The Phantom Rat

In Daily Annoyance, Silly Posts on March 17, 2007 at 3:37 am

The rainy season in Jakarta had brought many unpleasant happenings to Jakartans. Many lost their houses and belongings due to the flood, and even more got infected by diseases. The condition is somewhat contradictory to what my teachers taught me in grade school:

“Rain is good. It keeps our rice fields from drying up, therefore we’d get rice to eat everyday.”

How ironic it is, that when it rains too much, people couldn’t even get decent rice and had to sadly survive on instant noodles. I hope they teach today’s kids at school that, now.


I thankfully was not one of the flood victims. My house was safe from the flood, though the road leading to it was moderately flooded. And now, we got post-flood presents.


Mighty MouseYes, people. These creatures had been running everywhere inside my house. My mother installed three traps in the kitchen and somehow managed to catch a huge rat -we called it Mama Rat- and a smaller one who happens to be very annoying and squeaky. My maid who just loves to be the pest-control officer, killed three rats in total and from her doings, the rat population decreased intensively, leaving only one squeaky grey fluff who kept hiding… in my room.

This phantom rat leaves its trails of feces, footprints and makes a lot of noises everytime it runs around, rummaging for food. I’ve briefed Ms. Maid about this and she promised to do something about it.

Three weeks ago, I returned from the office, took a shower and spotted a glimpse of Phantom Rat as I got out of my bathroom. I, being the wimp I’ve always been, shrieked and threw my sandals at the shadow. It disappeared behind my wardrobe. Furious, I went looking for Ms. Maid. Even so, I asked politely.

“Ms. Maid, I thought you were doing something about the rat in my room. Seems that the rodent is still hanging around in there”
“Really? That’s strange because I did! I put a trap already.”
“With bait?”
“Yes with bait. I change the bait everyday

So are we feeding it now? I couldn’t help but to scream.

“Well the rat ate the baits but it didn’t get into the trap. That’s beyond my control”
“Did you try like… multiple traps?”
“I did”

I obviously couldn’t do anything much. That night I spent the night in horror, with a broomstick nearby, just in case The Phantom Rat climbs up to my bed.

There is, however, a reason for this particular rat to be addressed as ‘Phantom’ for none of this household members could catch it. I grew from being paranoid to being indifferent. I remember my boyfriend shrieking like a girl when he saw The Phantom Rat running from under the TV cabinet and disappeared under the sofa, as both of us were having Heroes marathon.


I merely turned my head to the direction he was pointing at, and said:

“Yeah. We’ve tried but none of us can catch it”
“I am not unhygienic. The rat is impossible to get rid of! If you look under the sofas and armoires, there are traps everywhere. What else do you want me to do? Chase a rat that is impossible to catch and ruin my weekend?”
“Oh lighten up. It’ll get hungry and it’ll die. It’s easier to catch when it does.”

Now that I look back on it, it is kinda ‘eew’.

Just now, I was browsing for new ballet flats when I heard the familiar cricketty crack noise from nearby. I’m not using my desktop computer, so I was on the floor, at the carpet with my laptop. A familiar eerie feeling of The Phantom Rat running accross the keyboard made me got up, and search.

And there it was. The Phantom Rat, unaware, munching paper at the corner of my room.

I turned into the maniac I once was and began throwing anything close in sight, with the hope of the objects thrown hitting The Phantom Rat in the right spots. When the throwing session was over, I tiptoed slowly to where my objects are thrown… and found…


Goddamn it. Phantom Rat, I promise I’ll get you.

Because co-existence is clearly not anymore an option.

  1. I was just thinking what kind of life a rat is experiencing everyday. It must be interesting :). We couldn’t co-exist with something primarily because we do not establish a good communication with the thing. Imagine, even if with a rat, we could probably leave peacfully together when it knows what we like and don’t like, and we know what rat like and don’t like, and respect each other…. btw jeng, any particular interest with purwokerto?

  2. Thanks for visiting me!! Sounds like things are pretty rough out there with floods. I can only imagine. My heart goes out to all of you. I worked on the hurricane clean-up for over a year. The devistation is all too real. I wish I could provide a magical blanket to cover all of the hurting and suffering one’s that are affected. I can only send my love, and am doing that. Please visit me again!!! Hugs!

  3. hey mbak…
    I remember having slightly the same experience before we renovated my parents’ home in Jakarta… true, it felt like we were feeding the rats!
    I think there must be something’s going on with Jakarta, the rats love it there…
    or there must be something with ur house…
    maybe renovating your house is a good way to get rid of those rats. coz after my parents’ home got renovated, we never found any rats inside the home anymore…
    lol… what a silly suggestion…

  4. great post 🙂

    btw, love heroes too!!

  5. put a snake in your room…… to eat the rat 😉

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