Rat Hunt

Couple of days ago I was talking to friends and the wonders of associative memory brought back an episode that happened 20-25 years ago. The nine-story house where we used to live back then had a big grocery store on the first floor. And, naturally, the grocery store had its storage facility – ideal environment for rats. The architectural genius who designed the house, for reasons of rationalization that are not quite clear to us, combined the ventilation systems of the apartments, the store and the storage into one, thus creating a system of convenient and concealed pathways for rats.

One of the rats, driven by rat equivalent of the urge to travel and explore the unknown, managed to get to our eighth floor. Probably, it liked the smells from our kitchen. It managed to chew through the bars on ventilation shaft – really, how long are plastic bars and mosquito net going to hold an adult rat – and bravely jumped off to a sink and then to the floor. My first thoughts – there’s a carrier of who knows what diseases in the apartment – kill the bastard and the sooner the better. The hunt started.

The first thing that I grabbed was my epee. Hunting rats with an epee is funny, but not very effective. An epee is a thrusting weapon and mine was a sport epee, i.e. with blunt tip. One could thrust it at the rat till one was blue in the face, but it would only tickle the rat (I wonder if rats are ticklish). Besides, the rat was running around VERY FAST. After a couple of senseless thrusts, I had to start using the epee as a slashing weapon – that was definitely more painful, judging by the beast’s noises, but also would not lead to desired result (all three epee edges are dull and the blade is fairly flexible). Finally, the rat clearly got tired of this abuse and it managed to hide behind a cupboard, where I couldn’t reach it.

The story takes more time than the actions – the whole hunt took no more than a minute (did I mention the rat ran VERY FAST?).

Story ended very simply. We did not let the rat get out of the kitchen (all precautions were taken when entering and exiting), we put some poisoned grain on the floor… For several more days we heard the rat moving behind the furniture, and then it got quiet. Took us a while to find it, though – it chewed a whole in one of the boxes, dragged pieces of cloth and rug in there, filling the whole, and died.

Memory labeled this episode as the only hunt in my life and as the story of my most unusual fencing “opponent”.

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Published in: on August 18, 2005 at 1:21 am  Leave a Comment  

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