doesn't it look inviting?

We have rats. They came to my bumper crop of lilikoi (passion fruit) this summer from wherever rats come from—other  people’s houses, the sugarcane fields, drawn by the music of  the Rat Fairy, multiplying like Tribbles.

The only good thing about this infestation is that they haven’t made it inside the house. They are garage, laundry room, woodshop and garden rats. Every evening I have to make a pilgrimage down to the laundry room with Liko, my not-too-bright Shih Tzu, to put him in his kennel. Liko is terrified of them and hands over his food whenever they ask, like the schoolyard bullies they are.

Warm brown with white underbellies, they sit atop the water heater and look at me with their beady black eyes. I hate rats. It’s the tails, you see. In fact, it’s what makes prairie dogs cute and rats, repugnant.

We bought a bunch of TomCat traps. Huge, and with a snap that makes a grown man recoil, clutching his nethers. We set them among the lilikoi vines, in the laundry room, in the woodshop. We couldn’t use poison in case the dogs got into it, and then there’s always the smell of dead rat to deal with… so TomCats it was.

Clever bastards. They ate the bait, and in two weeks of monitoring and stocking the traps, they got a lot of cheese and even peanut butter. We retired the TomCats when I forgot about one set on top of the laundry room shelf and put the machete up there. The trap went off so hard the machete flew through the air. I was lucky to still have both hands.

So I heard about an electronic trap that ‘zaps’ them when they climb in. I sent the hubby to get one. It looked like a small, cozy black mailbox.

“For forty-two dollars this better work,” The Hubby said, pushing in the last of the four C batteries that powered the devilish little contraption. As he pushed the battery in, his finger must have made contact with something, because it delivered on its promises with a ZAP. It sounded just like that. ZAP.

He flew backward with a shriek. I was actually worried I was going to have to give him CPR. Gray and shaking, he said he’d rather stick his finger in a light socket any day, and the rats were definitely going to die.

And they have. Approximately two a day. I carry the trap out to the front of the house, call, “Here kitty kitty,” and dump out the latest offering for our now-fat calico, who was too lazy to catch them herself.

Someone finally did invent a better rat trap. But I really dread when we have to change the batteries.

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