Saturday, June 01, 2013

From an Old Writing Group

Simone Rat had found free government housing. Her nest behind the walls of the East Wing secreted a collection of toothpicks, a few bow ties, and her big prize from when the King of Yugoslavia had misplaced his crown. She made her nest in its cozy velvet and from that day on must always be called Queen.

Her life had begun as a baby (of course) rat in Texas, where she got boxed in with a bunch of dolls and fishing boots  of a president-elect's daughter. By the time she chewed her way through the box, Simone was able to nest in the aforementioned walls, invited by the native W.H. rats.

Needless to say they all had little ones; so every now and then an attempt was made with traps et cetera. (The White House housekeeping isn't so clean as you would assume.) One day a reporter spotted the pest control truck; and the questions at the daily briefing caused the Press Secretary to sweat;  you could see him gleaming in the hot lights.

Predictably enough, cartoons began to appear, and Jay Leno's monologue made fulsome use of ratting out, not giving a rat's ass, and other expressions unpopular in the actual rat world. A Congressional committee then called for more exterminators; but hysterical animal-rights activists obtained a restraining order.

The next news cycle leapt on a leak that Simone Queen Rat was actually white!--a former classroom pet that the president's daughter was supposed to take care of over Christmas break. The scientific community thereupon issued statements about Simone's importance in research. Op-ed columns appeared about My Rat Squeaky and so forth. "Point of View" guests wondered, Would there be a fuss if non-white rats were exterminated? And why, asked the Reverend, in his hoarse accents, was the white rat the Queen? A rainbow coalition picketed with signs reading, "rat-ial equality" and so forth.

The small brouhaha was enlarged by a political consultant for rat information management who for some reason opined that rats hadn't been mentioned in the Bible.  In addition, a cabinet member let slip into a live microphone the term "vermin," further annoying animal ethicists. The Bible remark meant the the animal rights ethicists and rainbow coalition were joined by the religious. The News Hour had on a Jain in a beard and a big turban along with a bald Buddhist nun who said these rodents might be reincarnation of the Teapot Dome crowd or the Truman administration. But a scientist on a screen hovered over them, claiming DNAshowed that some of the colony had been there since the Civil War: the famous "Lincoln Rats."

The political consultant recanted and said the rats were in the Bible, on Noah's ark in fact. The cabinet member apologized for the species -specific slur. The Press Secretary announced the extermination "plot" had tabled. A Congressional Committee began to investigate Simone's undocumented status, and the newspersons began interviewing each other about their feelings and opinions.

Simone tired of the limelight and opted for less conspicuous lifestyle, where she wasn't constantly asked to sell her story. (Well, she did sell it once; you saw the headline in the Inquirer, "Queen Rat Sings Like a Parrot.") When Simone and her friends and her comfy crown left in a laundry truck for Florida, the resulting jokes brought down the government.


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