I may be speaking too soon here but I believe I’ve finally won my battle against the rats of Celanese.

Well actually it’s just A rat. One specific rat that until now has terrorized my home.

Here’s the backstory: I’ve written a couple columns chronicling my trials and tribulations with what I believe to be a single solitary rat that lives inside the walls of my house and comes out late at night. I do not enable this rat in any way. There is no food left out, no trash sitting around and my house is kept pretty clean most of the time. But most mornings I’d find little rat droppings in the corners of the house AND the worst part is that in the dead of night I’d be awakened by the sounds of scratching and scrabblings in the walls, which is both terrifying and absolutely frustrating.

I even saw it once racing across the kitchen floor when I turned the light on. Needless to say at that point I was ready to burn the whole house down.

So I tried snap traps and live cage traps. People called and emailed me to give me tons of advice on how to get rid of the rat, but nothing worked. I tried baiting it with peanut butter, dog food, candy bars and someone even suggested chorizo (seasoned pork) so I tried that as well. To no avail. I figured I had the smartest rat in Rome who could elude any trap or bait.

I had refrained from using poison because I didn’t want the rat to eat the poison and then die somewhere in the walls where it would stink to high heaven for two weeks.

Finally, after trying another round of traps and using wet dog food as bait. STILL no luck, I had had enough. So I marched my butt over to the yellow store (some of you may know it as the Dollar General) and bought three traps that have poison inside them. There’s a hole the rat needs to get into so it can get to the poison.

I put a trap out one night and as soon as it got dark I could hear the trap moving around on the hardwood floor. So I figured I had him. But lo and behold the hole in the trap was apparently too small for my giant rat. The trap had been moved across the floor but the little block of poison hadn’t been touched.

So I removed the cover and left it open. Well the following night I heard a tussling and a scratching out in the living room where’d I’d left it. I figured the rat was eating some of the poison. I woke up the next morning and the trap wasn’t even in the living room. It was in another room of the house. That dang rat had dragged the whole trap and instead of just nibbling at the poison, he had taken the entire block.

I thought that was the end of it. He went back into the walls and probably died in there somewhere. But just to be sure I opened another trap two nights later and left that one in the kitchen. Lo and behold the exact same thing happened again. The entire block of poison was gone. Was my rat so big and strong that he had eaten 2 large blocks of poison before finally succumbing? Or was there another rat that had taken the second block?

As a precaution I left out the third block of poison and after several days it still hasn’t been touched. So I hoped against hope that my giant Celanese rat didn’t have any family members and he alone was dead within the walls of my house, having eaten enough poison to take down a cow.

But it’s been more than two weeks now since the first block was taken and there’s been no smell. Surely the poison would have worked by now and he’d be dead, right? The weather is warm enough that if there WAS a dead giant rat in my house it would smell, right?

The only problem is I haven’t found any more droppings and I haven’t heard any movement within the walls. So I am going to speak this into existence — I want to believe that my rat has gone to his glory. Sunrise, sunset. But if all dogs go to heaven then where do rats go? Mine wasn’t evil per se. He never harmed me in any way other than scaring me, so I suppose in the grand scheme of things he was a good rat as far as rats go.

But now I feel like I’m left with more questions than answers. How many rats were there after all? Did my rat have a family? Were they with him at the end? Or did he slink off somewhere and die alone with no one to mourn him? OR Is he still there, having built up an immunity to the poison, getting stronger and bolder and biding his time before he emerges in the dead of night to murder me in my sleep ... Only time will tell.

Severo Avila is Features Editor

for the Rome News-Tribune.