A hostage in my own home


To whom it may concern,

This morning I woke up with a bad feeling. I had a group presentation at 9 and upon checking my phone discovered one of my team members had fallen sick and I’d have to organise someone to cover her spot. I took out some of the angst with a new exfoliating mitt I’d purchased the day before, stepped out of the shower feeling clean and supposedly smelling like Manuka honey. I was running late so had to skip breakfast but I cut a piece off the brownie I’d left out to cool overnight, popped it in my mouth and raced out the door.

The presentation went well and even the girl that stepped in, at the last minute, aced it. I relaxed for the first time since Monday morning. The rest of my Friday was looking good, I hung out with my friend Annabel, I called my dad and let him know how the presentation went, had more brownie, and settled into a sunny spot in my lounge, not a care in the world, ready for an afternoon of Grey’s Anatomy, Brooklyn nine-nine and How to get away with murder. I took a break between B99 and HTGAWM to delve into one of those Youtube trips – the ones where you start by watching a cover of a Sam Smith song and end up on a video of Oprah Interviewing Justin Bieber on his then relationship with Selena Gomez. I was halfway through Justin explaining that his fans understand that he can’t be single forever when out of the corner of my eye I saw it.

A black, furry beast, with a tail as long as my woes, runs from the top of the stairs straight behind the couch opposite me.


My body went into what I can only describe as shock. I was hot and cold, all at once and the scream that left my body would give any final girl a run for their money. I panicked. Now before you judge me, I’m not one of those girls who has never been camping and is scared of the wilderness. But when you’re going camping you’re mentally prepared…and there’s bug spray and torches. I was in the comfort of my living room with nowhere to hide. The door to my four storey flat was locked and I was acutely aware this vermin was stuck in my house, with me. It also hit me that I was home alone and my flatmate doesn’t return until tomorrow afternoon.

Naturally, I grabbed my phone, momentarily considered dialling 111 but decided my dad would have to do. My dad roared with laughed for a solid 5 minutes. I should probably also mention my dad lives in Melbourne. I have now also learnt that I don’t operate as well under pressure as I would’ve liked to think. The rat, disturbed by my scream and now very loud conversation with my dad decided to run, in slow motion, back out from the couch, and launch itself off the top step back down the stairs. In that instant, the rat and I knew this was the worst moment in either of our lives.

My dad’s unhelpful suggestion was to make friends with it. I called my flatmate next, standing on my couch, in case Ratchet the rat decided to reappear. She told me to remain calm, she returns tomorrow she assures me, the rat is probably back in the garage where it was hiding. She suggests I call an exterminator to organise a visit as soon as possible.

I looked up the number for Rentokil. Supposedly New Zealand’s leading pest control company I knew they’d be able to help. I was wrong. The website, although very tidy and mobile friendly unfortunately also offered me facts about rats and why they are dangerous. Did you know that rats are a health risk to humans? Apparently, they also carry diseases such as cryptosporidiosis, tuberculosis, E.Coli and Salmonella. YAY.

Considerably more panicked I called Rentokil only to be greeted by their after-hours operator. I don’t know who this lady is, but for the first 5 minutes I felt like I’d accidently called a friend’s house and their mum picked up.


Operator: “Hi..welcome to Ren-toe?-kill, how may I help”.

Kethaki: “Hello, I’ve just witnessed a rat run across my living room…is there any chance of getting someone to my house and can I get a rough idea of…”

Operator: “Look I don’t know. This is the after hours line but I can take a message from Brent”.

Kethaki: “Who is Brent?”

Operator: “Brent might get back to you over the weekend but I’m not sure. Rentokil operates Monday –Friday. Would you like to leave a message?”

Kethaki: “Yes please”

Operator: “Did you say it was a rat?”

Kethaki: “Yes a rat”

Operator: “Ok, I’ll just say rats because there’s probably more than one”

Kethaki: !!!!!!!!!!!

Operator: “Well thank you for calling”

My next call was to Annabel. I couldn’t go downstairs to get out of my house, the garage door was still open and the rat could come up at any time. Annabel also laughed but knowing that I would never leave my house said she would come over with a mouse trap and save me. What felt like a lifetime later, but was in actuality only 15 minutes she got into my house using the keys I threw at her from my room on the third floor. Like an expert Rentokil wish they had working weekends, she put some peanut butter on a trap, explored the garage, rescued my laundry from the garage, set the trap and closed the garage door – saving me from Ratchet the rat. I, however, read on the Rentokil website that rats can get through spaces as small as 1cm so am I really safe? Is anyone really safe?

Feel free to follow @kethakim on Twitter for any Rat updates. Rentokil, if you’re out there, please send Brent.


UPDATE: Ratchet was captured and is no longer with us.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s