THE RAT'S TALE
55 days ago
This is a true story that happened in London to a friend of mine in London - but told this time by the rat!
Rat strolled down Lady Margaret Street. Another quiet, wet Monday night. The local fast-food shops were closed and the bins had been emptied that morning. Rat sighed, sat on his haunches, and cleaned his whiskers with his little front fee. He looked to the right, he looked to the left. Not much going down tonight. Not even a decent alley cat to give him a run for his money.
Cats! That's what he'd do. You could always be guaranteed a decent meal if you stopped off at a cat's place. He looked to the right, he looked to the left. Number four. That's where he'd go. He'd heard that they fed their cats on that posh cat food. Not the nasty, hard kibble, but sachets of lovely soft easy-to-digest food. At his age, he had to think about his teeth. They weren't what they used to be back in the day. Then he'd been able to tackle just about anything, and anyone, come to that. No fun getting old.
He trotted down the footpath, glancing up at the house numbers as he went. Word was that number four is easy to enter. There was a rat-sized gap by the kitchen door that had never been filled in properly. The standard of builders nowadays. He slowed down. There it was, number four. Lights out in the kitchen but one on in the living room. He'd just nip in while those pesky cats were watching TV. He never saw them out in the street. Too posh to mix with the likes of the street cats. The old one would be a pushover, but that younger one, well...
Rat pressed his body flat and squeezed under the gate. Round the side next. Ah, there it was - the pipe. It was times like this when he was glad he'd taken care of his body; kept it fit swinging on bird feeders and taking his evening constitutionals. He took a deep breath and let it out as he slid through the gap. But it wasn't as easy as he'd thought. He wished he hadn't eaten that Snicker bar last week, the one the kid next door dropped. One Snicker bar could make all the difference to a rat's ability to get himself in and out of tight spots.
He was in! All quiet apart from the sound of the TV. Was that barking? What was it with humans and their obsessions with dog programmes? Why didn't they ever have anything on rats? Such noble, intelligent creatures.
Hello, what was that? Kibble. That wasn't on. The wretched cats must have finished the soft stuff. He leant over the bowl and began crunching the nasty, hard little lumps of reconstituted rubbish. It was too bad KFC was closed on Mondays. A much better class of nosh there.
As he chewed, stopping from time to time, to lap up milk to help get the kibble down, he became aware that he was not alone. Drat, it was the darned cat. And not just one cat; two of them. Better stay calm. Keep chewing. Act cool.
The two cats sat side by side, only a few feet from him, their green eyes glinting.
Would they? Could they? Nah. Too fat, too old. Although that white one looked as though it could be a problem. Best thing was to carry on. If he ran, they might have a go at him. He finished eating, sat back, licked his paws, and began cleaning his whiskers. Dead casual. Then everything went crazy!
A female two-legs opened the kitchen door, turned on the kitchen light and screamed! Cats flew everywhere. Rat spun round. Which way had he come in? The two legs grabbed a broom. Rat scuttled round the edge of the kitchen cupboards and out through the door into the living room. Bother, he didn't know the way out of there. Hold on. What's that in her hands? Two legs brought the broom down hard, but luckily it missed Rat's head. No need to get nasty.
Then he saw it. She'd opened the front door. He was off. As he squeezed back under the gate, less easily than before, he turned back to look. She'd slammed the door and stood, holding the two cats, peering through the glass panel on the door. The cats swished their tails and hissed at him. Oh, brave enough now, aren't you? For love of all vermin, he was only a rat after all. He really didn't deserve such a send-off.