The concerned parties are my mother, my sister, and a small rubber rat. It was just a little gray rat. More of a mouse, actually. And it was realistic-looking enough on first glance.
I don’t know how they got started with the rat. I just remember that at some point in late elementary school, the rat became a special part of my sister’s relationship with my mother. Normal mothers and daughters go shopping and get pedicures. In our family, we hide rubber rats in an attempt to scare the bejeebers out of each other. Who needs new shoes when you can have a rat, right?
One night, Dad was at a meeting, and Laura and I had gone to bed when we heard a terrified bloodcurdling scream. I cannot describe the volume or scariness of that yell. My sister and I raced downstairs, certain we were going to find our mother dead in a pool of her own blood in the kitchen, or at least up on a chair cornered by a tarantula the size of a Labrador retriever, and found instead our dear mom doubled over in laughter with a very red face.
Earlier in the day she had decided to hide the rat in the pitcher of kool-aid in the fridge, with hopes that when my sister poured herself a glass the rat would fall out and scare her. Then she promptly forgot about the hidden rodent, and later that night got thirsty, went to the fridge, and took a swig directly from the pitcher. And there was the rat staring right at her with its evil beady black eyes.
Bahahahaha. And that is why we do not drink directly from the carton, children. We never know when we might nearly get our faces bitten off by scary plastic animals.
But that was not the only time my mom’s plans to terrorize my sister via the rat backfired.
My sister was in the fourth grade, and when she took a bite of the sandwich my mother had so lovingly prepared for her, there was the rat. In the sandwich. And it freaked poor Laura out so much that she started to cry.
She had a substitute teacher that day, who was appalled to find this poor little darling had been so terrified by such a mean prank. Indignantly she demanded to know who had been so cruel as to put a rubber rat in my sister’s sandwich. To which my sister replied through her tears, “It was my mom!!!”
And that was the introduction that that poor substitute had to our family. A family whose mother puts rubber rats in her child’s food. The substitute, by the way, was my friend Tammy’s mom. You know, the mom who helped me, a year later, create The Corny Cafe. It’s a miracle she ever let us play together, ever. Maybe she was trying to protect me from the evils of my mother.
I’m sure there are other rat stories that ought to be told, but if so my family will have to tell them in the comment section. Like I said, the rat really isn’t my story to tell.
Why, hello, little friend. Allow me to introduce you to my children.
cackle cackle cackle