Deck the Walls With Ratty Holly


“Don we now, Our gray apparel…”


If you’ve never heard of Rat Fruit… If you’ve never heard The Song of the Rat… This post is for YOU.

So: I’m in Florida one night, relaxing, watching my non-existent TV (don’t ask), when there’s a loud THUMP! on my roof, right over my head. WTF?? Two seconds later, another, louder one: THUMP!!

Now, I’ve been having just a wee, teensy bit of crazy neighbor trouble (as in, she was later hauled away in handcuffs), so I’m thinking “Has Nutso next door taken to flinging coconuts onto my roof?” (Understand, Florida is chock-full of wingnuts.)

I race outside, past my pool and dock, around to my side yard, and see: THUMP! Yet another giant RAT drops down off my neighbor’s palm tree and down onto my roof. Eeeek!!! And this isn’t even Nutso Neighbor’s palm—it’s the palm on the other side.

The rat-fruit continues to drop on following nights.

They WISH They Were This Cute.


 
The rats LOVE my house. They find no food in it—I’m Aspie OCD+ when it comes to food storage—but they are so happy with the new-blown loose insulation in my attic. It is the coldest winter on record. The ratties have discovered a fluffy Ratty Heaven.

How do I know this? Because there I am one night, sitting in front of that self-same virtual TV, when I hear happy birdsong. Coming from my attic. I, being a wee bit slow, get a big dumb smile on my face. “How pretty!” I think, thinks I. But then: “Wait a minute…birds don’t sing at night.”

Yup: F#cking rats SING when they’re happy. They sound exactly like happy little birds. Happy, happy little birds.
The Song of the Rat
Well, at least SOMEone was happy in that house.

F#cking Florida.

Yeah. What They’d Like You to THINK.

The Ratty, Ratty Truth.

Okay. Fond memories aside, I’m back in Los Angeles now. All is good. I know and accept this city’s weaknesses. After fleeing them, I now embrace them, thanks to three years in F#cking Florida.

Instead of a four-bedroom house next to a lake, a teensy-weensy condo next to a busy street. S’okay—I can deal.

So, two nights ago, there’s a nasty smell coming from the wall under my sink. I grab my handy-dandy razor knife, open up that wall, and…POP! Spilling out from between the studs, rolling across my new black-and-white ceramic floor: WTF?!

Tiny white styrofoam balls, miniature gold metallic ornaments, and plastic acorns and hazelnuts. Huh? And, mingled in among these: Very small, thin…brown…beads?

NOO-OO-OOO!!!

The f#cking rats have not only followed me, they’ve brought TOYS!! And decorated for Christmas. Before I did! Damned arrogant bastards!!

Well, I showed them. I spent the rest of the night wrapping tiny gifts and placing them inside the wall before sealing it up again. Then went to bed to sleep the sleep of the just.

Merry F#cking Christmas, Ratties. Enjoy your presents.

Nummy, nummy!

Nummy, nummy!

Addendum:

The ratties had accessed my otherwise-entirely-isolated between-stud space by crawling up a water-pipe from the downstairs unit. But blame my very-clean neighbor not: There is a lovely-but-untrimmed Italian cypress some fool planted right next to our building—a favored home to So. Cal’s endemic roof rats. As long it remains tall and untrimmed and the ratties can leap unhindered across it, we residents will have to remain on High Ratty Alert.

And: Before sealing up that wall, I poked some spikey-sharp metal stabby stuff down around that pipe and sealed it, for the ratties, and poured a whole mess’o boric acid on all cross-pieces, for any potential future buggies. Take THAT, Mother Nature! (You b#tch.)

Last: Am NOT filthy pig who lives in hovels! Am scrupulously clean person who some have called neat freak, living in a complex considered moderately upscale by the rest of Los Angeles (“crap” by snooty Westside standards, but eff them).

CREDIT

Thank you to the News Bureau of Illinois (my home state : ) for its article on elderly singing rats, from where I obtained the audio clip, and to Professor Aaron Johnson and his team at the University of Illinois, who are doing the research re: them. Link:
Singing Rat Research May Help Voice Problems in Elderly Humans

2014-02-24–Restored ratty gift pic, which had dispppeared for unknown reason.
Added intro line and excerpt, audio clip, and “neat freak” comment. Was tired of assumptions.

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