Sequins and Sapphires: Rats!
By Kathryn Kazibwe, Uganda:
I'm not an animal person. A few years back, my sister had a pet cat called Grey Mancini aka Munchkin. Mancini was the laziest being I have ever met, ever. Even plants are more active than Mancini was. He would wake up in the morning and jump off his bed (which he so lovingly shared with my sister) and promptly go back to sleep wherever on the ground he landed. He only woke up long enough to eat the fried eggs and other meals she prepared for him throughout the day. I didn't hate Mancini. But I didn't particularly like him either. There was only one thing he was greater at than lazing about; scaring the mice away. Don't get excited yet. He did this without putting any effort at all into it. See, mice don't come close enough to a cat-occupied house to know whether that cat is fit enough to hunt them or not. If they did, they would probably have infested our house and even taught their new buddy Mancini how to gnaw stuff up. When their creepy little noses pick up cat scent, they keep away. And this, my friends, is the sole reason why I almost loved Mancini, and was definitely grateful for his (lazy) presence.
Mancini is no longer with us. Unfortunately, that means that nowadays, mice have the scent of freedom in their creepy little noses when they come near home. Freedom to come in and make themselves comfortable! By comfortable I mean helping themselves to whatever food is left unattended. And by food I mean a whole range of things from bread to sanitary towels, I was shocked to find out. Those little things will chew through anything! It was only a matter of time before we had to come up with a solution to our ratty problem. So we set a few of those glue traps as well as 'fast-acting, ready to eat' poison, as it said on the pack, and waited.
Within the first few minutes, we got our first catch; a teeny mouse. We had a mini celebration, chanting, “Our enemy! Finally in captivity! Down with the enemy!” as the thing squealed for mercy. People, that glue is lethal! All wives should use it to keep their husbands by their side to avoid any extra-marital hanky panky. It should also be prescribed to yappy people to help them prevent their lips from flapping out the window – 'Apply liberally on lips. Shut mouth for half a minute.'
The glue is strong. That is what I'm trying to say. The poor mouse could barely move an inch. It settled for squealing its lungs dry and wriggling one of its toes. Now, I have, from my A-level Biology class, some experience with doing stuff to live rats. Big rats. So I thought it wouldn't be too much of a task to kill this one little mouse and chuck it over the fence into the bush. I was wrong. It just looked so real and sad and alive! The ones in the lab were anaesthetized, so they never wriggled around trying to escape certain death. This one did. I didn't know how to go about the killing. I just wanted the damned thing dead. Now I know why Harry and his friends' first visits to Ollivander's were so momentous. Well, I had no wand, only a big stick, and in the end, I did what I had to do. There were no dramatic squelching sounds or anything, thank God, and that was one enemy down, so it wasn't all bad. However, the glue traps were done away with; too much guilt involved. Let them just eat the poison. It gets the job done.
PS: I didn't do anything to Mancini. He just disappeared one day. If you see him… adopt him and feed him eggs. He'll keep away the mice, I swear it.