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Mr. Wrong

The City That Should Kill All the Rats

By Joe MacLeod | Posted 7/11/2001

It seems like nobody in this city cares about killing all the rats anymore. I mean, I used to see the Rat Rubout truck driving around and I'd be like: Yeah, the Rat Patrol. . . . Outstanding. . . . Kill All the Rats. . . . One fucking thing in this city everybody can get behind, maybe even the PETA types: Kill All the Rats. . . . No downside to Killing All the Rats in Baltimore, U.S.A. . . . They are full partners in pestilence . . . one of the Seven Deadly Sins . . . or the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame . . . or something all creepy and religious like that where everybody gets the Black Death. . . . Rats are Bad.

. . . Kill the tiny rats where they stand. . . . They gots the Bubonic Plague. . . . They bite little kids. . . . They eat garbage and don't clean up after themselves. . . . They are actually vermin . . . you could look it up in the dictionary and everything . . . friggin' vermin. . . . They are way less entertaining than sea gulls and do not help with the Tourism Effort . . .

When I walk out into the alley to get into my car, I always look around for the rats. They're out there, crawling around in the garbage, smooshing their nasty gray-furred asses underneath garage doors, peeking out of their little fucking ratholes. Actually peering out of a hole named after their own species or genus or phyla or whatever the fuck it's called for Rattus whatevericus, the kind that live in The City That Should Kill All the Rats, Right Fucking Now, No Fooling Around.

I got my car towed once because the gaping asshole who lived around the corner from me had some kind of deal going with the tow-truck guy. He'd watch all the cars on the block and call the traffic cops to get tickets written and cars towed away to that godforsaken Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome car lot they got out on Pulaski Highway. You're on the fucking bus to go get your car, and it's like Burger King . . . hooker standing out in broad daylight . . . Taco Bell . . . strip joint . . . pornography store . . . another strip joint . . . pit beef . . . the place where they are holding my car hostage. This is the one where you have go through this creepy underpass as you are driven out to the lot to free your machine, and if you don't move quick enough to ransom your wheels, they sell 'em out from under you the first Wednesday of every month. Anyway, I left my fucking Mercury Montego MX Brougham (a beautiful ride: beige vinyl top, landau irons, front bench seat with arm rests, independently adjustable map lights, the whole deal) in the same spot on my street for three days in a row, and the dirty bastard around the corner got me towed, and I got an abandoned-vehicle ticket as the cherry on the ice cream sundae of my day. Dirty, dirty bastard.

Anyway, I go to get my car out of jail, and the lady tells me they tow cars away in the city for standing too long in one spot because the fucking rats hop up on the wheels and get inside the trunk or under the hood and set up housekeeping. Jesus Christ, I'm thinking, is it possible this lady knows that I at one time had a, uh, vermin situation in the MX Brougham, the time I left it in a garage without driving it for more than a year and mice got all up in it? I got the car out of the garage and I'm driving around with the windows rolled up, and there was this . . . smell. I couldn't figure it out and I couldn't drive it without keeping the windows cracked open (which sucked, because it was February), otherwise I'd start gagging and doing air-heaves. I finally pulled all the seats out of it, and there were generations of mouse corpses in the Brougham, and some of them were recent enough to be in the realm of my olfactory senses. So then I started waxing paranoiac about all the diseases I probably contracted being locked up in the MX Brougham with all those rotting Mus musculi vermin, like maybe cholera, rabies, trichinosis, tularemia, Pasteurella pneumotropica, typhoid fever, typhus, bubonic plague, food poisoning, jaundice, Lassa fever, leptospirosis, salmonella, and maybe hantavirus. But I feel pretty good now.

So look, I hate rats and so should you. The only good rat is a dead rat, or maybe possibly a pet rat, because I read in the Rolling Stone magazine about Angelina Jolie, who is a famous wacky Hollywood movie star who has a pet rat, and I got the feeling from the article about the knives and all that crap that maybe she's a little fragile, so by all means let her keep her pet rat, as long as she promises to keep it in a cage or on a leash or whatever the fuck you do with an animal that's supposed to be crawling around in the charnel-house scene in every fucking Frankenstein movie, but the rats out on the Mean Streets of Baltimore should die. Die, die, tiny vermin. Let's Kill All the Rats.

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