I shot out of bed this morning at 3:30 AM and I haven’t been to bed since. This is saying something because I am a deep sleeper. I was woken this morning by a rat who scurried under my futon. The rat was about six inches in length — likely a Norway menace — and its slimy curlicue tail swirled about a foot away from my head. I have heard the rats (there are many of them) scurrying through some of my papers. I have heard them in the walls and it is just as scary as Lovecraft’s story. Where did they come from? They stormed my apartment in one parasitical burst.
I am now in a coffeehouse. The exterminators are coming this afternoon. I have no desire to return to my apartment, although I have been brave and did some work while keeping my legs under my ass. I have tried to do more work, but it has been to no avail. The exterminators tell me that it will take repeat visits to rid the apartment of this infestation, but that the vermin should be exterminated in about two to three weeks. They offer a 90 day warranty, which I find interesting, given that the service involves destroying rather than preserving something.
I did not expect this to happen to me. I am certainly not a heroin addict nor do I welcome squalor. I may be messy, but I am not a total slob. Certainly the apartment has been in worse shape than it is in right now and the rats did not come. I suspect that the rats were attracted by the recent bathroom leak. Sewage is their natural habitat. And there was a hole in my bathroom ceiling for several days. Put it together.
I know there is a hole behind one of my bookshelves, for that is where this morning’s rat came from. Thankfully, it did not give two shits about me, but I let out a considerable squeal and vowed to kill the bastard. Unfortunately, I was unarmed and, even if I had possessed a weapon, I had no wish to catch the bubonic plague. I know there is another hole somewhere in my closet and I have kept that door shut. I hear the rats scratching from behind the heater. Christ, how many of them are there?
I will be staying in a hotel tonight. I have cracked many rat jokes, but there is still something unshakably menacing about the vermin. These damn things copulate several times a year and produce a litter of twenty or more. There are more rats than humans on this planet.* I am operating off of two hours of sleep and am keeping myself awake with Americanos.
I look upon the exterminators as my private mercenaries, my comrades in arms. I know that we will defeat the bastards.
But if it’s quiet around here for a while, you now know why.
* — I have since learned that this is false. Blame my understandable anxieties here.
[UPDATE: The exterminator has arrived, sealed off openings, and laid down traps. Apparently, the mice were coming through openings in the garage, which have now been sealed. The remaining ten to twenty mice will die in the next seven days. There’s a funny story here for a future post. I talked with the guy for a while. But it will have to wait. Needless to say, I now have a deranged respect for exterminators.]