If you recall from page 74 of Jamaican on Saipan, I had a little run-in with a rat while I was living in Chalan Kiya. I thought that that sordid episode had ended. Well it seems that “Harvey” didn’t think so. He’s back……and he’s pissed. But let me start at the beginning.
A few nights ago, I returned from a night out at the Liberation Day festivities here on Saipan to find this:
A hole in the bottom of the screen door to my bedroom balcony with a paper towel sticking out. (Crime scene recreated for the benefit of the investigation.)
I know why it happened. Without getting into too much detail, I use coconut oil for massages. (For more, see I want to date a Jamaican in China (“Don’t speculate! Ja-Make-A-Date!”)
In any event, while I was out that night, I had left a little measuring cup of coconut oil and an oil-soaked sheet of paper towel on the floor by the bed. (Neatness has never been my strong suit).
Harvey must have caught the aroma of sweet oil as he was making his nightly rounds, and decided to take a souvenir home with him. My measuring cup was gone and the paper towel, as I mentioned, was stuck halfway through a hole in the mesh at the bottom of the sliding screen door. It’s the sort of mesh screen that keeps out mosquitoes, but was never designed for determined, committed, goal-oriented rats.
So, just so we’re clear: “Yes, officer, a rat broke into my apartment from the balcony, stole my plastic measuring cup, came back, and was halfway through his second incident of breaking and entering and first degree theft, when my return scared him away.”
The next morning, I measured my screen door, then went to Ace Hardware and got some higher/stronger gauge screen, some screws, bolts and washers to construct a rodent barrier!
I had the mesh cut about two feet high, as the sales rep at the hardware store and I both agreed that the rats wouldn’t climb up the mesh to get to the weaker mesh above. I took my purchase home. (I felt like Wile E. Coyote with a new contraption from ACME, or Elmer Fudd)
I attached the higher gauge screen to the smaller gauge.
I’ll stop you yet, you wascally wodent!
I was so proud of my handiwork
Well it seems the hardware rep and I were wrong. I went to bed thinking that all was right with the world. However, at 4:00am this morning, I was awakened by the sound of some scratching. I opened my eyes and found myself staring at the underbelly, and into the glowing yellow eyes of a rodent, two feet off the ground, perched on the top of the high gauge mesh, still outside, but about to begin his toothy assault on the smaller gauge mesh to gain another entry into my apartment.
Re-enactment featuring professional rat actor paid rodent scale. No animals were harmed in the making of this.
A few milliseconds later, a thought entered my mind: “Excuse me, you’re lying on a bed two feet off the ground and you’re staring at eye level at the furry underbelly of a rat hanging from a mesh screen, suspended in the air two feet above the ground about to gnaw his way into your apartment. Hello?”
At that point I sat up, and my quick movement scared him away.
Ah! yes! I love a battle of wits and will! (even if it’s with a rodent!) Bring it on! I lay in bed staring at the ceiling and spent the next few minutes figuring out my retaliatory (or would that be “defensive”) strategy. Would I have to use high gauge mesh on the entire screen door? Would I have to keep my glass door shut at all times (unacceptable, since I don’t believe in or use air conditioning, and prefer to have a breeze flowing through my apartment). Think, man! Think!!! Poison? Rat trap? No good. I don’t believe in killing–not even ants–plus, a dead Harvey the Rat would simply be replaced by another, angrier friend or family member. I’d have to launch what would eventually become known as “The Great Jamaican Rat Massacre of Saipan!” I’d have to sleep with a shotgun. Frankly, I don’t have the resources.
And then, as I stared at the mesh, and the sliding door picturing the rat climbing up, it hit me! I think I found the solution!
Encyclopedia Goodridge and the Mystery of the Bypassed Barricade
I’ll pay homage to Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective, one of my favorite series of children’s books growing up, and ask: “What did Encyclopedia Goodridge realize that could make all the difference in the world to keeping the unwelcome rat outside the apartment?” If you think you know the answer (or if you simply want to make a suggestion), email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) enter, and then click the link below for the answer!
CLICK HERE to learn the answer!
Diabolical, don’t you think? Well, I’ll let you know how it works out…..stay tuned!
Moral: If you run away to a tropical island to escape the rat race, beware, the rats might not be too far behind!