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hvysmker
September 17th, 2014, 10:28 PM
I was in my apartment, working on a story about the changes in webbing from ancient times for the Spider Review Magazine. I wasn't overly worried about the deadline because I expected to be paid with a couple pounds of old webs, but I did want to finish it.

I noticed movement at Oscar's rathole along with banging and cursing. A furry head appeared and smiled. Oscar scampered inside, dragging a square object behind himself. It was a plastic DVD box.

"Hi Oscar." I asked, "Where you been lately?"

“I was making a rock n' roll video," he told me.

That was his answer. A rock and roll video? He pushed the disk toward me then jumped up to the table and helped himself to my pizza.

Oscar motioned for me to pour him a drink. I keep a deep saucer on the table for that purpose. I've found that though he can pull a beer can down to drink from it, the excess spills over the table and onto the floor. A saucer is neater.

I thought he must be kidding me. I never know when to believe that guy. After a sip of beer and two bites of pizza, he sat up, cocking his head with whiskers quivering. He seemed to be waiting for an answer.

I tried, but could never stare him down, not with those unreadable beady eyes of his. I had to give in. "I thought you hated that crap?"

"You're thinking of human rock and roll, not rodent rock and roll."

"What's the difference?"

"One's done by rodents, stupid."

"So?"

"So play it and see." He shook his shaggy head. "Stupid humans. Can't think for themselves."

Angry, I slammed the DVD into my computer and clicked the correct buttons.

The thing started with a shot of three squirrels wearing huge pairs of fake balls jumping up and down on a pillow. Along with the picture, a blast of weird static hit my ears. Then the squirrels seemed to pee on the audience — a crowd of mice that Oscar probably hired for the occasion. Yep. I could see Maurice Mouse in the first row.

"Can't you get that static out?" I asked. "I won't be able to hear the music.”

“Turn the sound up. That is the music."

About that time, I recognized a small tear at the edge of the pillowcase on the screen. Reaching over, I grabbed at my own bed. A tear was at the same place on MY pillow.

"Yeah, Charlie, old buddy. My wife wouldn't let me film it at my place, so I used yours. You weren't home."

"You let squirrels pee on MY bed?" I sniffed the round object I'd recently been lying my head on. It smelled like lilacs. So that was why I dreamed I was lost in the woods last night. "You bastard."

"I sprayed it with deodorant," Oscar said, as though that made it alright.

"You let squirrels pee on MY pillow?" I repeated. "I was sniffing deodorized squirrel pee all night."

"Well, that and...." He pointed at the screen where the Meescowski kids from downstairs were cavorting and gallivanting on the object in question, dropping mouse turds and stomping them into the pillowcase.

"Uh. It's okay," Oscar said. "I turned the case inside out after the show."

"Out."

"Out? What's out?"

"You. Out, before I wring your ratty neck. Out." That last was a scream.

In a gray flash, he was gone, back to the hole from whence he'd come. A squeaky voice came from the hole in my baseboard. "It's okay, Charlie, old buddy. I got other copies."

I shit-canned not only the DVD but both pillow and case, then nailed boards over the rathole. After that came various rat traps set around the apartment. Also, in case I did catch that rodent, I filled out mailing labels to Saudi Arabia and the Antarctic continent. I figured sending half of him to each location would solve my problem.

Two weeks later, while writing a lighthearted article on the emergence of nanoscience and engineering in aardvark technology for the AntEater Times news magazine, I was rudely interrupted by a noisy incoherent video clip on the Fox News Network. Naturally, it was Fox.

Glancing at my television set, I jerked upright. I saw Oscar's adopted daughter, Nancy Skunk. She was wearing a diaphanous green nightgown, white-striped tail waving behind her while belting out some sort of noisy gibberish. Now, I know Nancy, and that she can't carry a tune in a burlap bag.

A band of mice stood behind her, beating on jar lids and strumming rubber bands.

Hands over my ears, I jumped up to hit the mute button on the remote. Stumbling back to a handy chair, I collapsed while shivering at the memory. Both TV and computer monitor were smoking. When I opened a window to let the stink of ozone out, I noticed the glass was cracked. And that was from an exposure of less than a minute.

When the narrator came back on the screen, I tentatively pressed the button again, hearing him say, "That was the new heartthrob, Nancia Sklunk. Would you believe this singing sensation is still in high school? Right now, Nancia is splitting her time between learning and singing for the band, ‘Rodent Revolt'." The TV personality grinned, holding up a DVD. When the camera zoomed in, I jerked upright again. My picture was prominent on one corner of the cover, smiling.

The narrator continued. "The title of that song is, 'Charlie's Flame.' You'll have to wait, though, since every store in town is sold out."

Oh, my God! I slumped to the floor, too shook up to make it to the bed and my new pillow. And, I thought, I hadn't even bothered to look closely at the cover when Oscar brought it over, simply threw the entire thing in the trash.

I spent the next couple of months in perpetual agony. It seemed as though all the radio stations and television channels echoed the thumping of can lids and strumming rubber bands, along with Nancy's off-key screeching. I couldn't enter a grocery or book store without hearing it.

Not only that, but I was forced to wear a wig, fake beard over my real one, and sunglasses. A few of Nancy's fans recognized me from that DVD cover. I can't knock the exercise, since I needed it anyway, but perspiration from all that running ruined my underwear and shirts.

Oscar was either busy or didn't dare come over. He did slip another of those damned disks under my door.

I ran it on my computer, with the sound off, to see what else was on the thing. There was, of course, the one Nancy sang while prancing on my bed. The rest of the DVD had also been shot in my apartment.

Anger rose to dizzying heights as I saw rodents fornicating in every corner of my pad, their snouts moving in silence with the sound turned off. They spit, peed, and crapped into kitchen containers, with Nancy apparently singing in every recorded song.

One groundhog from the sixth-floor, who I knew to be gay, screwed himself with the whiskey bottle I was drinking from at that very moment. Reflexively, I threw it against a wall and ran to the sink to rinse my mouth. Then, I roared at the top of my voice, bringing thumping from Elmer Elephant, who lived upstairs.

At the sight of Amy Squirrlie wearing a red bathing-suit top with no bottom, standing on my bathroom sink and ready to dive into the toilet, I pressed the "off" button on the video player.

I spent the night rolling around in bed and growling into the new pillow, mumbling, "Where the hell's that damned rat? I'll castrate the bastard."

It must have been three in the morning when I heard a weak knock on my front door. I opened it, finding a contrite-looking Nancy Skunk leaning on the door sill.

"I ran away from home, Uncle Charlie," she mumbled, hurrying past me while dragging a bag behind her. "I'm gonna live with you from now on."

"What about all that money from that damne.... From that, ugh, video?"

"Uncle Oscar's keeping it for me."

"He's ... what?" I was genuinely shocked. "You trust that rat with YOUR money?"

"Well, he does give me taxi fare for all those interviews ... and buys me hamburgers."

"And you get paid for the interviews, right? And he keeps that money ... forget it." Nancy's not the brightest stinker on the block.

Meanwhile, she unpacked and waited for me to get her bed-pillow out of my closet. She runs away from home at least once every month. Since that rat Oscar and his wife live at the end of the corridor, Nancy usually ends up staying with me overnight. In the morning, Malodor will come pick her up.

"Aren't you interested?"

"In what?" I got out the pillow for Nancy to sleep on, then went to the kitchen to pour her a saucer of milk.

"In why I ran away ... this time?"

"Yeah. Guess so."

"Aunt Malodor and my real mother won't let me make any more videos," she said. "They don't want me to be a good singer. Ain't I a good singer, Uncle Charlie?"

Ho'boy, I thought. "You've got a ... a ... unique voice, Nancy." And loud, I thought, and squeaky; sorta like a greatly extended mouth fart. I’ve never liked her real mother, Stinklee, but certainly agreed with her taste in music. "I'm sure they have their reasons, honey."

"Just wait and see, Uncle Charlie. At least I proved my music teacher's wrong. In a few years I'll be of age and can resk ... ressu ... resume my career."

"Guess you'll have to wait. And, just think. By that time, you'll be older and wiser." I hope, was my thought.

"Good night." She jumped up on my lap, reached her paws around my neck and kissed me on the cheek. "I'll see you in the morning." Nancy scurried over to her pillow. "You want me to sing you a lullaby before I go to sleep?" she asked.

"That's all right, honey. Not now. I have a full stomach. You go right to sleep." Whooo!

I had to wait awhile, myself, before going to bed. Good thing, cause a half-hour later the telephone rang. It was Malodor Skunk.

"Is Nancy there, Charlie?" she asked.

I looked into the bedroom, seeing the girl was fast asleep, fluffy tail curled under her head.

"Yep," I whispered into the mouthpiece. "What's going on?"

"Oscar tried to hide it from me. He knows I can't stand Rock n' Roll. When one of the girls at the tail-curling parlor told me, I almost went into shock. I'd heard that noise before, but never equated it with my Nancy."

"She's pissed, you know?"

"She'll get over it once she realizes that ratty hubby of mine won't share the profits with her — or me, for that matter. I haven't seen him for a week."

"Where's he at? I have a bone to pick with him, myself."

"I hope it's his head bone." She gave her special skunk-laugh. "He left a note that he's going on a special mission for the White House."

"I thought he was over that stuff when his pals, Dickie and Georgie, moved out."

"You know how personable that rat is. It took five tries and three ratholes into the Oval Office, but he got a job with Obama. He says the new President even patched Dickie's buckshot holes in the ceiling."

***

In the morning, Malodor came to get Nancy and I was left alone. About noon, I received another call.

"Hi, old buddy. You know who this is?" He must have heard either my heartbeat mounting or the soft but strengthening growl forming in my throat. "Wait, old pal. Don't hang up. I can explain."

I should have slammed the receiver down, but I'm a sucker for his explanations.

"Bet you can't figure where I'm calling from, old pal?" Oscar continued. "I'm in one of the tribal areas in northern Pakistan, in a Rat Commandos compound. Not only that—" he says, and I can hear booming sounds and automatic gunfire in the distance. Suddenly, there's a series of loud reports came over the phone. "That was close, Charlie, old buddy. Taliban aardvarks are shelling the place."

Despite myself, I'm impressed. "You said you can explain?"

"Sure. Easy, old pal of mine. It seems that I had a—" There came a series of booming noises, and the connection was cut. At first, I was frightened for my friend. Then it hit me. Oscar has a collection of old war movies. Knowing him, he could be faking ... probably was.

That's Oscar Rat for you. I'm still waiting for that explanation. Knowing Oscar, he's probably in a bar somewhere, spending Nancy’s money on a squirrel hooker and laughing his ratty ass off.

The End.
Charlie

LeeC
September 19th, 2014, 04:10 PM
I don't see much good satire, especially well-written pieces, about. My hat's off to you. Really imaginative, rounded, and right on to my perspective.

I'm not much at catching SP&G, so someone else will have to 'ferret' out such if present.

I can say that it read smoothly and vividly to me. What a gas :-)

My only nit might be that I didn't think the word diaphanous fit the overall tone, though it is the more technically correct adjective in this usage.


He says the new President even patched Dickie's buckshot holes in the ceiling.


Truly ingenious. I like the way your mind works :-)

"Life does not cease to be funny when people die
anymore than it ceases to be serious when people
laugh." ~ George Bernard Shaw

Write on please,
LeeC

hvysmker
September 19th, 2014, 11:31 PM
During Georgie W., reign, LeeC, I was an avid Bush Basher on writing and political sites. Oscar Rat and myself were unmerciful. Many of our stories lampooned him and Cheney.

Oscar had been appointed Rodent Advisor and Troubleshooter and had an office down the hall from Bush's in the White House. He made several trips to the Middle East for them, impressing the power of the US -- and US Dollars -- on native rodents. I have Oscar's transcripts and, even though they're top secret, will end up posting them here.

Charlie

LeeC
September 20th, 2014, 12:15 AM
Ah yes, those good old days :-) Up here in NH there's a fair proportion of still supporters. One day while in the company of several, I let slip a derogatory remark about their exalted C in C, and to this day they haven't forgiven me. Of course who am I to judge character. My favorite president was Ike, yet he was the one that got us (and me) into the Indochina quagmire. Much of my misgivings has to do with the people running the show over there though, and the misdirected opposition component stateside throwing their bags of excrement at returning enlisted men, many drafted.

I'm sure we've all had mixed experiences :-)

I almost fell out of my chair at your line I noted -- so deftly and obliquely executed.

Nor did I miss the appropriateness of your choice of anthropomorphic characters ;-)

Regards,
LeeC

Plasticweld
September 20th, 2014, 12:46 AM
Charlie very nicely done... very subtle. It will probably be difficult for younger readers to pick up on your satire.

Surprised you stopped with Bush and don't do any Obama satire.It would be easier for those who are at least paying attention the news today to get some of your humor. Hard to believe how much time has passed and how quickly

hvysmker
September 20th, 2014, 07:50 PM
Many thanks for replying, LeeC and Plasticweld.

I dunno, Lee. My understanding is that a treaty between the Allies after WWII, I forget the name, required both France and the US to accept joint receivership over Vietnam.

It being a former French colony, the US bowed out of administration by giving a few million a year to the cause. In that light, we WERE involved in that war from the start, along with France. When they left, it WAS our responsibility. Of course, Ike was in office at the time.

Oh, and Plasticweld, I did put another Oscar Rat story up today where Obama is lampooned. I don't screw with him as much as with Bush because I have more respect for him.

I believe Obama is, or was an idealist when he entered the White House, but is forced by political realities to be more pragmatic. I no longer dread to see news reports every morning, fearing we're in another useless war.

Charlie