“You see her eyes?” Spike pointed out.
“Yeah, what about them?” Peanut asked.
“They tell you all you need to know. See how they’re big and yellow. They’re a dead giveaway,” Spike said as they watched from around the corner, anxiously watching her every move.
Tabby the Big Cat ruled this part of the neighborhood. She let all the rats know that this was HER turf. Spike and Peanut were always on the lookout when they went hunting for food.
Specifically on the lookout for Tabby.
“Her eyes get bigger when it’s something she wants, that’s why they get so big when she sees one of us,” Spike said, “See how they didn’t get so big? She doesn’t want that food. That my friend is all ours.”
As Tabby sniffed, then walked away from the leftovers the couple walking by had dropped on the ground, Spike made a beeline for the slice of cheese draped over the piece of bread.
Peanut hurried right behind him.
Right before Spike was to snatch up his bounty Tabby turned around. It was as if she was setting a trap for the two of them.
Screeching to a halt, Spike and Peanut knew that there was no outrunning Tabby.
“RUN!” Spike yelled.
Turning and running as fast as their tiny rat legs would take them it was only a few steps before Tabby was RIGHT behind them.
Spike closed his eyes awaiting the clench of her jaws on his body but it never came. All he heard was the fussing and yelling coming from a cat that was just caught up in a contraption of sorts.
It looked as if Tabby had a net thrown over her, but how?
Turning to look and see what happened, out walked Matt.
“Don’t you two EVER learn? What did I tell you about hunting for food without me?” Matt asked.
“What the…” Spike started, as he looked dumbfounded at the netting hooked up to fishing line, threaded through the garbage can handle, down to another pulley of sorts attached to a flip switch that could be activated with nothing more than a small push of the world’s smartest rat.
If you’re wondering who that is so far in this story, it’s Matt.
Matt was always the head honcho, the big cheese, the one who always figured things out AND who was always a step ahead of everyone – including Tabby.
He already knew that Spike and Peanut were on the prowl, and knew that Tabby would be waiting.
He was always inventing things and making things. Some stuff was to make life easier for the three of them, while others like today was to keep them safe and out of harm’s way.
“What are you gonna do when she FINALLY gets to you Spike? What then? Peanut?” Matt started in on the two of them.
“I know Matt, I don’t know, I guess we weren’t thinking,” Spike said sheepishly.
“That’s your problem Spike, you NEVER think.” Matt replied, “Anyway, I got a plan.”
“You always do! So what is it? Are we going to Haverson’s deli to get leftover pastrami? Ooh ooh, or maybe over to West 42nd, they got that dumpster in the middle of all those restaurants!” Spike said excitedly.
“No, knucklehead. Jimmy Two-Shakes from down south told me about this place looking for a rat with some skills. The kind of skills I GOT.” Matt said.
“You leaving us?” Spike and Peanut asked at the same time.
“No, you two are coming with me.” Matt replied.
“I’m finally going to be able to do some stuff that’ll do some good, other than saving your two rat’s behinds. As much as I’d love to leave you to fend for yourselves, I’m not sure you’d last the day without me.” Matt said.
He was right.
Matt wasn’t only the smartest Rat this side of the Mississippi, but he was also the kind of Rat you could rally behind.
He was a natural leader that everyone gravitated towards. It was what drew in Spike and Peanut.
In the neighborhood, no one messed with Matt or anyone else that was close to him.
As they headed to this new place that Jimmy Two-Shakes so aptly described to Matt as “The Lab,” Matt could feel a sense of excitement and a bit of fear.
The fear was new to him, though he knew once he got there it would only be a matter of time until he settled right in.
And as usual, He was right.