As a point of clarification, we live in a semi-rural area, with lots of natural habitat for rats and other wildlife. We have deer and pheasant, as well as coyotes, that also live near us. So the fact that we have rats living around our house is not really cause for alarm. Well, other than that the assholes are getting in my car, of course.
This is not the first time we’ve had a problem with them. Two years ago we went on a fairly lengthy car trip over New Year’s (and let me just go on record as saying that never again will we drive seven fucking hours over mountain passes, through throngs of holiday weekend skiers, to stay two nights—two nights—at a resort, no matter how fancy or nice or amazing it is. Fuck that shit). While we were out of town (of course) the car started acting up. If we dropped under 40 m.p.h. while we were driving there was something that would kick in and not allow us to accelerate back up again. We’d have to turn the car off to reset this thing. Guess how fast you can go when you’re in holiday traffic on snowy mountain passes? Not over 40 m.p.h., that’s how fast. So it was something of a nightmare getting back.
We managed to limp home, and the next day my husband took the car to the dealership to be repaired. The guy told him that rats had nested in the car engine, and chewed through some wires, which caused the problem. I’m sorry, that was rats? I didn’t know whether to laugh or throw up. He said he was doing four and five of this kind of repair a week, because in our particular minivan model there was a very easy way for the rats to get into the engine, and apparently a rat or rats who are bigger assholes than most rats had spread the word. So four hundred dollars later, we had a rat-free car.
That's the little fucker. He cost me four hundred bucks. He's dead now.
The guy at the dealership recommended some moth balls in the engine compartment, because he said rats don’t like the smell of camphor. I didn’t bother pointing out to him that neither do humans. So my husband went out and bought some, and stuck them in the car. The first time I got in to drive it after that, I had forgotten about the moth balls. I sniffed.
Me: “What’s that weird smell?”
Kid: “I don’t know, but it smells like a porta-potty.”
Then I remembered the moth balls.
Me: “Oh, right—Daddy put moth balls into the car to keep away the rats. Well, that’s great, but now I feel like I’m driving the world’s biggest Randy Kan.”
Plus, anyone else see the foreshadowing in that child’s remark? It’s like the rats heard him and went, “Hmmm...you may have something there…” Assholes.
Fast forward to earlier this week, while my husband is doing something productive and undoubtedly tool-related in the garage, I am standing in the driveway with a glass of wine (like you expected me to be doing anything else). As I’m standing there, I see a rat run over to one of our cars, and shimmy his nasty little ass up into the engine. Mother. Fucker. I shriek for my husband, who sends me to his office to get a pellet gun revolver we have, while he grabs the air compressor out of the garage. I open the hood, and he goes back eight or so feet with the pellet revolver and squats down in the position assumed by cops just before they yell, “Cover me!” to their partner and rush out into the crossfire to kill the bad guy. (To answer the question this presents, no, there is no way in hell Axel Foley was going to hit the rat on its way across the yard. I’m pretty sure he intended the revolver and the stance as intimidation devices, trying to scare the rat into giving serious thought to just who he was messing with. Like the rat was going to care.) On his command, I spray the air into the engine, scaring the little bastard out. He (the rat, not my husband) runs across the driveway, and ducks down into hole in our retaining wall, which is clearly his nasty little burrow. My husband watches where he goes, then proceeds to fire half a dozen pellets into the burrow, unquestionably hitting nothing. I think he just wanted an excuse to fire the pellet revolver.
So here’s what I don’t get—he’s clearly got a place to live. What’s he doing in my car, other than pooping? It’s summer, so he’s not seeking warmth (which was the explanation offered by the dealership in January two years ago). There’s no food in the area—two years ago there were some leftover pumpkins from our Pumpkin Fling that they were eating, before climbing up into our cozy warm car engine. So I can only conclude that this shithead of a rat is using our car as a toilet. I wouldn’t be surprised to find a little stash of male rat’s magazines in there if we were to take the whole thing apart. Dirty little creep.
I hope he’s made out his will, because I have purchased rat poison. My neighbors had (and may still have) rats in their crawl space, and set all kinds of traps—snap traps and sticky traps. None of them worked. I don’t know what their rationale is for not wanting to use poison. Their kid is old enough not to eat it (he’s 10, and doesn’t go into the crawl space anyway), and they don’t have any pets who might get into it. The hell with it, I say—fry, you little bastards, fry.