As you all may well know, I pay a weekly visit to Steelhead's most famous rodent, Willard the Jail Rat. Who else knows criminality better than someone used to society's underbelly? Besides, it helps improve my Rodentspeak. He finally told me his two middle names and his last one, but he says he has a reputation to maintain. He has a tendency towards being long-winded, but I threatened him I would bite him if he did that to me again, so he told this one instead:
"Well, there was me 'n' this ol' ship rat named Rattus..." he said.
"Rattus? Well, that's rather original..." I started to say.
"Don't start, ya rude feline, and lemme finish already," he said, his dark beady eyes glaring at me. I raised my paws in resignation.
"Anyways, there was this ol' ship rat named Rattus. He was always talking about how big 'n' bad he was, how the humans didn't scare him at all and how he had no fear. I was practically a pup, off on my first adventure on a clipper. Ahh, it was a rat's life! Gnawing on things, climbin' the ropes, eating hardtack, being out in the fresh salty air, gnawing on things..."
"I do believe you said that already Willard."
He sat up on his haunches and looked at me. "Whaddid I tell ya cat?! You wanna hear this or not?"
"Oh, for God's sakes! FINE!" I started muttering to myself.
"Well, me 'n' Rattus an' some of the other ship rats hopped off when we reached the port and made our way to a dancin' hall, where the humans like watching the female ones in their fancy wear--what there was of it on 'em. It's usually good eatin' for us there. Rattus yells to the rest of us 'Watch this!' and runs out on the stage. The females all start screamin' and runnin' around. We're all laughing until this female comes out with a huge broom. You see his eyes get all scared and he cowers. In a flash, the big'un steps on his tail and starts whacking him with a broom. He's curlin' up a ball screamin' 'Nooo! Ow! OW!" over and over again and the rest of us are on the side laughin' as this big human is whackin' him over and over again. Somehow he gets himself free and runs off to where we are. He's all bruised up and his fur was all roughed, but you know what he said to us?"
"Do I really want to know, Willard?" I said, yawning.
"Yeah, ya do! He ran over to us and said 'I sure showed her!'"
At this, Willard keels over, convulsed with laughter. It took everything I had not to bite him anyway. Rat humor...I swear.