Two rats were reported missing last night and I heard the news at C.F. Donovan's a half hour before last call. A fellow barfly stumbled in after spending the evening listening to his police scanner. He was breathless, but he managed to pant out to anyone who could hear his gasps, "Two rats are reported missing." Most of us stared into our beers or at the televisions. Laughter unconnected to the news rang out from the dining room. Just the usual boisterous bunch of roustabouts enjoying their cups and plates on a Friday night in Dorchester, Mass.
Old McNulty grumbled, "Two rats, who cares? They deserve what came to 'em"
Big Gut muttered into his shot glass, "Rats! I hate 'em. They give me the heebie jeebies so much that I get the blues. Sometimes I get the shakes just thinking about rats crawling all over me."
Swan Neck Malloy posed the rhetorical question, "Why's the BPD getting involved in missing rat cases? Don't they have enough to do?"
I wasn't too much interested at the time, but this morning I was making my rounds running bicycle errands around the neighborhood, picking up the next week's supply of sundries from area shops, when I peddled past the solution to both the disappearances. The answer: vehicular homicide. These rats had been run over with intent and the intention was that their remains wouldn't be identifiable after the deed was done. Does one rat look like another? These two are obviously different.
I admit, I don't know the rats' names or their original addresses. I suspect they will be missed by someone. That's why their absence was phoned in. I saw one on Elton Street and I saw the other on Savin Hill Avenue.
Witnessing the aftermath of the carnage, I admit I felt a little sad for the little rat babies that will be missing a parent. Being run over is no way to die, ask any bicyclist or pedestrian. Better to die in bed at peace, unless you are a viking. Dorchester knows its share of mayhem and the smallest crimes are comitted in the dead of night. Because it happens after dark and the absence is negligably noticed, doesn't mean a thread of the community's fabric hasn't frayed irrepairably loose. Some basement will be one less rat today. Who will takes its place? For all I know these were honorable rats who caused nobody any trouble beyond the drivers who couldn't bother to swerve.
A corpse is a terrible thing to contemplate.