Since moving into my lovely apartment this August, I have become acquainted with all sorts of vermin.
The WORKS. You name it, I’ve had it. You might be thinking – gosh – this cat must live in a HOVEL. But truly, I don’t! I live in a cozy railroad apartment on Scholes Street, in Brooklyn NY. So I am forced to chalk up my extensive experience with vermin to three things, only one of which is my fault:
- Occasionally lackluster cleaning efforts.
- New York City.
1. Cleaning counts, it’s true. But I do my dishes, and try to sweep every full moon. So I’d say I am only marginally involved in my cockroach problem.
2. I have several neighbors that live in a junkyard / squatters settlement behind my building. The exact nature of my neighbor’s employment / lifestyle / rent / legal situation remains somewhat ambiguous. Whatever it is that they do, it involves three things: Beer, Junk, and Reggaeton. Oh yes – and VERMIN. Vermin LOVE junkyards. Or perhaps, they love fleeing junkyards for warm cozy homes located nearby. Whatever the case may be, I blame some of my vermin encounters on the junkyard.
3. New York City is, as you know, home to 10 million humans. What you probably try not to think about is that it is also home to 15 BILLION cockroaches, 10 billion mice and 5 billion rats. They have to live somewhere, so why not my apartment?
I think you’ve got the picture. Now for the horror story:
Last Tuesday, I had an encounter to beat all encounters. I came face to face with a vermin so frightening, so mythological, so demonized in this fair city, that I must record the event for the sake of my readership and posterity. Let it be known:
I encountered every New York City cat’s greatest enemy: The NEW YORK CITY RAT.
Where did I encounter him?
In my KITCHEN!
The encounter went something like this: I was lying in bed (my bedroom is right off the kitchen) reading John Updike’s Rabbit Redux and through the bedroom wall, I could hear my roommate watching Twin Peaks, which, if any of you have had the opportunity to watch it, you know that the scariest part of the TV series is the soundtrack.
So I was lying there, reading, when I heard something in the kitchen. It sounded like plastic bags rustling. Drawn out of the novel, I looked up and listened more closely. The rustling continued. My heart rate peaked. We keep our plastic bags under the kitchen sink, which is right next to a window, which leads out onto a fire escape, which leads into the backyard, which is right next to the squatter’s settlement, which is filled with potential ROBBERS/RAPISTS/DRUG ADDICTS/SERIAL KILLERS/VAMPIRES/ZOMBIES. I pushed myself up on my elbows and peaked into the kitchen. I couldn’t see anyone, but then again, they may have already entered and be hiding on top of the refrigerator. I realized that the only thing to do was to run into the kitchen and catch the offender red handed. That way, I’d be on the offensive. If I waited, he/she/it could come into my bedroom, and then where would I be? So I put down my book, got up and pushed my bedroom door open all the way. I looked around the kitchen – nobody on the refrigerator! A big sigh of relief. Then I looked down. HORRORS!
A RAT – the size of a prairie dog – was staring me down! If my feline instincts had been functioning, I would have pounced right then, and strangled him. But I was paralyzed, and started screaming instead. As I started screaming, the rat scurried away into the kitchen sink cabinet, his five-inch tail, the width of a human finger, bidding me farewell. By the time my roommate, Melanie, was in the kitchen, the beast was gone, and I was still standing there, helpless. When I told her what happened, she and I started screaming again, in unison. Then she grabbed the duct tape and said –
“I know! Let’s tape him into the cabinet!”
“Ok!” I said.
While I cowered in the corner, Melanie bravely taped the beast into the cabinet along with our Clorox and plastic bags.
We went for days without using Clorox. Finally, when we did an investigation of the site of intrusion, we found a large hole in the side of our building underneath the sink. Ewww.
So we called the super, (he didn’t answer) and then we called the exterminator (he still hasn’t come…) and then, we got POISON. I haven’t seen the rat since, but that hole is still there…. so… it looks like this angry kitty will just have to come to terms with the vermin city she calls home.
Rosie (the Angry Kitty)