Ratties

There’s something in the roof. I can hear it taunt me at night when I am in the safety of my bed protecting myself with the blankets. The realisation that there is another presence in the house is disturbing.

Jack hates it. He stares up at the ceiling and whimpers. I stare up at the ceiling and whimper. I feel violently hostile towards it, yet I shrivel from facing it in a showdown. I admit – I am scared of vermin. My visiting son had been recruited to enter the danger zone with hard-core artillery in the form of green bullets in the roof cavity, but that was a while ago now and ‘the thing’ still lives.

I know that I am a thousand times larger than it, possibly, but it could be some mutant giant rat or mouse, or be like the killer rabbit in Monty Python’s The Holy Grail ready to smite me out of existence with its ferocious talons and fangs.

I also despise things that move alarmingly quickly like spiders or sharks, or the flashy, goal-kicking forward on the opposition team, who was recently de-listed by your club. Grrr.

A while ago I was traumatised by having to deal with mice IN the house. I left copious amounts of poison in the dank and sordid little corners where I knew that they congregated, sniggered, provoked passing moths and high fived one another about their risk taking behaviour like uncouth delinquents, while spying on me. Does that sound paranoid? Can’t say any more – ASIO is watching.

They grew fat and healthy and more provocative. I had to resort to setting traps while my Gandhi-esque daughter watched on judgmentally as though I were the devil incarnate.

As she eyed me clumsily setting traps on my own hand, I tried to implicate mice in the Black Death as a justification for the act of murder. She solemnly informed me that even though it is a commonly held belief that rats not mice were the cause of millions of deaths, a recently proffered theory pointed the gangrenous bubonic finger at another culprit called a gerbil. What? And they’re so cute! Hang on what is a gerbil? I thought it was a flower.

What if I have a gerbil in my roof? That would be different. It doesn’t sound as bad as a mouse or a rat. Gerbils come in pretty colours and toss their heads in the wind. But gerbils are silent.

I really need to woman up, get Jack beside me, slowly lift the woman-hole into the roof, quickly launch an armful of ratty sacky like its grapeshot, then get the hell out of there.

Oh and gerbils? They definitely ain’t gerberas.

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