"RAT CRAP AND REVENGE"

by Lee Kolozsy 

 

Typical Florida winter fair and it’s a Saturday night with the usual crowd of farm boys (F.F.A. hats), gangstas (bling bling), and snowbird white punks on dope (designer threads, car alarm remote key chains, and cell-com-web phones).

 

Business as usual except the crowd in the rat show isn’t acting right. It looks to be entirely composed of rich kids (late teens) with too much money, too much free time, and too little sense. Not one to be judgmental, I merely observe all this and remain detached and could care less about how these people live their little lives. However, the fact remains that these punks were not acting right.

 

After years of living on the midway, you get a sense of rhythm, a feeling of what’s going on. Hard to explain, but if you’re with-it, I know you get it. You can tell when the punks are making some goofy play. When they’re up to some mischief. A good Carnie can sense trouble brewing. It’s in the wind. A great Carnie can change the wind direction. These clowns were definitely up to no good.

 

I had two pit shows[1] set up. The “ Giant Rat” and the “Giant Snake”. I had them arranged side by side (I usually prefer them at opposite ends of the lot but I was a one man show this week) with the entrances six feet apart. There I was in the middle grabbing tickets for both. I prefer to work for cash but the boss was so worried that I’d swing with a nickel that he cost us thousands.

 

The hour was peak and they were falling in like kids to school. A pattern had caught my attention. The rat show crowd was all alike. Very unusual, they were all contemporaries, a gang of well heeled snowbird teens. Plus they were acting squirrelly. It wasn’t the usual “That ain't a rat” and “ yes it is” and “ Then where’s his tail” type remarks going around the pit. Instead, there seemed to be a lot of hooting and guffawing and general vulgar jocularity underway.

 

I abandoned my post to have a look-see. I wasn’t disappointed… As I looked into the cage over these moron’s shoulders, I noticed a somewhat disturbing development.

 

The “ Giant Rat” (a mild mannered capybara who’s worst characteristic is the ability to produce an enormous amount of feces) was acting strangely!

 

The poor inoffensive (aside from the previously mentioned feces) creature was racing around the walls of the cage like a motordrome[2] rider putting a hardtail Indian on the wall! I mean this varmint was getting a workout !

 

And these louts were digging it big time. Most peculiar.

 

That’s when I spotted it ! One of these goofs had circled around back, and crawled under the truck the show is attached to, and was poking at my animal with my rake! Right through the cleanout chutes[3], scaring the hell out of my pet ! Interrupting the peaceful flow of events. Laying on his belly abusing my pal! With my rake! The unmitigated audacity, what gall….INDEED!

 

Something had to be done. I was pissed. My first impulse was to grab this fool by the ankles, pull him from under the truck, and pound his head into a junction box[4]. But good sense prevailed. I realized that if I fought this lad, I would have to fight his posse, and this would take time away from the swindling of marks and other important matters. Plus I was certain that at least one of these nematodes was underage and jail time is unappealing.

 

What was needed was an elegant solution. And that’s when the light went on! I had it! I ducked around back and jerked the handle on the rat cage dump valve. Two hundred and fifty gallons of reeking rat shit, rat piss and a small percentage of bleach obeyed the law of gravity and in a second flooded the area under the truck. By the time the stench got airborne I was back at my post. No one had noticed my absence.

 

Well it looked like “ swamp thing” coming around the corner! This poor S.O.B. had a turd hanging from his chin. His front was soaked and his back had axle grease stains (I guess from trying to levitate as the creek was rising), his face had a rather shell-shocked expression. His buddies were clueless, they had missed the play and had yet to catch on.

 

Time for me to patch the beef. “Hey pal, you weren’t laying back there when I flushed the rat’s commode were you? I do that every night at this time, man if I had known you were back there I’d a never pulled the handle, didn’t you see the keep out sign? Whoa man do you reek, it’s enough to gag a maggot, how you gonna get home, I’ll bet you ain’t riding with these guys….”

 

[1] “Pit Show”…Carnival or Circus sideshow attraction originally displayed in a pit dug in the ground, now in a construction designed to obscure sightlines.

 

[2] “Motordrome” Carnival thrill show where stuntmen ride motorcycles inside a large “wine barrel” and perform trick riding while glued to the wall by centripetal force.

 

[3] “cleanout chute” an opening at the bottom of a circus animal cage wagon where soiled bedding can be removed.

 

[4] “junction box” part of the carnival electrical system where high voltage electrical power is connected to individual rides and attractions.

 

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