I Smell a Rat

By Jay Shifley

The telltale signs were everywhere—we had rats at Dynamic.  The street was being re-paved just outside of our basement facility, and evidently the rats were taking refuge inside.

The signs were the chewed up files in our file cabinet, the small oblong droppings on the desks and the floor every morning, and even urine stains on our receipt books.  But probably the last straw was when our Admissions Counselor, Amna, opened her desk drawer to get a pen and two huge rats jumped out.  They both were as big as a small cat.  We decided then something needed to be done.

Ganesh, our office maintenance man, was charged with the task of getting rid of them.  The best  traps he could find were a couple of “live capture” cage traps.  We did catch a couple of rats this way in the next couple of days, but I was pretty sure we had a dozen of these large rats hiding in our school.  After the first two captures, the rats seemed to get smart and they avoided the traps.  That left the only alternative:  poison.

The rats gobbled up the poison, and in a couple of days we came in in the morning and found two large rats dead in the middle of a classroom floor.  But soon we discovered that the rats weren’t all going to die conveniently in plain sight.  The smell of dead rat soon permeated the classroom atmosphere, and the search for the corpses began.  The only problem was that I seemed to be the only one who could smell the putrid stench.

Over the next two weeks I would often send Ganesh into the back storage room to find the smelly body of a dead rat, only to have him come back and tell me that there was no rat there.

“Ganesh,” I would say, “There has to be a rat back there.  I can smell it!”  Soon after sending him back, he would emerge with the stinky body of a large rat.  He was sure that I had some sort of super sensitive smelling power, and he told people that “Mr. Jonathan ka nok bahot taze he!”  This roughly translated to “Mr. Jonathan has a very sharp nose!”

But soon we were rat free.  Here is what I learned from the experience

1.  Not everyone has the ability to smell a rat

2.  Don’t automatically accept the claims of a person who says there is no problem.

3.  Even rats can recognize a trap.

Originally written: March 22, 2017

 

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