I hung the spaghetti from a door handle before going to bed, smirking happily in thoughts of a stupid rat trying to get at hanging spaghetti. Well, the rat had deftly thought ahead of me in this spaghetti chess game and came equipped with his climbing paws that night. At somewhere around 01:00, #1 Fan and I heard the tell-tale rustle of plastic from the kitchen. “Fucker”, I thought, “He has outfoxed me yet again, this rat.” It was post-cut, so the power was out and bastard rat saw me coming with a flashlight before I was even out of the bed to chase him away.
Thinking that yet again, I shall outsmart this rodent, I then put the spaghetti two meters up in a closed cabinet in the bedroom. Returning to bed and being awoken to the sound of rustling plastic two hours later, I realized that there is some kind of addictive, crack element to spaghetti when it comes to rats. The bastard had not only realized where the spaghetti was, but he had somehow went out to the 24 hour Rat Market and bought even more enhanced climbing paws that allowed him to go up the side of the wall and in to this closed door. NIMH was coming to mind…
I yanked open the cabinet on him, he fell down to the floor and then ran off to his lair in the kitchen. Thinking that was the end of it, I went back to bed, yet 30 minutes later, bastard was back up there again. Yanking the door open and shining the flashlight at him, he glanced at me with this, “Oh hey. What’s up? Yeah, you caught me.” And then, he did what seemed to be a slow motion, Matrix-esque flying jump at me from the shelf. I sidestepped him, nearly yelping like a little girl. He seemed to fart in my general direction and again, he ran off in to the kitchen to plan some kind of evil revenge as well as new purchases at Rat Market.
Realizing the spaghetti was doomed, I put it up on a shelf in the bathroom that was surrounded by tile and then shut the door. At the very least, if he upgraded his climbing paws again, I wouldn’t hear him in the spaghetti this time. In the morning, we gave up on this staple and tossed it out as we had previously dealt with some kind of weevil that had required picking out. Pasta here in Africa, it’s doomed.
The next day we set about getting rid of our rat. Driving around to all the shops in Abengourou, we discovered that nobody uses rat poison here. The suggestions all seemed to revolve around placing out some food, surrounding the food with glue and then killing the rat once you found it in glue. A colleague from El Salvador made the joke about catching a few of them and serving up a “brochette de viande de brousse” which you really don’t want to imagine as that literally means a skewer of bush meat. Thankfully, this same colleague also had some poison left over from his own rat adventures which he gave us.
I’ve since put out the poison that the bastard devoured last night. I hate killing a creature this way as it’s not the fastest death in the world, although I think it’s a bit more humane than the glue solution. And forget about finding a trap, as they just don’t exist here. Anyways, I hope that this will be the end of our rat adventures for some time as a) they spread all kinds of disease through their fur/crap/piss (and possibly sense of humor) and b) while you know that nothing will happen to you, all the noise that they make doesn’t allow for a lick of sleep.