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THE NETTE EFFECT: Near tragic loss in rat race


Antoinette Connell

THE NETTE EFFECT: Near tragic loss in rat race

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Apparently, Jew Jew had an encounter with a centipede recently and no matter how many legs it had, the creepy-crawly couldn’t outrun a can of insecticide and a determined woman with a shoe.
This chronicled misfortune of the arthropod on Facebook prompted others to relate their own horror stories with pests. There were enough stories to start one of those annoying reality series.
Deb spotted one once. Within nanoseconds she was out the house and the neighbours, greeted by a breathless Deb, supposed that an intruder was lurking somewhere. They later realized after Deb got back her breath that there was no need for the resident policeman to have his gun.
Then SAT posted a positively repulsive picture of a more than six-inch-long centipede, evidence of the deadly battle that took place somewhere within Christ Church. It was, too, a warning to others to stay out.
These women are among the few who, after making the kill, actually summon up the courage or conviction to dispose of the body. Those duties are reserved for the males.
Take the case of Di, an accidental farmer from St Andrew. She almost burnt her house after an intense game of rat trap.
She woke one night to a noise coming from the room where she kept her produce. Like most women, she pretended the noise wasn’t her worst fear coming to light. No! No! No! That’s not a rat, she insisted. When the noise continued unabated, she knew she had to find out the source.
She reluctantly did and came face to face with a rather paunchy rat which bit its way through her bag of sweet potatoes. Energized from feasting on the potatoes and possibly emboldened by the theft, the rodent engaged a temporarily paralyzed Di in a stare down. When it looked like the thief and potential killer was about to escape, the battle was on. And for an hour a house spot somewhere in rustic St Andrew was a battleground.
The rat sought refuge in the living room, darting behind furniture as Di flushed him out with a can of insecticide. She cornered him and guided him toward the glue trap but that only stuck to him like a second skin. Back and forth the two went like an episode of Tom and Jerry – Di giving chase at one point and then the rat having her on the run the next.
She found a brick and launched it at the running rodent but it missed its target and broke in two.
Exhausted, Di finally had the rat cornered behind a cabinet. To flush him out, she hit on an ill-conceived plan, lighting part of the telephone directory and holding it under the cabinet.
With nowhere to go, the rat rushed straight at her and as Di scrambled out of its way the flame from the paper started to burn the arm of the living room chair.
Alarmed, Di gave up chasing the rat to put out the fire. Upon seeing the damage – the bitten produce, overturned and burnt furniture and the trail of messy glue – Di resolved that the rat had to die.
Summoning every Christian belief she was raised on, Di declared: “In the name of Jesus, tonight you will die!”
The next moment the rat peeped from its hiding place and Di slammed the half-brick into it, killing it.
The battle over, Di began her clean-up. Naturally, she called a male friend to remove the rat.
Not every battle with pests will be as “epic” as Di’s but we can play our small part to minimize our contact with them.
Health authorities last week made an appeal to the public because of the high incidence of dengue fever and concern about leptospirosis. We are all guilty at some point of contributing to another person’s discomfort but let us take the necessary precautions.
Now on to my task . . . .
• Antoinette Connell is the DAILY NATION editor.

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