Right Working Romantic Related Learning Friendly Healthy Legal Inspirational Unfiltered

Welcome To The Scenic Fire Swamp Library

, , , , , , | Working | March 4, 2022

For close to a year, thanks to extremely wet weather and other mad conditions, our tiny library, like most other homes and businesses on the block, was suffering from a rat infestation that would have tested the Pied Piper. As a former country girl, I was used to dealing with mice and even the occasional squirrel, but now I was in the big city and had no idea just how big — or smart — rats could be.

Our custodial department was dealing with the infestation, but it took a long time; as fast as they could get rid of one nest, a new collection of long-tailed travelers would come through and take over again. Also, the people who manage our money for such things are cheaper than Scrooge and insisted the custodians and librarians deal with the issue instead of getting in professional exterminators.

One of my coworkers, a very tall, muscular young man, came running upstairs with eyes as wide as pie pans.

Coworker: “There’s a little rat in the kitchen.”

Me: “What’s it doing?”

Coworker: “It’s stuck to the trap custodial put down. We have to call them to come and kill it for us.”

Me: “Okay.”

I went to my supervisor to report this and he confirmed that I needed to call custodial.

Custodial: “Oh, no. [Custodial Employee] deals with that. There’s no way I am coming anywhere near a rat. Not my job. Nope.”

[Coworker] and I discussed this and we agreed that, while we didn’t like the rats, we didn’t like thinking of a fellow creature suffering. Finally, I decided to do what I had seen my dad do with mice.

Me: “You’re sure it’s a tiny one?”

Coworker: “Oh, it’s a baby. You can get it without trouble.”

So, tapping my inner Indiana Jones, I grabbed a plastic bag and a copy of the Physician’s Desk Reference with the plan that I would simply scoop the glued-down rat into the bag and clock it over the head with the book. I know just how awful that sounds, but the things were using our reading room as their personal bathroom and we couldn’t have children’s programs as the darn things were actually coming out of the walls to join in on “The Wheels on the Bus.” It had to go.

[Coworker] and another coworker (because she had never seen a rat before) decided to accompany me.

We got down to our tiny kitchen and opened the door. An ROUS (Rodent Of Unusual Size) was standing bolt upright on the countertop, one leg glued to the paper, the rest of him more than a little free. When we walked in, he did the whole zombie hand thing while shuffling across the counter, growling and hissing. If we’d had a saddle, we could have sold rides on his back.

I am ashamed to say that I screamed, dropped the book, and dove for cover, followed by my two colleagues.  

The door slammed shut behind us, and when we went back, the rat had chewed itself free and disappeared down the holes for pipes. My second coworker turned to [Coworker] and shrieked:

Coworker #2: “If you claim that was a baby, I would hate to see a full-grown one!”

No idea about the size of this next rat, but I do know he was one of the Rats of NIMH.

Every day, we had to stop people from eating in the different rooms, but patrons have a way of sneaking food in without us seeing it. Teens, in particular, are amazingly resourceful.

Custodial was trying a new tack of setting up giant snap traps with peanut butter for lures. They came back the next day to find every trap snapped and the globs of peanut butter eaten. They couldn’t figure it out until they came to the last trap: beside it was a very sturdy chicken bone.

As near as they could figure, the rat in question had gone into the garbage upstairs where someone had disposed of a box of chicken in a wastebasket. It was clear from the scene that the rat had literally gone through the bones until it found a sturdy one and then gone round to snap all the traps shut.  

This third incident is the only time anyone had any use for the infestation.

The librarian was in a hushed argument with a rude patron who was on his cell phone, spouting all his personal business for the world to enjoy. He refused to take the call outside and kept putting his hand in the librarian’s face to stop her from talking to him.

Suddenly, as he was mouthing off at her, he fell silent, his eyes grew big, and he started to watch something walking (more likely scampering) behind her.

Librarian: “Is there a rat behind me?”

The patron nodded in horror.

Librarian: “Is it big?”

The patron nodded again.

Librarian: “Headed for the circulation desk? Yeah, there’s more where that came from. We’ve been warning everyone.”

Patron: *Into the phone* “Uh, I am going to call you back. I gotta leave. They got rats bigger than your Maltese here.”

And he was gone and never returned.

At long last, The Powers That Be finally caved and hired exterminators. By then, we had wasted over six months trying the Do-It-Yourself Approach. It was another six months before the exterminators finally followed all the signs and discovered a nest within the walls of the boiler room and finally got rid of them.

To this day, we have to fight to keep people from tossing food behind bookshelves or hiding trash. Why would you do that, especially when the wastebasket is right next to you?

Question of the Week

What is the absolute most stupid thing you’ve heard a customer say?

I have a story to share!