• Moriah

Rat stories, Part II

To part I

We bought two more metal traps, glue traps, poison and a sonic rat repellent. Every corner of the boat was trapped. We lived in an armed military base, the enemy and us. Left no grain of food in the house, washed everything before bed, sealed every hole or potential crack that could lead out.

Living in that boat became a nightmare week by week. These creatures, which over time encouraged the common conclusion in our hearts that they were the orphans of Huldi and Frank, walked back and forth within the walls by day and set out on quests for food by night.

In bed, we heard small rat squeaks; they walked inside the walls and then out to the kitchen. We couldn't sleep, only listen.

"I think they're under the refrigerator,"

"I think they're under the bed."

"He's out…"

"No, he's in."

"In the wall?"

"No, in the kitchen…"

Until one night, the frightful sound was heard. A rat baby got caught in a glue trap behind the refrigerator. T jumped out of bed, and I held him back, "Not yet! Maybe his siblings will come to help and be captured as well."

We waited another 10 minutes, then T got up to see.

Two rat babies were glued, trying to get out with all their might and crying and chirping and squeaking hysterically, shaking frantically, especially when T approached. What horrible screams, painful scene. T went mad. He took an empty bottle of wine from a shelf and killed them. On his face was the expression of a Spartan soldier on the offensive, a man guarding his house - which amounted to a shocked exhalation.

Of course, it didn't end there. As you probably know, rats spawn like Mormon families. Those days of struggle were stained with the deaths of rats day in and day out. I believe we killed over ten rats or more. Then one last rat remained.

We knew it was the last one because the noises were much less frequent. We called him Adam.

Adam was the most stubborn existential threat of them all. We had to travel to Lithuania in about a week, and we knew that if he survived, he'd take over the boat and destroy it to the last crumb in our absence. Besides, T decided that after Lithuania, he wanted to join me in Israel, so we weren't going to be on the boat for more than three weeks.

The neighbour came to help, he and T walked into the house like two determined sergeants, planning the attack, arranging the traps strategically, spreading the poison in coordination. A boat is a small space. A trapped one... heaven help us, it was hard to exist.

We managed to capture Adam the day before the flight. But as I mentioned, with so many holes and cracks, the boat slowly filled up with water. Two months later, while stuck in South Africa and as Covid-19 closed the gates on us, the boat sank and joined the bodies of its rodents down the river.

Of all the rats, Adam was my favourite. He was smart. Didn't touch the traps, but somehow managed to eat the chocolate. He had determination. For him, the boat was his and his family's, and we were the intruders. He fought until his bitter death, then took her with him as a real captain. If I don't live here, no one lives here. God bless.

And here we are, on a new boat. We sold our spot in the mooring last year, before all this happened, to a couple of friends. Now, we're in their boat, and it's moored right above the burial place of our boat—the real victim of the rat invasion of 2019.

It was difficult times, and in retrospect, I wondered what we got out of it all. We won but still lost; so much struggle and hardship and bloodshed over nothing.

Well, maybe not nothing - a rat story.

"There have been as many plagues as wars in history; yet always plagues and wars take people equally by surprise."

― Albert Camus, The Plague

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