The Tourist’s New Pet by Gregory Farrell

I was walking down West Broadway yesterday evening and passed one of those miniature parks which is surrounded by cobblestones.  There were two middle-aged woman tourists from the Mid-West oohing and aahing over some tiny  animal which had come out of the park and was not able to get back in due to the low cobblestone wall.

They were looking at a small black creature and one of the women was saying, “poor little baby. Are you lost? Can’t you figure out how to get back in?”

Just then an attractive young woman in a short skirt and a tight top walked past and looked at the scene disgustedly. In a loud Brooklyn accent she shouted “It’s a baby Rat Ladies!” and continued on her way.

The tourists either did not hear her or at least pretended not to.  I also decided to leave, since I could not stand to  watch any longer. You see, the woman from Brooklyn was correct. The creature that the tourists were treating like some lost kitten was, in fact, a baby black rat. Not like  nice clean lab rats. It was the disease-ridden, unbelievably dangerous type of animal that ever city in the world tries unsuccessfully  to wipe out completely.

As I walked away one of the woman was crouching down getting ready to pick the rat up while the other woman was looking for some of bag or box to put their new pet in.

I have the feeling that in some hotel room in New York tonight there is a rat in a cardboard box being fed crackers and cheese from a mini-bar.

So; if in the next week or two you hear a story about a couple of tourists dying from some bizarre infectious disease, you will know how they got it.

You never know what you are going to see in New York if you just look around while you walk. Just don’t pick anything up.

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