Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Dirty Rats and Other Mean Mother@*//?"!+>ing House Pests

It doesn't take long for a house left for any length of time empty in the tropics to be taken over by dirty rats and other mean spirited pests of the insect world. After a three month absence I come back to termites destroying the woodwork in the library and eating the innards of a dozen books including my cheap detective trash, a classic copy of Moby Dick (Jesus leave that book alone. It's like swimming through mud having to squint through the tiny writing, delicately turn the thin pages and wade through pages of footnotes.) I don't care that Norman Mailer's 1300 page tome A Time Of Our Time was chomped and his unwieldy, inexplicable Ancient Evenings as I was about to pay the library up the road to take it off my hands. I have a half eaten A Prison Notebook by the Italian communist Gramsci which again I do not mind too much as it was turning me slowly into an old style Bolshevik and raving lunatic. But I am really pissed off about The Conquest Of Mexico and History Of London, both enormous door-stoppers that I leave lying around to make myself look studious. Eaten except for the covers that disintegrated in my hands. I found termites making mud passageways across 3 meters of wooden beams 5 meters up that need a scary ladder climb and toxic fumed termite stuff to rectify, more termites making holes in the drawer that contain kitchen utensils and sharp knives which all fell onto my bare toes when I opened it to get a teaspoon and an army of termites invading the plaster board under the mezzanine which as a result calls for major renovation. They came in through the electricity ducts and out the sockets. Believe me that calls for intelligence, communication, forward planning and organization. How can you beat that. It's like trying to make a stand when the Chinese throw their army in a suicide rush at your trench and you are armed with a Steed sword stick in one hand and a copy of last years M! magazine in the other.

I found following my nose a dead rat dried out and stinking surrounded by maggots under a cushion on the day bed and one more festering under the Cuban Royal palm flattened as if the air has been sucked out of it. The store cupboard now looking as though an indoor hurricane had torn the place apart as a result of the pre-deceased rat eating its way through and scattering the remains of two packs of kitchen aluminium foil, a few rolls of cling wrap, a plastic container of antiseptic powder and another of antibiotic powder and various medical supplies and tablets, a gnawed rat-sized hole in a portable hard plastic 20 liter travel ice box through which it entered in one end and came out the other (having fun it seems), the ice box guaranteed by the manufacturers to survive a fall down a 600 foot mountain drop but not the yellow teeth of a pissed off rat, the destruction of a cardboard box containing a dozen bottles of wine which fell over and rolled about the floor, and the eating and spitting out of two boxes that contained fine Scotch Whisky and thank Christ it ate through a box of rat poison. The stuff that fortuitously led to its eventual demise - a sweet pink coloured rat poison that is tasty to a rat but contains an awful toxic substance that slowly dehydrates the creature from the inside out causing what i would presume to be terrible pain and a slow agonizing death that ends in the creature thrashing around then dropping dead under a cushion as i said on our wrought iron day bed. A bed that I spend every waking hour doing nothing but staring into space. We don't keep food lying about so Christ knows what it was up to. Chewing anything it can get it's teeth into and scattering the debri around smacks of a mean spirited rodent with a grudge. Maybe it remembered me when I chased one like it around the garden with a broom and only winged it as it scarpered up the Jasmine.

As a result of the dead rat decomposing on the day bed we had to throw out the mattress, three cushion and a blanket overlay and dig a hole and discard the darkened contaminated soil from under the rat under the palm tree. How the fucking thing got into the house is also a mystery as the only access from the outside is a one centimeter gap under the glass patio doors and a two centimeter plastic pipe for the cable modem wire.

Carpenter bees have also made themselves at home in three beams providing support for the Copa de Oro resulting in one of the now virtually hollow beams to snap in half and drop to the terrace below which could have caused the death of anyone who would have been unlucky to have been lying in the hammock underneath and over the last 4 years we have replaced all 12, bar these last three. Carpenters bees have the uncanny ability to gnaw through iron hard wood excavating intricate tunnels that can, after they have vacated them, become the home of a colony of large nipping black ants that rain down on the head when the time comes to replace the beam as was the case last summer that resulted in my bald pate to be horribly stung a number of times and a fair number falling down my shirt.

However there is one group of insects that endear themselves to me and those are crickets. Those lively little critters that jump up like firecrackers bouncing off your face every time you lift a stone or discarded tile or move a rock and they often bounce into the house and hide behind the sofa and chirrup incessantly when the lights go out. When you been away they multiply in numbers and keep the night alive with tropical noise.

I think I'm gonna go out and buy myself a gun.......A dirty rat gun for the dirty rats.........

and a gun that shoots around corners for the bee in its hole.....

and a space gun for all the other pesky pests that inhabit my domain..........

Our advice to anyone desirous of living in Mazatlán, buy a concrete bunker or a corrugated tin shack.


Last night jet lag kept me staring at the ceiling at 3 am and I heard another rat or large creature shaking the Jasmine and entwined Bougainvillea outside my bedroom as it climbed down from across the roof and empty lot next door to scout around my property. Its scrabbling continued off and on for a while and the patter of rat feet across the window sill outside proved that it had probably gone for a snack of the aforementioned pink rat dehydrator that it finds hard to resist and that I placed conveniently under the window. Later I noticed a dent in the pile of poison pellets so no doubt we will have another dead rodent on our hands in a day or so.

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