these. Not the deluxe, which promises 40 kills for 4 AA batteries but the classic, since I figured that 10 kills with 4 AA batteries was enough and, frankly, if there are actually 40 rats in my house than I won't have to worry about anything at all, since I'll either just keel over and die of horror or, failing that, the men in the white coats will come and take me to a quiet place where I can weave baskets out of gum wrappers to my hearts' content. The last time I had a rat encounter was a few years ago and at that point some helpful person told me that no matter where you are in the world, you are never more than 10 feet from a rat. I think about that sometimes for the thirty or so seconds it takes before I'm glued to the ceiling shaking, feeling like there are bugs crawling all over my body. It's the best argument for space travel I've ever heard.
This morning, naturally, since I'd already paypalled the money off to the ratzapper people, one of the plastic snapper traps I got at Lowes worked. There, waiting for me when I got back from walking the dogs, was a big dead rat on the kitchen counter. Aaaaaiiiiiyeeeeeee!!!
I walked in the kitchen and saw the rat and walked right the hell back out, shrieking as softly as possible so as not to wake up my brother. Young M is helpful in these situations, since we long ago worked out a payment plan for dead animal disposal: $1 per mole cricket or waterbug, $2 for mice and $5 for snakes decapitated by the lawnmower. Unfortunately young M is still in Baltimore and I had a feeling that my brother would charge a lot more than $5 for the dead rat, not to mention that he would then never, ever, until we are like 106 and in the nursing home, let me forget it, either. So I had to do something about the rat.
I put on rubber gloves. I tried walking towards the rat, but I couldn't get very close: there was a force field all around that corner of the kitchen and somehow, logic or no logic, my body flat refused to go over there. I turned on some music on the theory that perhaps some cheery tunage would help. Not much - I was still standing in the opposite corner of the kitchen cowering. Theo barked at me - I think it was the combination of the yellow rubber gloves and my peculiar, crabwise motion around the kitchen in a sort of spiral pattern as I tried to trick myself into getting closer to the body. I snarled at Theo and that might be when my teeth snapped together so hard that they still hurt, some 2 and a half hours later. I brought the kitchen trash can up towards the counter but I still couldn't bring myself close enough to touch the trap (the rat's head was in the trap. Oh god, oh god.) and I thought about taking a picture but, as I said to myself out loud, "Felicity, that is too weird even for you."
So I went and got the fireplace shovel and using that I managed to slide the rat and the trap off the counter and into the trash can, chanting JESUS JESUS OH JESUS JESUS HOLY JESUS louder and louder as it slid in. My neighbors probably think I caught religion this morning. The traps are supposed to be reusable but fuck the environment and fuck that - I'll spend another $5 on another trap.
There's something so final about a dead rat - so final and so decisive and also, good lord, I might be Cleopatra, Queen of De Nile, but once you see the body in the kitchen you have to admit that there are, actually and in fact, rats in the house and that right there is just so horrific that there ought to be a 12 step program to help you cope with it and, given that this is the internet, there almost certainly is. I mean, I knew there was a rat in the kitchen on an intellectual level but emotionally I was still hoping it was aliens or possibly a, I don't know, stray wombat or something. Anything but rats. I can handle bloody rabbit heads on the living room carpet and live birds in the living room and dead voles in the garden but mice and rats are where I draw the line. I'm heading for that support forum that must exist, full of people who got rid of a dead rat in their kitchens in 1994 and are still talking about it. I can totally sympathize and as soon as I take a lot of drugs and book myself in for about 40 hours of therapy, I'm going there. Or to outer space.