Smell A Rat

Tony had been working for the Rodent PD for almost 6 months, which is a long time for a youngster like Tony. He’d joined the IRA, the department of Internal Rodential Affairs about 2 months ago, and was recently transferred to the Undercover Rat Division, where he was assigned to case 231—Mouse Mafia Infiltration.

It was easy enough for Tony to make himself look like a mouse—he’d always been a rather small rat, and was often mistaken for a mouse from behind. He only needed to make a few small changes to his appearance and practice the mannerisms of the Mouse Mafia Members before he went undercover.

So he began making changes to his appearance, all the while imagining himself as the star of a movie montage set to classic 80s rock music. He filed down his teeth, wrapped his tail so it seemed smaller and slightly pinker, and dyed his hair from a dust-gray color to a sandy-looking brown. He even added some darker wet-sand colored streaks to give the impression of a mouse that has known tough times.

Two months later, an entry in his field notes revealed Tony’s cover was not quite as solid as he’d originally thought. The entry read: I believe I’m in danger—The Boss suspects there is a spy among us.

Not three days later, the mice of the Mouse Mafia sat around an improvised poker table made from scraps of wood and cloth, smoking cigarette stubs and waiting for The Boss to speak. Fear charged the smoke-filled room. Finally, The Boss broke the silence.

“Does something smell weird to you boys?” The Boss asked innocently enough. But the mice of the Mouse Mafia knew better than to answer such a seemingly simple question.

After a long moment in which only the faint sounds of cigarettes being smoked could be heard, The Boss spoke again—only this time, he singled out a few of the Mouse Mafia’s newest members.

“Can you smell that, Freddie? Al?”

“I don’t smell nothing, Boss,” Freddie answered as Al slowly shook his head from side to side.

“What about you, Tony? Can you smell that?” The Boss asked as he turned to face Tony. His voice had taken on an all-knowing tone that suggested, to Tony, that The Boss had identified the spy and was ready to take action against him.

“What’s that, Boss?” Tony replied, desperately willing his whiskers not to twitch.

“I said I smell something funny. You know what it is—I smell a rat,” The Boss said, staring directly into Tony’s beady little rat eyes.



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