The week I was terrorized by a rat
The Battle of Shredded Door
April 24, 2017
Casualties: two flip-flops, one bag of roasted pistachios, one bag of toffee peanuts, one bag of Indomie noodles, 1 cm of door.
Winner: Mysterious Critter
I came home from a weekend away as usual, dropped a bag of oleh-oleh on the coffee table for my family, talked with my Ibu about my weekend, and went to my room to drop off my bag.
I opened the door to immediately see shredded wood all over the floor, the remnants of a pair of black flip-flops, and the remnants of my latest care package covered in holes and strewn about the room.
I ran to my Ibu, asking if someone had been in my room (to which she was offended, but understood when I brought her in to show her its state.) She and my host-sister helped me clean it up, as my Bapak announced that it must have been a tikus, mouse, but mostly they all just seemed entertained.
We set my room back to normal as I hoped my presence and noise would send the critter back into the walls or literally anywhere else other than my room.
I turned off the light and lay down in bed only to hear an excruciatingly loud squeak coming from my bed that sent me screaming and running to my Ibu who simply brought me the broom to sweep it out from under the bed and closed the door behind her, so it would be trapped. THANKS!
I stood in the corner of my room furthest from the bed, broom in hand, waiting for the critter to show itself, but also terrified that it would.
And it did, causing me to scream again and sending it back to its hiding place.
This giant, fat rat, the size of my forearm and dirt brown, ran out from under my bed to the door, and ran back under the bed when he found the door closed.
I asked my, now laughing, Ibu for help again, explaining he tried to run out, so I should keep the door open. We stared at the bed for a while, but in a blink, my Bapak started screaming to close the door! The rat was out!
I passed Ibu the broom and slammed the door, happy to be rid of the critter, but also skeptical because I hadn’t seen him leave myself.
The Battle of Rustlings
April 24-25, 2017
Casualties: one toothbrush, my sanity
Score: Taylor 0, Rat 2
11pm- I had fallen asleep, but I am awoken by rustling near my door. Thinking the rat is trying to get back in, I check under the door and move a box in front of it, so nothing can squeeze underneath.
2:30am- I’m woken up to more rustling and shine my flashlight around the room. Somehow, my toothbrush is now under the desk. I’m now terrified and pissed. I fall asleep again, deciding to declare War the following day.
Return of the Red-eyed
April 25, 2017
Casualties: sour gummies, wafer cookies, the remains of a Taco Bell sauce stash, another layer of door
Score: Taylor 0, Rat 3
When I returned home from school, critter repellent in hand, it had been back. What was left of my care package (all snacks in sealed bags I had not yet opened) had been chewed through and there were more claw marks on the bottom of my door.
I formulated a battle plan.
The Bule Strikes Back
April 25, 2017
Casualties: my afternoon free time, the ozone layer above my house, infinite spiders and termites
Score: Taylor 0, Rat 3
I went to work spraying repellent everywhere and swept the entire room. I moved every piece of furniture and continued to sweep and spray, with no sign of any critters, although I did destroy a termite colony living in my door frame. An event that still gives me goosebumps to remember.
My last two jars of peanut butter have been triple bagged as has a package of unopened saltines, in hopes the smell has been masked, and have been perched in precarious places where the smallest nibbling will toss it to the floor.
I’m hoping to call this not necessarily a clean win, but maybe my defense strategy will keep it away for good.
April 25-26, 2017
Casualties: 1/2 jar of peanut butter, saltine crackers, the remainder of my sanity, the possibility of eight-hours of sleep, my sense of safety, my lungs
Score: Taylor 0, Rat 4
My strategy did not keep it away for good.
This was no longer amusing or comical. I got one full hour of sl
eep throughout the night between hearing rat noises and keeping myself awake trying to trap it.
Every time I’d dose off in my fume-filled room, I’d hear the rat chewing on things, or knocking something over. This was his domain now. No longer afraid.
Convinced it’s living in my clothes cabinet, I took everything o
ut and sprayed an entire can of repellent. Then, I pulled the entire cabinet away from the wall, I found a chunk of my toothbrush from the previous day’s attack.
I fell asleep at some point in my desk chair with a cracker on the floor as bait to lure out the (by now, I assumed) starving rat.
Eventually, frustrated and exhausted, I threw the crackers and
a peanut butter jar out the window, knowing as long as the smell was there I’d get no peace.
Around 4am, with the lights on, I had a terrifying lucid dream that it was climbing on me, but I couldn’t move to get it off. I felt my body unable to move and couldn’t tell I was dreaming until I woke up.
Having finally fallen asleep at some point, I woke up late for school, and brought the final peanut butter jar and my bags of coffee and tea, along with my new toothbrush, to school to leave there. Finally, removing every possible temptation of food from my room. Hoping it would starve enough to venture into other parts of the house for food.
I slept in a hotbox of repellent and when I got to school, the men smoking around me made me dizzy. I felt as though I could actually taste their smoke.
I only had one semi-dramatic, sleep deprived thought: I’m going to die here.
The Final Showdown
April 26, 2017
Casualties: Jerry, the Rat
Final Score: Taylor 1, Rat 4
Commendations: To my allies Pak Wawan for supplying the weapon, my Ibu for supplying the ammunition, my Bapak for acting as Special Forces; going where this Bule dare not go, and taking the fatal shot.
When I returned home, I approached my door, already worried about what state of disaster I would find. Before I even entered, I was halted and screamed for my Ibu. The rat was sitting on the ledge above my door where there is a window looking out into the rest of the house. Sitting, as Mufasa, looking out on his kingdom.
My Ibu’s eyes grew wide as she called for my Bapak, she finally believed me.
As soon as he opened the door, the rat jumped down, back to his hiding spot, but I had had enough. Neither of the small stores near my house had mouse traps, but I marched to school, begging my counterpart, Pak Wawan, to drive to the nearest city, about half an hour away, buy me a trap and bring it back. I couldn’t live like this.
He laughed and agreed, speeding off on his motorcycle immediately.
When he returned about an hour later, he bragged that he had found a large, humane cage that would trap a critter who ventured inside. You simply have to put some food on a hook in the cage and when it began eating, it would pull on the hook, pulling the door closed.
We put the trap in the corner of my room near the cabinet and less than ten minutes later, he was caught. Tempted by the smell of tempeh after days of eating only crumbs.
I ran out of my room for my Bapak, who came in, grabbed the cage and took it outside.
I followed, excited my torture was over and interested to see where it would run off to in the forest of our back yard. Instead, my Bapak calmly walked to the pond in front of our house and submerged the rat, cage and all.
Holding the cage under, he chatted calmly with the neighbor.
I returned inside, stunned, yet feeling silly for feeling stunned.
RIP Jerry the Rat.
I can’t say you’ll be missed.
The Six-Days War of the Worlds has been won.