“Found another human today,” the first rat said to the second, both staring straight ahead, unblinking. They were sitting in a small hole in the wall called Chedderz. The place wasn’t as good as Rodent Haven, but the service was all right and the cheese wasn’t too moldy--usually.
Plus it was vintage. Not too many establishments used cardboard boxes anymore. Not since the water started seeping through the fluffy hair of the slanted sky.
“Oh yeah?” the second rat said. He took a stiff sip of stale water from a cracked plastic mug. Behind the rats, a few flies were crawling along the floor of the bar, searching for discarded tidbits and trying to lick up some of the spilled milk or water that festered in between the splintered floor cracks. “What are you using for traps?”
“Nothing traditional,” the first rat said. “I found it down below. It’s too big to bring back up but it works. I call it The Sapien Surprise.”
“That’s a funny name,” the second rat laughed. “How does it work?”
“You set it up, anywhere you want, and bait it. You can use anything from human money to beer. They walk into the trap--it’s shaped like a human house--and wham! The front door closes and the entire trap fills with poison gas. The humans don’t even know what hit them.”
“Then what do you do with them?”
“Me?” the first rat said. “I just toss them onto a public rot pile. You really can’t eat them. I mean, it’s perfectly safe to do so, but the poison makes their meat taste bad. So I feed them to the cockroaches.”
“Is the trap reusable?”
“Yup. Just needs to be aired out. It even has a self-cleaning mechanism, in case the human has been in there for a while.”
“Traps sure have come a long way,” the second rat said. “I’m still using the old snapper models, where the bar comes down and crushes their necks. But the little bastards are getting wise. Smart critters, they are. Keep stealing the bits of cake off the basket and dodging the bar.”
“Yeah,” the first rat said, nibbling on a piece of toast. “The Sapien Surprise is a surefire tool. One hundred percent reliable.”
“How much do they cost?”
The first rat leaned over and told him.
“Jumping Fleas!” the second rat said, whistling threw his grimy whiskers. “Expensive, eh?”
“That they are. But it beats having to hear them crawling around during the day when you’re trying to sleep.”
“That’s true,” the second rat said, thoughtfully. “Maybe I should just dish out some coin and get one. I’ve been seeing human prints all over my nest and I just can’t stand the thought of them running around, doing who knows what.”
“I recommend it as a good investment,” the first rat said. “Since I purchased The Sapien Surprise, I haven’t seen a live human around my nest for days.”
“You sound like a damn commercial.”
They both laughed and took long swigs of their water.
“We’re closing up, boys,” the proprietor of Chedderz called out.
“Okay, that’s a wrap,” the first rat said, standing from his seat.
“Are you going to Ralph’s party tomorrow?” the second rat asked.
“I can’t,” said the first rat. “One of my kids has the plague. I have to get them dipped.”
“Oh, that’s too bad. Which one has it?”
“How the Hell should I know?” the first rat laughed. “I have so many kids, I can’t keep track of them!”
“I know what you mean.”
They stepped out into the tunnel in front of Chedderz.
“Well, you have yourself a good one,” the first rat said.
“Same to you,” said the second rat.
They then both went their separate ways down the filthy tunnel.