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Kicking and Screaming: six students and a rat

While there are many ups and downs to student life, I find myself today believing that, at least for this semester I hope, things cannot get as bad as they were last night for me and my housemates. This event had nothing to do with exams, rent, assignments or any other typical student problems – believe me, I wish it did.

It was about 12:30 in the morning in our close-knit little home on Western road. Two of my housemates, Dan and Roisin, were going to bed. My two other housemates, Beth and Oisín, and I were staying up to watch something on Netflix. We were wrapping up for a nice night in. We all settled in to where we were.

But what’s a bit of Netflix without a cup of tea? Oisín certainly thought it wasn’t much – because he went in to make one. He wasn’t even past the bathroom when we heard him. He yelled something along the lines of “Oh fuck off, I fucking knew it!” and ran back into the sitting room. He was loud enough to coax Roisin and Dan back up from the basement, who wanted to know what had him so disturbed. He told us that he had seen a rat.

At first, we didn’t believe him. We thought, or rather hoped, that he was just having us on. But, not taking any chances, we began to investigate. Oisín said that he had seen it run into the kitchen, so that’s where we started. A reluctant Oisín and I were the only ones to head in, as the rest debated the truthfulness of his claims.

All doubt was cast aside when I moved the small fridge in the corner of the room. Behind it I found a worrying amount of rat droppings. I had two thoughts. First: thank God I’ve no food in that fridge and second: Oisín wasn’t bullshitting.

The game was on now, all five of us were going to have to fix this. We began to arm ourselves. Mops, hurls, umbrellas, whatever – anything that looked like it could be used to bash a rat. We then began to plan. What the hell were we going to do? Simple: make him come out, and then do everything in our power to either kill him or kick him out the door. So, we all found positions in the kitchen and got ready. I was across from the fridge with a hurl, Beth on the window sill, Roisin on the island ready to shake the fridge, and Dan with an umbrella on the other side of the island, across from our other fridge. Oisín decided to duck out for nicotine-related reasons; but we ploughed on without him, and we all gave the nod for Roisin to start shaking the fridge.

It worked. The rat was big, even for Cork, and he made a move straight for me. He scurried close to the base of the island, putting the chairs between me and him. The room had erupted in screams and yells the second he made a run for it.  I was focused on him, though, following, waiting to take a shot at him. Eventually, he ran out of chairs and I had an opening. I took a swing and it connected. I launched the little bastard half-way across the kitchen, making a projectile of that rodent. He hit the cabinet and fell to the floor, where he immediately got to scurrying again. The little prick was bullet proof. I looked to Dan, armed with his umbrella, in the hopes that he would be more successful than myself. Unfortunately, in the confusion, he had opened the umbrella and was aiming it at the rat, shielding himself with it as our unwanted guest found refuge under the second fridge. When asked why he had done this, he replied “sure, I was busy looking after Roisin, she was fair scared like.”  A true gentleman, our Dan.

With that plan having made the situation somehow worse, we regrouped, regained our composure and tried once again to deal with with our unwanted guest. This time we decided to take a more humane approach, simply scare him out the front door. We opened the front door, and put Oisín and Dan in the hallway with open umbrellas to block him from getting any further into the house. Our plan to get him going was the same: shake the fridge. Beth was in charge of that, while Roisin remained on the table and Jack (another housemate who had arrived home to this whole ordeal) and I were beside the fridge ready to send him into the hall.

If I was to blame anything for this plan backfiring, it would be the bad luck brought on by opening those umbrellas indoors. The first part of the plan went ok. He ran out from under the fridge and went for the hall. However, what we thought was an impregnable line of umbrellas was useless. He got through with ease while I rushed after him, again missing each swing. He made it to the sitting room where he went behind the couch, across the room and into the fireplace. We had been outsmarted by a rodent.

After this, we were done. It was 3AM now and all we wanted to do was sleep. The adrenalin from the first encounter had completely worn off and we were left with the fact that we had to sleep knowing he was there, waiting for when he could come out of hiding to do God knows what in our house.

Needless to say, none of us slept that night. The only one who did was Anna Maria, who was lucky enough to stay blissfully ignorant to the fact that all of our screaming, crying and yelling wasn’t a horror movie. Today though, pest control paid us a visit, and the house is now a death trap for him. Anywhere a rat would think of being was baited and poisoned. So next time Nigel (yes, we named him Nigel, so what?) decides to hop back behind the fridge or into the fireplace, our problem will be sorted, and we can get back to worrying about exams and deadlines.