The Evil that is the Rat Lair
It is located in the deepest, darkest place in the very heart of the barn. Underneath the pig-chow storage bin. Down where it smells like wet grain, festering and percolating with evil.
Professor Rattiarty, Whitewhiskers Billy, and Darktail Ralph were the only remaining rats in the gang. The cat was banished for now. And it was all right according to the ways of evil rats. You see, those three truly vile rodents had founded the gang, built the lair out of an old packing crate located under all the sacks of food and supplements. They had also all three participated in chewing out the tunnels through the wooden walls and sacks of feed.
“How do you know they built the place, Bobby? That’s not something that Horatio’s nose can tell by smell.” Shane squinted in mock suspicion.
“I just know it… okay? Horatio and me figured it all out a long time ago. Now, listen!”
Professor Rattiarty called the meeting to order with a snarl as the three were in a circle around the pan of strange green food that Darktail Ralph had discovered on the other side of a wall.
“It has the old grandfather’s smell on it. It is something he must’ve left in the barn,” said Ralph.
“Is it food? Can we eat it? Maybe it’s his lunch and he left it here for later,” said Billy.
“No, no. It is obviously poison,” said the Professor.
“How do you know? It smells like food,” said Ralph.
“Do you not smell something slightly off about it? It has a faint hint of strange potions they use around their wheeled things. It has the look and odor of things that proved to be poison before when the old man plotted against us.”
“Oh! In that case, we must not eat of it. Leave it where we discovered it. Maybe the old man will eat it himself.” Billy’s eyes sparkled as he knew he had to be right.
“The old man is not so dumb that he would ingest his own poison. He is much too careful for that. We just don’t eat it!” declared Ralph.
“Gentlerats, don’t misunderstand me… as you do so at your own peril… but we WILL partake of this poisonous food.”
“But why, Professor?” complained Billy.
“Because that is how we will defeat this trap. We ingest barely enough of it to make ourselves slightly sick. We will, in this way, make ourselves resistant to the poison over time. In fact, we made ourselves immune back in the old days.”
“But what if we get too much poison, by accident, say…?” Billy complained with hesitation.
“Then you will die a horrible, painful death,” sneered Ralph.
“But if you do make the mistake, dear William of the White Whiskers, you must drag yourself out of the barn where Horatio T. Dogg will smell you, pounce on you, and eat you.”
Ralph and the Professor both laughed. Billy was confused.
“Why do I let the dog eat me?”
“Because you will be full of poison in that case, and it will kill the dog,” sneered Ralph./
“Kill Horatio with the old man’s own poison!” crooned the Professor, his voice dripping with menace.
“Let’s dig in,” said Ralph.
“But slowly… carefully…” suggested the Professor. “You don’t want it to kill you if you can help it.”
“Very true,” said Ralph while crunching up the poison gingerly in his mouth.
“Ummm, this actually tastes good!” said Billy.
“Don’t eat it so fast you fool,” said the Professor.
“Wow!” said Shane to Bobby. “You tell that story like it was a cartoon show on TV.”
“Thanks, but it’s just the way Horatio told it to me,” said Bobby with a grin.