Slowly, the sleep fog lifted, and I could identify the sound. I was hearing some creature repeatedly hitting something plastic. I had a pretty good idea what the creature was. But what in the world did I have in the kitchen that would make that sound?
Finally, I figured it out. The trash can I used to seal off the second set of cupboard doors had a swivel top. Obviously, my nocturnal visitor had somehow fallen into the trash can and now could not find its way out. With every jump, he hit the swivel top and was knocked back down
“Just great!” I thought. “I have a rat in my trash can. NOW what am I going to do with it?”
I went to the kitchen door and listened. Of course, as soon as he heard the sound of my movements, Ralph the Rat stopped jumping. I can picture him sitting inside the trash can listening for my sounds every bit as intently as I listened for his. Finally, the sound came again.
THUMP! THUMP! THUMP!
OK. He was still in the trash can. I grabbed the broom, opened the door, and slipped into the kitchen, quickly closing the door behind me. If Ralph got out, I certainly didn’t want him to be able to take refuge in my bedroom.
Of course, when I opened the door, the thumping stopped. After tuning on the light, I stood there eyeing the trash can warily. Finally,…
With the advantage of the light, Ralph was able to get a grip on the rim of the trash can. He clutched the rim just long enough for me to get a glimpse of a big ugly rat paw before he fell back down.
“Oh gross!,” I thought. “I was right!. It is a rat, and he’s a big one! WHAT am I going to do with him?”
Then, I got an idea. In my office, I had a roll of clear packing tape. I’d get that, pull off a sizeable strip, and fasten it over the top of the trash can so the swivel top couldn’t swivel. I’d take the trash can outside, as far from my bedroom as I could, and deal with it in the morning.
Still armed with the broom, I went back through the kitchen door and closed it swiftly behind me. I found the tape and returned to the kitchen. Same routine. Get broom. Listen. Open door. Slip inside. Close door.
This time, I pulled off a length of tape and quickly whipped it over the top of the trash can. Now that I knew nothing could escape through the swivel top, I ventured to kick the can.
Small kick. Nothing.
Stronger kick. Still nothing.
Ralph the Rat had escaped. Now where was he?
I could only hope that Ralph was so shaken up by his captivity in the trash can that he had escaped my house the same way he had gotten in.
I noticed at that point that I had failed to complete the nighttime routine of sealing off the cupboards. That is probably why Ralph fell in to begin with. The trash can was not in its usual nighttime position. I remedied that oversight and headed back to bed.
I was only in bed for a few minutes when I heard a new sound.
SCRATCH! SCRATCH! SCRATCH!
Great! Just great! I knew exactly what that sound was. …(to be continued)
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