So my first real job was at this video rental store, and the boss used to keep a collection of rare giant snakes in his office. He had his gun collection, which he also proudly displayed in the office, and the snakes. Which weren’t phallic at all.
Rats were needed to feed the snakes. Bunnies could also be used, but mostly rats. Our floor manager, Judy, took care of the rats, which were kept in a glass cage under the shrink-wrap machine. Judy was a very rational soul not prone to emotionality or over-sentiment, which made her a top-notch video store manager. But she kind of took a shine to the rats. Over time, she began to pick which rats were going to not get eaten by the snakes.
No, she never made a conscious decision to save this rat or that…she just kind of never fed them to the snake. And maybe combed their hair once in a while.
But while some rats are chosen, others choose themselves. Which was the case with Speedy.
One day, a rat managed to unlock the top of the cage and squeeze out. He then took up residence within the whole of the video store itself, once in a while running out onto the floor during store hours in full view of all the customers.
Dubbed “Speedy,” this rodent quickly became a local celebrity within the shop. People would wait around to see if Speedy might pop out and make a mad dash from one shelf to the other. “Go, Speedy, Go!” was the refrain. What an inspirational story: the rat who saved himself from the snake.
I’m not sure how Speedy eventually got recaptured and was put back in the glass tank. But one thing was for certain: he had definitely made his place on Judy’s Protected List. This was one smart rat. And he probably had a lot of wisdom to impart to his fellow rat brothers and sisters as to the nature of the universe, considering all of them were raised in cages from birth.
About a half-hour after taking Speedy back to the cage, we heard Judy scream.
And so what happened was, all the other rats started eating Speedy alive.
There wasn’t even much blood, because they were eating Speedy so fast and so voraciously. They all just swarmed over his body like one undulating mass of white-and-gray hairy muscle, and stripped his flesh with tiny sharp white teeth. In the end, all that was left of Speedy was his feet and tail, still attached to a shrunken patch of fur.
Judy was devastated. As she pulled on a pair of yellow rubber gloves to remove what was left of Speedy, she growled,