by Rebecca McLeod
Rebecca shares with KRL another fun story from the perspective of her pet rats. This one is about Rat fatherhood.
The Boys Cage
Bluey: the alpha male of the Boys’ Cage and a new father. Overwhelmed by his new responsibilities.
El Dorado: a troublemaker but good at heart.
Spotty Boy: a neutered male rat with a mellow disposition. Loves his food bowl.
The Babies: Bluey’s unruly children, product of his relationship with the doe Willow.
Gonzo: El Dorado’s girlfriend, a hairless hermaphrodite rat.
Willow: A blue doe, mother of Bluey’s children. Uptight.
“This is not how ah envisioned spendin’ mah golden years,” mutters Spotty Boy, wincing as a baby rat chews experimentally on his tail. He yanks it away from the baby and sits on his tail to protect it from further assaults.
Bluey nods, but has his hands full bathing a struggling baby.
“Hold still you little varmint! Didn’t your momma teach you to take baths?”
The baby squawks in outrage as the bathing becomes personal.
“Stranger danger! He’s touching my personal areas!” The other babies stare and whisper in shocked tones.
“Oh hush, I’m your dad not a stranger and you need a bath something fierce!”
The little creature struggles away and stands, firmly asserting his dignity.
“I growed up. I don’t need baths.”
From the other side of the room where the Maternity cage still houses Willow and seven female babies, Willow’s voice yells “You most definitely need baths! Listen to your father!”
“But Mr. El Dorado said I didn’t need baths!” hollers back the baby. There is an audible snort.
“Tell that mister El Dorado that he might be a little more successful with the Ladieez if he learned the value of a good bath!”
El Dorado is on the top shelf watching Gonzo skinny dip in the water bowl and only catches the last part of the interchange.
“Ah don’t wanna get with the Ladieez if it means that I’m going to be invaded with babies again.”
One of the babies looks up at him with big eyes, lip quivering.
“Don’t you like us?”
Put on the spot, El Dorado stammers.
“Uh, uh, er, well, sure there, little fella. You’re not so bad, I mean, all things considered.”
“We love you, Uncle ‘Dorado!” they chorus. Spotty quietly snickers, but turns it into a cough as El Dorado glares at him. El Dorado begins gingerly peeling the clinging babies off of himself.
“Well guys, I guess if we’re gonna be stuck in the same cage, we should do some bonding activities. Why don’t you come up to the top level with me? I’ve got a new issue of “Playrat” and “Pentcage” is supposed to come this afternoon.”
“What’s “Pentcage”?” asks a little blue rex. El Dorado grins.
“Mostly a reads it for the interview and editorials.”
Bluey fluffs in outrage.
“I’m just teaching them to appreciate the finer things in life. Hey, you boys ever seen a bald rat before? Come on up to my place and you can meet Gonzo–she’s freaky and she’s got a set of–”
“A nice personality!” quickly interrupts Bluey, “El Dorado, I swear if you corrupt my offspring I will thump you so hard–”
“Guys, we’ve got a problem,” calls Spotty forlornly, standing by the food bowl. The bowl is empty, barring a single piece of kibble.
Bluey turns incredulously to his offspring.
“You ate two days worth of food in one sitting?”
“I didn’t sit the whole time,” replies one baby proudly.
“I lefted some cause Mom said never eat it all at once,” adds another.
“Oh Holy Cheeses,” mutters Spotty in disgust.
“Son of a hamster,” agrees Bluey.
“Motherloving wheel spinning lab rat baby eating snake owning reoccurring myco!!” cusses El Dorado. The babies stare at him in awe.
“Whoa. I wanna learn dose swears,” whispers one baby to his brother, who nods fervently.
“El Dorado!” shrieks Willow from across the room, “How DARE you use those words around my babies!” She lunges at the bars and chews on them wrathfully.
Bluey whispers to El Dorado.
“She’s got that post parcel depression thing, I wouldn’t upset her if’n you can help it.”
Gazing respectfully at the female rat’s determined efforts to chew through the metal bars, El Dorado nods in agreement.
“Ah’ll send flowers after she calms down.”
“She likes banana chips betters,” murmurs Bluey, “I’m making all my Ratlet Support Payments in banana chips instead of cashews as per request.”
As El Dorado takes the babies with him up to the hammocks to meet Gonzo through the bars, Bluey and Spotty curl up in a Kleenex box to take a well-deserved nap (their third of the day).
“Man, fatherhood is tough,” mutters Bluey. Spotty nods.
“Ah’ve never been happier to be neutered.”
“Can I get your vet’s number?”
Check out more of Rebecca’s rat stories in KRL’s rodent ramblings section.