“What do you need?” Petri asked.
“A couple of my friends have gone missing. I can’t seem to find them,” the distraught rat said.
“When was the last time you saw them? Where did you last see them? Do you remember what day it was?” Petri asked.
“Yeah, last week. Over near the park, where all the business folk eat lunch on their breaks,” the rat continued.
“Okay, okay, what’s your name by the way?”
“Sorry, it’s Trey, my name’s Trey.”
“Okay,” Petri continued, “I just need a couple more things from you and I’ll get working on it.”
Petri was the local scavenger/detective/all-around-finder in this part of town.
If something went missing, Petri would find it.
Problem was, she was always so busy “finding” that she didn’t have much time to do anything else.
Suited her fine though. She was orphaned at a young age and all she ever knew was the streets. Eventually, Jimmy Two Shakes brought her in because, as he put it, “the girl had spunk.”
He was always on the lookout, always on the prowl and always watching.
“What’s your friends’ names?” Petri asked.
“Matt, Big Matt and Spike and Peanut,” Trey responded.
“They been gone a long time. Spike was talking about maybe heading to Haverson’s deli. I took off and was supposed to meet up with them later that day, but haven’t heard from them since,” Trey finished.
“Okay, let me see what I can find out for you,” Petri said.
It was getting late and Petri knew by now the riff raff and weirdos would be out, so she turned her attention elsewhere, instead of the streets.
Heading over to the West Side of town, she decided to check up on an old friend.
“JTS, what’s happening?” Petri asked.
“Really? You gotta go with the acronym, huh?” Jimmy Two Shakes responded.
“Nah, just trying to amuse myself, that’s all. Anyway, I got a job and I knew you probably know who this guy is. If anyone does, it’ll be you,” Petri continued.
“Alright, go,” Jimmy Two Shakes answered.
“There’s a few rats that went missing,” Petri said as Jimmy interrupted.
“Happens all the time Petri, wrong side of town, think they can outwit one of them big cats, next thing you know – “ Jimmy said as Petri interrupted him.
“No, no, I don’t think it’s anything like that. Guy came in today, real worried. Not in a weird way, just looking for a few friends. One of them is named Big Matt, you ever heard of him?” Petri asked.
“Matty, yeah, know him really well. He’s from up north. He aint missing. More like needed a change of scenery, change of address,” Jimmy responded.
“Oh yeah, what do you mean?” Petri asked.
“So there’s this lab, they been building up lately. Stocking up is more like it. They got a lot of stuff going on, a lot of projects and stuff. Wait, actually, you looking for a move?” Jimmy asked.
“Me? Nah, I’m good where I’m at,” Petri said.
“Petri, how long have I known you?” Jimmy asked.
“Long time Jimmy, long time. When my folks left me I was just a kid. All I’ve ever known is these streets. Learned everything I know from that…and you,” Petri said feeling the tears well up.
“I know Petri, I know. But sometimes we gotta grow and you’ve outgrown this place a LONG TIME ago. You know that don’t you? You been like a daughter to me, and as much as it pains me….look, I don’t want to see you go, but,” Jimmy continued.
“Wait, where am I going? I'm not going any where!” Petri insisted.
“Petri, I’m the last one that wants to see you go, but you got too much potential to be wasting around here looking for old spools and missing cheese. There’s this place. They call it the lab. It’s where Big Matt is, but not a lab like you think,” Jimmy said.
“A Lab, like the ones you seen on TV or in those big colleges. I got a friend there, real close, that gave me the heads up. Said send me some good people, and that’s what I been doing,” Jimmy continued.
“What are you trying to say, Jimmy?” Petri asked.
“What I’m saying is, I don’t want to be the reason you don’t fully realize your potential. What I’m saying is you were built to do bigger and better things, not go on wild goose chases for missing rats,” Jimmy said.
There was silence.
“Will you at least think about it?” Jimmy asked.
“Yeah, yeah, I will,” Petri responded.
Deep down Petri knew this day would come. She had known for a long time.
The lab, huh, she thought to herself.
“Maybe it’s time…” Petri said to herself as she walked out.