In a fast-food dumpster
there lived a family of rats. Not sly scuttling, fearful hide from view, thieving sneak about rats. No, these were comfortable well settled and well-off fast-food dwelling rats, quite large as rats go. Never in a hurry, they boldly greeted employees, evaded traps and lumbered along the Drive-thru lane beside lines of cars in broad daylight just to spite the humans who worked there, especially the manager, who hated them dearly.
"Damn rats!" Wayne often cursed.
Today he greeted me in a foul mood. "Damn rats! Had to refund another customer 'cause they saw one hobble along the curb -- Top o' the morning to you, casual as can be! -- and hop into the shrubbery right under the Drive-thru window as I took their money! Threatened to call the Health Department! Hate 'em, hate 'em, hate 'em! Damn rats!"
Call me insensitive, call me a jerk but I laughed. His Ahab attitude had become a topic with the crew. One, an aspiring cartoonist, drew a caricature of him in a long coat, harpoon in hand poised to strike, atop a giant rat, cursing, For Hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee!
-- and stapled it to the bulletin-board in the Break-room. Okay, she showed it to me and I posted it.
In truth I liked them, came to think them something as pets, store mascots. They were brazen bold and scrappy, just like the crew, who often bent rules in order to keep pace with business. Nothing that jeopardized health concerns -- but company SOP that wasted time. For example, if you make food to order, what is the need to mark an expiration time? I tried to make sure they did this only when we were being audited by a bureaucratic mid-level nobody. But I digress.
While taking out some trash, three rats stood on the dumpster
"Hi Chuck," greeted one.
"Hey Bert, Ernie, Monique." I put the trash in the well. "Stand aside please."
They moved aside as the compactor ram groaned across the well.
"Anything good in there?" asked Bert.
"Naw, mostly paper from the office. Which one of you did the parade march?"
Ernie raised a paw. "Dat was me! Was Wayne upset?"
"Oh yeah!" I watched them high-five. "You guys are gonna give him a coronary
"Serve him right," declared Monique. "He pepper-sprayed me!"
"That was two years ago."
She crossed her paws. "Never forgive him! Besides, he's fun to mess with."
"You be careful," I cautioned. "Don't want you to get hurt."
Bert waved. "Why we love you Chuck!"
"See you later."
"Later dude! And hey, noticed some expired
cheese this morning while Gary was putting the order away. Think you could throw it out later? Hosting a party tonight. Wanna impress this cute little vixen from across the street. She got some righteous tail! Thanks, Chuck. You're the best!"