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June 17, 2024

The Ballad of Jimmy the Rat

By Sand Pilarski

Jimmy the Rat was happy at
The motel on Highway Six.
He lived in the wall of the kitchen hall
Free of woodland fleas and ticks.

At dawn he'd scrounge in the Bar and Lounge
For pretzels on the floor;
At night he'd feast like a ravening beast
In the bin by the kitchen door.

The cook was lax about leaving snacks
Where Jimmy could find his way,
And the rat grew fat as a twelve-pound cat
As he packed the goodies away.

His rat career took a sudden veer
And there rose an ill-omened star
When a maid sneaked back for a midnight snack
To find Jimmy in the salad bar!

The management got very bent
For the maid embellished her tale
Till the kitchen was filling with rats by the million
And one was the size of a whale!

An exterminator disguised as a waiter
Set baits all around the motel
But Jimmy was clever and never ever ever
Was fooled, so the rat never fell.

As the rat's fame grew the kitchen crew
Admired the rodent's spunk.
They fed him cheese and leftover grease
And tasty fattening junk.

It may have been wrong, but Jimmy grew strong,
And his presence began to draw fame;
He was hidden by staff till a media gaffe
Made Jimmy a household name.

They decided to sell the little motel
That existed beside Highway Six
And empty sat the home of the rat
Without painting or buyers or fix.

The pickings were slim for ratty old Jim,
But he was the reason why
No one would purchase. A huge rat besmirches
A property one wants to buy.

People would point as they passed the sad joint
Saying "There resides Jimmy the Rat,"
And thus no one was itchin' to pay for a kitchen
With a bad reputation like that.

The paint peeled away and there came a sad day
When the roof leaked and ruined the floor.
Jimmy's wall sagged and as maintenance lagged.
The motel became an eyesore.

Years came and passed. The motel at last
Was bulldozed to a lifeless bare lot.
Fleet was his fame and Jimmy became
The rat everybody forgot.

People figured he died of starvation or tried
To move on to a new place to nest.
They stopped looking for him and memories grew more dim
As they saw no more sign of the pest.

A developer bought the dusty old lot
And soon it was no longer bare.
He delighted townsfolk when the savvy young bloke
Built a bowling alley there!

Amid the noise of the sports bar boys
And the crash of the bowling pins,
And the games being played in the vid arcade,
A patient rodent wins.

I call him a winner for although much thinner,
Jimmy never had to move
From his favorite haunts but for foraging jaunts,
And while we may never prove

That it was the same rat there's strong evidence that
Jimmy once again lived in the wall
Of a bar in the sticks out by Highway Six
And never came out till Last Call.

Jimmy was not a dummy and never grew chummy
With other rats living in town,
He would not permit them to drop by and sit
In the dumpster to romp and chow down.

He kept the place free of mice and debris
Policing from dusk until dawn;
In shadows he stayed and his fortune was made
By his wits and his age and his brawn.

No one now hunts him or seriously wants him
To leave, for he keeps the place clean;
They pretend not to notice or examine his motives
Or admit that he's even been seen.

They put a big muffin with blueberry stuffing
Each night by the door in the rear.
It's gone by the morning and serves as a warning
That a large clever creature is near.

In all of the Valley there's no bowling alley
With a resident rodent that
Is bigger or older or smarter or bolder
Or as happy as Jimmy the Rat.

Originally appeared 2003-09-29

Article © Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
Published on 2015-03-30
Image(s) © Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
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