“I like you, you remind me a lot of me. So I’m gonna help you, see?” Slacker told the lost and bewildered new rat in town.
Dutch was new in town and started to count his blessings that he had just met Slacker when…
“Slacker…what do you think you’re doing?” Jimmy Two Shakes asked walking up behind him.
Slacker took a deep breath.
“Now, Slacky, you KNOW that this is my part of town and ANYBODY new, and I mean ANYBODY new sees me first, right? Jimmy continued.
“Hey Jimmy, good to see you buddy,” Slacker began to say when Jimmy cut him off.
“Don’t Jimmy, me. Get lost kid.” Jimmy scowled at Dutch.
“Look Jimmy, I was just trying to help the kid. Poor rat doesn’t know where to go or what to do.” Slacker said, “I was just trying to help him.”
“Oh yeah? So when you said you’d make sure he gets entry to THAT restaurant’s back door because you got a deal with a rat on the inside, all for the low price of five slivers of cheese a week, that was helping him?” Jimmy asked.
“Well…” Slacker began.
“THAT was your idea of helping? When you and I know BOTH know that the doors are wide open and ANYONE can go right in?” Jimmy asked.
“And what about those two other poor suckers that came in last week bringing you packets of peanut butter every week, for your “VIP Access” to the garbage cans on Palmdale Lane?” Jimmy kept going.
Slacker was a smart rat. He knew that with a little smooth talk and finagling, he could get what he wanted and needed without lifting a finger.
He’d done it all his life.
Unfortunately, he chose the wrong person to cross this time.
Jimmy was a good rat, a little misunderstood, but a good rat nonetheless.
He ran a business in the local town and he was good at it. He was sort of like the welcome committee, personal protection agency and mayor all rolled up into one.
They called him “Two Shakes” because he had nervous twitch whenever he was happy, upset or feeling any other high emotion. His face would do a quick two-step twitch.
That’s why they called him “Jimmy Two Shakes.”
They also called him two shakes because that was how long he’d give you to take off if you crossed him.
“Slacker, I like you. I really do. You’re a smart rat, but not smarter than me.” Jimmy said.
Slacker started to get nervous.
“I know this sounds like a cliché, but this town isn’t big enough for the both of us. So here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna do you a favor and give you some time to pack up and go.” Jimmy said.
“What? Jimmy, where am I gonna go?” Slacker asked in shock.
“You know how much I like you Slacker? I like you so much that I found a place for you. It’s a lab and they could use you.” Jimmy said.
“NO! No Jimmy!” A lab? They could use me? Use me for what? Science experiments???” Slacker started yelling.
“No nitwit, it’s a lab that can use some of your street smarts and skills. I heard about it from a guy that knows a guy.” Jimmy said.
“What kind of lab is it? They aren’t going to make me eat weird stuff and hook me up to machines to read my brain and see what I’m thinking are they? Let me think about it.” Slacker said.
“This aint no debate Slacker. I’m NOT asking you. I’m TELLING you. So you got a choice. Go there or go anywhere. Don’t matter to me, just so long as you aren’t here. Get it?” Jimmy finished.
Slacker knew his time was up. He had run his different rackets long enough, and deep down he knew it was only a matter of time before Jimmy got keen to it.
Luckily he had a place to go.
The lab, huh.
Sounds interesting he thought to himself as he ran up the suitcase being loaded into the luggage section, at the back of the bus that was taking him to his new home.
I wonder if they got good food there, or maybe some pretty rats, he thought.
Yeah, some cute rats, that’ll do. That’ll make it a little easier to deal with he thought as his mind began to wander.
As the bus pulled out onto the road headed north for the lab, Slacker looked out the window.
So long Jimmy, been nice knowing you, Slacker thought.