The rat in my room has grown a steel pair of nuts. In this context my usage of the word ‘rat’ is very liberal, because I have watched this creature grow from a tiny blob of grayish hair and sweet disposition into a mean looking chunk of flesh with a multiplicity of chins. Yes, thanks to the wholesome meals he has been stealing from us, the bastard has managed to amass a considerable amount of fat around his middle, and now looks nothing like the wiry youth I first granted reluctant sanctuary in my room. They grow up so fast, these kids.
I can still remember how we met. We had just finished moving into our new house. It was all very exciting, the prospect of starting over in a new neighborhood. Then my dad was made aware of the growing infestation of rats in the clump of bushes behind the house. He had stumbled upon two hormone fueled teenage rats manifesting their love for each other inside his favourite pair of shoes, and the furious chase he embarked on led him straight to the thicket that was their breeding ground. Naturally, he declared war. He purchased a variety of toxins and poisons, each one less effective than the last. He borrowed the fastest cat in the neighborhood, but that proved more problematic for his refrigerator and furniture than the rats that somehow continued to keep us up at night with their ritualistic squeaking.
Eventually, he cleared the thicket and trimmed all the grass in the compound. Then he ordered each of us to equip ourselves with weapons and hunt down any survivors. So for the rest of the day, we endured curious stares from the neighbors as we raced around the compound brandishing sandals and walking sticks, and swinging angrily at passing shadows. The exercise was largely successful. At the end of the day we had somehow gotten rid of the rats. They had probably migrated to a less dramatic home, one that did not have traps and screaming women waiting around every corner. But that night, as I retired to my room, I found myself staring into the wary eyes of yet another rat. I was too exhausted to do more than wave him away, hoping that he would understand my gesture to be an invitation to spend the night- only that night- and then find himself another home first thing in the morning. Somehow, the thankless deviant is still in my room.
Yesterday, I managed to retain the attentions of M.J. Atieno, the girl with the finest posterior in living history, long enough to get her to agree to a tour of my place. It was a very delicate situation. M.J. was perfectly aware of the authority she commanded with her assets, so it had taken all my skill to secure that date with her. I was extremely eager to make an impression. So when our discussion ended up in my room, it was one of the proudest moments of my adult life. We were seated on my bed, my arm itching to go round her shoulder, when there came a sudden squeak, then a bump and the sound of pattering feet. Before I could make sense of it, M.J. had sprung from the bed with a piercing scream. Suddenly she was jumping up and down, her hands reaching frantically for the hem of her skirt as she twisted and turned in a manic frenzy.
It took me all of a minute to understand what had happened. While my date had been enjoying the lulling musicality of my voice, seated at the edge of my bed, something had crawled up her leg and was now desperately trying to find its way out of the inside of her skirt. Something with grayish hair a warped sense of adventure. I cannot possibly recreate the urgency and hilarity of the situation. The screaming, the squeaking and the upended skirt were particularly disturbing. In the end, her dance routine forcefully expelled the rat. Yet, even after the intruder had scurried away, she continued to jump and shake her legs, her skirt gathered up around her waist. Then she threw me a filthy look and flew out of the house muttering obscenities.
So, to recap, the rat in my room has taken leave of his senses. He has either subscribed to some mind altering narcotic, or he is at that rebellious stage which lulls males into a false sense of invincibility. Because I cannot fathom what would possess him to disrespect me thus. Surely, he understands that he is the guest? Or does he not remember how I spared his life and have since allowed him to thrive in the forgotten boxes under my table? Is this what passes for honour in his mind? Embarrassing the hand that feeds him? No, the shameless miscreant must pay. Tomorrow morning, I will personally embark on an eviction mission. I will purchase all the rat poisons in town, and I will ask around for the most accomplished cats in the neighborhood.
And then I will close my eyes and smile as the air fills with the sounds of war.