I remember the moment I found out a rat was living in my apartment. I had woken up in the middle of the night to the sound of someone rustling in the kitchen. When I went to investigate, I saw a rat gnawing on my avocados.
“Those were three dollars per ‘cado!” I screamed.
The rat froze, dropped the overpriced fruit, then scurried off underneath the stove.
The next morning, I set several traps in the kitchen. I sprayed a banana with Windex, cut a hole in a milk carton filled with molasses, and taped a picture of Minnie Mouse to a bottle of Lubriderm that I coated with Gorilla Glue.
That night, I woke up to more rustling. I ran to the kitchen and found the rat in the middle of the floor. This time, he had snatched my entire box of Triscuits and was polishing off the last one. The poisoned banana hadn’t been touched, nor had the milk carton, and Minnie Mouse was unscathed.
“I’m calling pest control first thing tomorrow, so enjoy the Triscuits now, asshole,” I barked.
He stared at me with softness in his eyes. At first, I was frustrated, but then I felt empathetic. He obviously didn’t have a job, so he couldn’t buy his own groceries. The job market for rodents is extremely competitive, and that wasn’t his fault. I’d been there before, so I decided to help him out.
Over the next few months, the rat and I became super close. I named him Martin, and he was my new friend. We told each other secrets, talked politics, and we really bonded over Blink-182 (“All the Small Things” was our song, for obvious reasons).
I just couldn’t believe I had a friend I once tried to kill with poison.
One day when I was getting the mail, I noticed FedEx left a large box from Herbalife on my porch.
“I didn’t order this,” I thought. “Maybe it got delivered to the wrong address.” So I left the box on the front porch. When I checked a few hours later, it was gone. I figured maybe it belonged to my neighbors and they picked it up.
Every day for the next two weeks, an Herbalife package appeared at my door.
It didn’t make any sense. I asked my neighbors if were ordering it, but they said they had never even heard of Herbalife before.
It all started to make sense the day I saw Martin watching a woman drive away with an Herbalife package in the passenger seat.
When he went for a jog, I searched through his things and found a check written to him for $300 from a woman named Karen Bradshaw. The memo read, “Herbalife supply.”
That’s when I realized he had been running a pyramid scheme from under my stove.
Heated, I grabbed the box and went to the kitchen. I knocked on the stove and waited for him to come out.
“What the hell is this?” I asked. “Are you running a pyramid scheme for Herbalife?”
I continued. “After all I’ve done for you, this is the thanks I get? Using my home as your base to push product by lying to people? You’re not my friend. You’re a scam artist.”
He blinked again.
“I see what you were doing. You were building up my trust so that one day, you could get me involved in your little scheme too,” I said, holding back tears. “But you know what? It’s over.”
I opened the box and dumped the entire supply down the kitchen sink.
He was silent.
After a moment, he moved closer to me, and I thought he was going to apologize. Instead, he bit me, stole my entire loaf of rye bread, then scampered out the back door and out of my life forever.
It’s taken six weeks and three rounds of rabies vaccinations, but I’ve finally forgiven him. I hope wherever he is now, he’s snacking on a Triscuit with his feet up and bobbing his head to Blink-182.