I am at war with rats. I know, this is concerning, but I should have the situation under control in a short span of time. I am currently at stage two in my rat warfare. Stage one, reconnaissance, has been completed. I have had help with my reconnaissance. Guests at my home, children, and animals have all reported in. I will report back when I am successful. I am a skilled rat killer, and I have been through many years of different rat killing scenarios. Yes, I will share some of those with you now.
When I was a young lad I had a fine head of curly hair that drove the ladies crazy. Well, at least that is what I thought at the time. I had been told that I favored Dave Starsky from the Starsky and Hutch TV show. Well, maybe I was not quite as handsome as Paul Michael Glazer, but after all, he was a movie star. You can decide who is more Hollywood worthy yourself. Like my own children, when I was young I could sleep though anything. I was not waking up until I had to wake up. One night a poor mouse fell off of the window valance in my bedroom into my hair. It was thrashing about scared to death, when I subconsciously grabbed it, and threw it against the wall. There it lay until the morning, my first rat kill. Greg one; rats zero.
Several years later I found my self working in a rat hell hole. The restaurant I was managing was fifteen years old or more and was right dead in the middle of a rat Mecca. We kept the restaurant very clean, but unseen, behind the restaurant, there was a rat condo. These were Mafia rats. They did not scare easy. I often think that they came with the dumpsters, which were owned I found out by potentially real Mafia. Once after having a heated complaint about the garbage pick up service, the owners set up a meeting with me to discuss, in person, the garbage situation. They arrived in a six door stretch limo. The short Boss got out, and then two "helpers" got out and stood next to him. They were in suits and sun glasses, and stood about six foot eight. They were three hundred fifty pounds each if they were an ounce. The Boss then asked, in a strange Northern Italian accent, "so are we's OK with everything?" I am not real smart, but I am not completely stupid. I responded with my friendliest "You guys are doing a great job!" They smiled, then they left. However, I do believe I saw them let out several Mafia rats as they drove off.
Reconnaissance started when one of my servers was opening up the store one morning. "L" was stocking a back station drawer with supplies when a Mafia rat poked it's head out of the drawer when she opened it and allegedly growled at her. I could not get "L" to go into the back room for a week. I suspected that the "Short Boss" had been up to no good. I investigated the dumpster area that evening to see what could be found. When I poked my head around the back of the dumpster, which was a tight squeeze, there it was, the Mafia Boss Rat. It stood up on it's hind legs and growled at me. This Mafia rat was the size of an overfed raccoon. I never new that rats could growl until then. Worse yet, I had to apologize to "L", because I called her crazy for telling me she saw a huge rat that growled.
Help was called immediately. The exterminators were out that night; then they called for back up. We had to cut down fifteen shrubs that were around the dumpster; all the time looking for Mafia rat homes. Later that evening, when the entire region of exterminators arrived, we found the Mafia rat condo. The exterminators baited a thirty foot square area that was the Mafia rat condo. Holes riddled the ground. I never new that rats had condos. Greg two; rats zero.
This rat hell hole was not done. More surprises were to come. I was in full stage reconnaissance after one Sunday afternoon lunch. Every Sunday at three o'clock a local church reserved our back room that sat about one hundred twenty five. These church goers were real nice, and wore nothing but white. I am not sure why they wore white, but I thought it was pretty cool. No one got too uppity about what they wore to church because it was going to be the same as everyone else, except for the hats that were worn. That is good leadership in my book. Anyway, on with the rat story. I was counting money in the office when I got a call on the phone to come out quick, there had been a rat sighting. Halfway to the front of the restaurant, a hostess told me 'Grandma' had fainted and was in the foyer. "Call 911 now" I instructed. Upon entering the foyer I saw the grandson. He was not happy. He was real big. Grandma looked fine, but I let them know that help was on the way. I proceeded to the back room where much there was shouting and much commotion. Several large ladies were standing on chairs when I entered the room. Shouts of "Jesus!!" "Oh Jesus help us!!" were afloat in the air. There was a fifteen foot circle of worshipers shouting at a small mouse which was running in circles on the floor. I grabbed a 4" 1/6 pan and a small toy broom and walked into the circle to face the mini rat. He cruised by me and I plopped the pan over it. I then eased up one side of the pan, and as he poked his head out, pop! Right on the head with the end of the toy broom. Greg three; rats zero.
I did have to buy one hundred and thirty meals. Twice. I was at war with the mini rats.
We still noticed small messes on the tables in the mornings. Sugar was all over tables and sugar packets were strewn in an odd fashion on some tables. I suspected more mice. More mini rats. I did not realize how many mini rats I was fighting though. I decided one night to wait, and see if I could see where they were coming from so I could trap them. I turned out the lights and waited sitting in the dark perfectly still. After about twenty minutes the floor was moving with mice. I again called for backup. The exterminators came and assured me that it could not be that many as they came out regularly and took care of all the pests; "guaranteed". They left me several sticky pads to catch the mice with. I caught nineteen mice the first night. I called the exterminators back, and again, they brought backup. I had started recording how many mice I had caught by drawing mice on the wall in the office; similar to a WW2 pilot marking the side of his plane with pictures of bombs or skull and cross bones. They second day I caught seventeen; the third day thirteen, and so on. The "guaranteed" exterminators came and set traps. I told them about turning out the lights and waiting in the dark to find the mice. They decided to try this procedure out that same night. This is when we saw "Master Splinter". We found "Master Splinter" scurrying around and chased him into a corner. This just so happened to be the same corner that the sugar packets were chewed on regularly. He headed straight for the corner; then POOF he disappeared. Vanished. We pulled back the carpet in the corner and revealed a four inch square hole that had been chewed through solid concrete. This discovery sent the "guaranteed" exterminators into high gear. Hundreds of traps were set out; doors were resealed, cracks were caulked, and traps were put into the ceiling (These later revealed mice skeletons to repair men venturing up there years later.). Over a period of several weeks the mice count on the office wall, although full, was not producing any new mice pictures. Greg four (hundred); mice zero.
The last mice story always bothered me. How could so many rodents be right under my nose, for so long, with out me knowing until it was an epidemic? I would ponder this often and be slightly depressed for my unawareness. But then the following story of another sister restaurant's mice escapades would erase any thought of me being inadequate. The restaurant across the river had mice also. They were being invaded. They were being attacked, but they did not know it.
The restaurants had a high vaulted ceiling with an air conditioning vent chase running right down the center of the dining room. This was the mice highway during one Friday nights dinner service. A customer spotted the mouse tip toeing along the edge of the chase right in the middle of the dining room. The idiot manager, wanting to be a hero mouse killer like myself, thought it would be a good idea to get a broom and snag the intruder. "There is a time and a place for everything." my father used to tell me. This was neither. The manager successfully swept the mini rat into the hair bun of a middle aged woman eating macaroni and cheese and chocolate chip cookies. Idiot managers zero; rats one.
I will report when I have eliminated my current rat. Good hunting.