1) When you first suspect that you might have a rat problem, assure yourself that you don’t. That scrabbling sound is just the ‘house settling’ and it was probably you that ripped up that teabag last night when you were drunk.
2) When your housemates ask, ‘Did you hear that?’ or ‘Why the Hell are there tiny bite marks in these tortillas?’ shrug and say ‘Fuck knows’ and go back to watching South Park or talking about how you’re definitely going to wash the shower curtain this weekend or whatever.
3) That squeaking noise is probably the dishwasher.
4) Reluctantly admit that you might have a minor vermin issue. Invite a resourceful friend over to shove some bits of wood around gaps in the kitchen, then high-five each other and drink beer because the problem is now totally sorted.
5) Be completely indignant and dumbfounded when you continue to hear noises and find rat shit by the bread bin.
6) Receive a text from housemate saying: ‘Melon-sized rat is in cupboard. Calling in the pros’.
7) Call in the pros.
8) Sit around and drink wine and lament the £200 spent on pest control but be very smug about finally having the problem sorted and ‘really we didn’t have any choice’ and ‘London, eh?’
9) Two weeks later, hear familiar scratching noises. Rat problem or horror film opening plotline? Debate personal preference.
10) Repeat steps 1-5
11) Throw plates at the floor when melon-sized rat runs across your feet as you make toast.
12) Keep all doors shut. Only enter kitchen with a broom to hand. Shout at the cupboards, ‘I’M HERE NOW, SO FUCK OFF’. Punch every unit before tentatively opening cupboard doors. Fear an avalanche of rats pouring out and eating your eyes.
13) Throw shoes at the kitchen door as you watch TV in the lounge and hear them squeaking victoriously to one another. ‘Why won’t they just leave us alone?’ sobs one housemate uncontrollably. Scream ‘LOOK WHAT YOU’RE DOING TO US YOU RAT BASTARDS’ through the door, but don’t enter. Never enter. That room belongs to the rats now.
14) Eventually summon the courage to make a hasty dash into the kitchen. That Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference cookie isn’t going to eat itself. Nervously push the door open, and find a family of rats sat at the kitchen table, playing cards and smoking cigars. One of them is wearing your sunglasses. As they turn to look at you, whisper ‘sorry’, before backing out of the room and closing the door.
15) Call in the pros.