I’m brushing my hair when I notice movement to the left of me. It seems to be in slow motion, and it feels like I’m watching a movie. It is a complete out-of-body experience. I think I know what I am seeing, but I can’t bring myself to believe it is true. For a second, I think maybe I’m having a hallucination. I try to speak but I can’t even get words out.
The movement is coming out of the toilet bowl. Literally ‘coming out of’ the toilet bowl. It’s wet, it’s big, and it’s looking right at me. I can see its teeth, its whiskers, and its creepy little feet, which are now on my toilet seat. I scream, “Rat! Then, I run out of the bathroom leaving my husband in the shower and my dog in the hallway. It is every man/woman/dog for themselves. I think I just saw a HUGE rat come out of the toilet.
I run to the living room, jump on the couch, and pull my feet up. I’m still hoping it’s a dream. I even consider that the effects of my radiation treatments seven years ago caused a hallucination. That would be a better scenario than this…
I hear Nate, “Dawn? Dawn? Holy Expletive! That’s a HUGE RAT!” It’s NOT a dream. It’s a nightmare. I’m living out an urban legend. Nate shouts, “Bring my net!” I respond, “I can’t….”
“Dawn, please bring my net.”
“I’m sorry, I can’t. I’m too scared…”
I reluctantly grab his fishing net and tip toe down the hallway. Nate is standing there, soaking wet, wearing nothing but bubbles. “Dawn, you should have closed the toilet cover or the bathroom door. Now you made him scamper,” he says in a calm and collected tone. I ask (not really wanting to know), “Where did he go?”
“He’s in the bedroom,” Nate confirms calmly. How can he be calm? I feel like my heart is about to jump out of my chest and I’m about to jump out of my skin. I don’t know what is stopping me from screaming and running out of my apartment.
Nate says, “Okay, I’m going to finish showering and I’ll take care of it when I get out.” He heads back to the shower leaving me standing in the hallway. I call Gia and we head back to the safety of the living room. Or, are we safe? I the water shut off. Nate says, “Bring me my pellet gun and my head lamp.” I grab both requested items and again tip toe back down the hall. He says, “I’ll need your help.” “I can’t,” I whimper. I’m actually whimpering.
Again, cool as a cucumber, he says, “Dawn (he’s using my first name so I know he wants my undivided attention) you have to watch to see if he runs out of the bedroom.” “Okay, I can do that,” I sheepishly respond.
I take the stool from the hallway and I position it at the bedroom door. I stand on it and hold the now-not-needed net in one hand and a bamboo walking cane in the other. I’m not even sure why I’m holding the net and the cane. It’s not like I’m going to use it if the rat comes my way.
Nate puts his head lamp on and proceeds to hunt down the intruder. Usually if we have a lizard or moth in the house, I have him capture and release it to the wild unharmed. We catch and release critters in our home. In this case, it’s the rat or us. I’m hoping he hits the kill shot!
I watch as he calmly removes storage bins from under the bed and squeezes into the claustrophobic space. I can’t believe he’s so unruffled by this alarming turn of events. I mean this rat could jump out or at him at any time. “I love you honey. Sorry, I didn’t close the door,” I say as I watch him shimmy deeper into the abyss under our bed. I don’t know why I say it, but I feel he needs moral support.
After searching methodically for 20 minutes, he says, “Hand me the gun.” I hand him the pellet gun. I feel it’s the least I can do since I’m not actually doing anything but wishing this were a dream and wanting to cry and scream. Nate on the other hand isn’t even breaking a sweat. He stands on the bed and aims. The critter is cornered on the side of the bed—MY side. I hear a small pop. Nate reloads… I ask, “Is it still alive?!” Nate, “Not anymore…”
He continues, “Bring me plastic bags and double it.” I hand him the bags and as he puts on gloves. Then, he bags the big boy. When I say BIG, I mean BIG! Nate says, “Crap, he bled on the carpet.” Feeling like I made the situation worse by not closing the door and knowing I was NO help at all in helping to correct it, I offer to clean it up. Nate, “No, I’ll do it. Just wait until I get back.”
Another 20 minutes of clean up, a gallon of Clorox, Lysol on every surface of the apartment, and a double wash for our sheets, we can finally settle in for the night. But, can I really settle? NO! It was a restless night followed by me waking up and NOT needing to use the bathroom. Seriously, my bladder and bowels (TMI) shut down. My organs were like, “No way are you sitting on that toilet!”
I Googled it and yes, this can happen. Why did I need to Google when I just lived it?!?! Nate enjoys sharing the story and his photographic evidence. He’s been sharing with our neighbors who are all now living the nightmare with us. Misery loves company I suppose. Now you’re in our company too. Don’t forget to close the lid!