Fish? Fungus? I had no time to identify the source; I grabbed a dry erase marker and rushed off to my first class.
I returned at 10:50 or so, noticing Rebel Girl down the hall. She had not yet entered our miasma. Natch, it was still stinkin’. Soon, the Reb entered, whereupon I said, “It’s funky in here. Don’t know why.” She crinkled her nose. “It stinks in here,” she said. “Fish?” She started poking around. “Why would there be fish in our office?” she said.
I too got up and looked around. I soon found what appeared to be an amorphous pile of rat nesting, plus assorted rat turds, in the corner, just below our office window (which is sealed shut, but that’s another story). It was kind of dark back there and the “nest” was gray with hair or something, so I really couldn’t make out much.
“Looks like a rat’s nest,” I said.
The Reb was horrified. “A rat’s nest?!” she exclaimed.
Off I went to a restroom to grab seven or eight paper towels, an ersatz prophylactic. In the meantime, the Reb had gone down the hall, no doubt alerting friends to our entertaining post-holiday predicament. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor rat-in-office fails to amuse the Reb, our little hamlet's town crier.
Upon entering the empty office, I reached down behind my desk with my left arm, then semi-blindly covered the “nest” with my paper-protected paw. To my surprise, my hand clutched, not a fluffy nest, but some dense material, with weight. I sensed no movement. I pushed down hard into the carpet and grabbed around the entity, pulling it up. It was stuck to the floor some but gave way.
I looked at my catch: it was a big dead rat avec maggots. Weren't no nest at all. No sir.
I immediately registered thankfulness that the Reb had chosen that moment to leave the office. Off I went out the door and out of the building, unnoticed. I attempted a nonchalant stroll toward the trash receptacle twenty or so feet north of the coffee truck, which was crowded with customers. In it went. Nobody noticed a thing. Result!
After a careful washing of hands (lots of soap and hot water), I returned to my office, whereupon I encountered two or three maintenance workers who had somehow been alerted to the situation. They scrambled for vacuums and sprays and descended upon the hideous corner, which, I’m told, still sported residual maggotry and turds. The Reb and I decided to wait at the nearby faculty lounge while these heroic workers took care of business, which they did with great speed and efficiency. Hell, they even unscrewed our window, and slid it wide open! They wished us well and took off.
I must say, these guys did a great job. It was service with a smile! After an hour or so, the air in our office was near normal. Whew!
Tomorrow, when you buy your coffee at the coffee truck (just south of the Admin Building), be sure to visit the trash receptacle on the corner.
If it’s seriously funky around there, well, it ain't the donuts.