I’m no Monster

April 28, 2018

Yesterday at work, I saw a rat. A real, live, living breathing rat. Keep in mind this is a rare thing for me. Growing up and living most of my life in the suburbs and clean, well-kempt apartments, I’m not accustomed to seeing these things outside of the zoo or on cartoons. Toledo isn’t a trash dump, so we don’t have a bunch of them running around like so many other big cities.

Instead of the revulsion and contempt I typically feel for vermin, I learned something about myself that I’d always suspected.

Let me start at the start…

I work in an office, yes, but there’s a warehouse as well. My office is small and tucked away in the back corner of the building. To get to the bigger, cleaner, more luxuriant office, you have to cross through the warehouse. Freezing in winter and humid as all get-out in summer, it’s filthy, dirty, dark, and the type of place you would expect to find all sorts of critters. Some of the spiders I’ve seen in there, whoo boy…

So last autumn, one of my coworkers mentions something about a rat. A rat the size of a puppy, like a big monster. Other eyewitness accounts agree, so I’m scared shitless of some massive monster jumping out at me, biting me, spreading the bubonic plague, and running off to gleefully find its next victim.

I’ve never seen it. I’m not sad about this.

Anyway, yesterday, I’m walking to my office. I heard something scratching, something rustling. There is a mini dumpster in the warehouse for all of our myriad waste products. It sits right next to a storage area for cabinets that haven’t gone out to their respective customers yet. I figured it was a driver pulling a load to take to his next location, so I kept my talking to myself at a minimum.

Then I realized I was alone. Who was making the noise?!

I tiptoed around the dumpster. Surely, it was a rat. Not just any rat, though. THE rat. Rattus Maximus. A fully-evolved Pokémon ready to hypnotize me and feast on my delicious innards. Holy fuck what is it?!?!?!

Ever the brave little pirate, I leaned forward to look into the dumpster (it’s about 4 feet tall). Amidst boxes and papers, I saw it…

The most adorable little rat ever.

Okay, it wasn’t little. Pretty big, actually. Not the mammoth, though. Unless my coworkers are the biggest bunch of pansies I’ve ever met, there is no possible way that is THE rat.

Its little rat face was so cute. It had a long tail, little ears, whiskers, a twitchy nose…and it just wanted out of its prison. I just wanted to reach in, grab it, and snuggle with it all day.

Then I realized it’ll definitely bite me. It’s got to be crawling with disease and germs. It’s not a pet, it’s a fucking rat!

Still, I could set it free. But how?

I headed back to the office, scared that not only would one of the sadistic warehouse workers try their hardest to kill it, they wouldn’t care about it. The poor little rat was going to die!

Other coworkers told me it would be fine. “Trust me” they’d say, “we get tons of rats in here. They’ll find a way.” Thanks, Professor Malcom, life always does find a way, right?

I realized that they’d dump that trash into the big dumpster outside, where the poor guy could either get free very easily, or certainly find a good meal. I felt better when I remembered that.

So I’m not the vermin hating asshole I once thought. I have sympathy for cute little animal friends…how could I ever wish anything bad for them? They’re just trying to survive, to live, to get married and have babies and live with a white picket fence, just like all the other rats out there.

And plus, it’s a warehouse. What do you freakin’ expect?!

But I still stand firm on my anti-ant and bee stance. Hate those fuckers.

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Crispy Like the Air

October 16, 2017

Autumn is in full swing here in Toledo, and I couldn’t be happier. As much as I love warm weather, the low 90’s temperatures started getting old, fast. I don’t want to walk out of my house in the morning in mid-October and start sweating already, so this low 50’s stuff is very much welcome.

It always feels like perfect writing weather, too. You see the memes all the time, something about a cozy sweater, a blanket, a hot cup of tea or coffee or cocoa, a cat on your lap, and a good book. Or, a story in front of you that is being worked on with the utmost diligence. Cute. Clever. Cliché.

But, it’s truth. I feel more at ease when there’s a chill in the air. Maybe a part of it has something to do with the fact that I don’t feel the need to constantly be running around from place to place. I can sit still, open the curtains, and watch the leaves fall while I tap away at whatever chapter I’m in the middle of.

Speaking of, only a few more to go! The Third Tower is chugging along nicely, but I really wish I had more time to just sit my ass down and do it. It’s nice to chip away at it when I can, but it sure would be nice to pound out two chapters (or more!) in a day. Still, I’m getting it done, and not finding other things to do—seriously, other things are finding me.

There’s also a lot of big things coming soon from me. A new story, and one that’s been up for a year now, “It’s the Great Murdering Pumpkin, Charlie Townes,” is getting a major push! Keep your eyes open for that—it’s free!

Still waiting to hear from several publications. I hate to complain about the wait, but seriously, do they even read the slush pile? One keeps updating their status every day, but they’ve been “reading” submissions from November of last year for close to a month now. November of LAST YEAR. Reading, my ass.

But, I can wait. I’ll be patient, because I’m at their mercy. Not only that, but I have plenty of other options. Things are out there, and things are getting done. I humble and heartily thank those who are making an effort to further the artform, and the arts in general.

Seriously, writing, graphic art of some sort, music, performance, and any other thing you can think of, all deserve your support. Don’t do horrible things to ruin it, like that Weinstein guy and Al Michaels making tasteless jokes. Do what you can to keep it alive, and keep it moving. Yes, this might mean spending a little money, but even if it’s a measly dollar, does it matter?

Contrary to the fact that I haven’t been posting in a while, I’m happy. Things are going well. I really have nothing to complain about that would make much of a difference if I did. Where’s the harm in that? Hopefully, I can finish this book soon and find it a good home.

Hopefully, everyone can have such good fortune with whatever it is they do.