So anyway, a major dockwalloper blew in Saturday, driving everybody indoors who could get there quick and sending havoc to roam the freeways. The Household of Marlene and Andre filled up with all the members not working and everyone looked at each other, steaming with sad eyes, the whole place smelling like wet dogs and people wondering if this was the start of the long bitter winter. But Sunday dawned clear and sunny and soon folks were back out on the street again.
Fall is encroaching. Leaves are falling and sudden squadrons of Canadian geese and other birds appear in the low skies. Other animals are also on the move, especially given the increased bout, or as some say, increased plague of new construction on the Island. It is an Island after all, with marinas and boats and the troubles that come with the territory, and with the territory of marinas docking boats come the famous rattus norwegus, not to blame dear Norway for rodent issues, but that is just how it all fell out when it came to naming things according to the Linneaus manner. Linneaus was not Norwegian, and probably not Lutheran according to the details we can glean, so he probably felt perfectly fine naming the smooth coat rat after Norway.
Or perhaps someone introduced the man to lutefisk without sufficient aquavit to wash it down and this nomenclature was the product of a small-minded man's revenge.
We also enjoy the pleasures of the scruffier cousin, the roof rat, which according to our unimaginative Linneaus is Rattus Rattus. Which just goes to show you the man had no brains and probably could not be trusted with your wallet.
Roofrats, sometimes called woodrats, although the species is different, look like Norway Rats which have taken a beating and reacted by getting hooked on heroin and glue sniffing. They are scruffy and nasty and they like to live in your attic right here on the Island. They enjoy Oakland too, as they have few scruples.
Racoons have been enjoying the cat food and squirrel leavings people have been leaving outside their backdoors. Roof rats love this stuff too. Mrs. Blather typically leaves a pile of kibble for Mr. Sachs and Mr. Goldman, her two Persians, but latterly the two kitties have taken to cowering in the tulip magnolia while a raccoon has been feasting on the dinner intended for them.
They can hiss all they want, but little that will do.
Over at the Native Sons Parlor 33 1/3 there has been a big hullaballo over the Parlor budget. Which seems to have gotten more acrimonious in recent years as two factions have gotten to loggerheads over spending. The more conservative members of the Pee Tardy group feel dues and income from various instruments should be re-invested in worthy entities like Goldman Sachs and The John Birch Society. They also feel too much money gets wasted on public uses, like water for the bathroom and that people should just "hold it in" until they get home. Hence their name, The Pee Tardy folks.
The more generous members of the Parlor feel that when income arrives it should be spent on any of the worthy humanitarian causes the group supports, such as amelioration of child birth defects and distributing golden poppy seeds.
Wally is threatening to filibuster the next debate until past the fiscal year and Janice is threatening to withhold payments on any outstanding or revolving debts, like PG&E, which would propell the Parlor into a state of crisis, which made Myron Plotz, the accountant, start tearing his hair while weeping uncontrollably.
David has been calling the Pee Tardy folks a lot of dangerous imbeciles which only made Mrs. Cribbage throw the official silver tureen at his head, fortunately missing, but causing a goodly amount of damage to the glass fantod case.
"For goodness sakes and goodness sakes!" Tammy shouted, stamping her foot. "All of you stop acting like children or I will invoke the Goddess!"
They all stood back at that threat and some people crossed themselves and rolled their eyes. Nobody wanted the Goddess involved, not even Myron.
The stamping did have the effect of dislodging a huge redwood burl clock from the wall and it fell to the floor of the that old hall beside the Marina with a loud crash.
This proved too much for the family of roofrats which had been living in the wall near the couch and they scampered across the floor towards the door -- about five of them.
Mrs. Cribbage screamed and got up on a chair. Mr. Blather screamed and got up on a chair too. With both of them screaming, Myron grabbed a pool cue and began wacking all around the rats who ran in confused circles instead of heading for the door while Wally went to get his gun.
Myron managed to bing one of the rats on the head and another rat, being feisty and of a mood to defend himself grabbed the end of the pool cue which by now had been fractured to the point it was of little use anyway, so Myron tugged and flailed his damaged weapon while the roofrat snarled and glared with beady eyes at his tormenter and cursed Myron in rat language.
By the time Wally had returned with his .50 caliber pistol the other rats had gotten away and Mrs. Rampling was up on the counter on her hands and knees with Mr. Scott and more people stood on chairs. The rat gave up on teaching Myron a lesson and ran away from the door back into the room, perhaps to return to its formerly comfortable hole in the wall. Wally let loose a round that blasted a two foot crater in the floor and another that took out a wall support beam in a spectacular eruption of fire and splinters. The roof sort of groaned and sagged but stayed up there, however the lights went out so the only light came through the open door.
That's when the sirens began to sing louder and louder.
The sirens stopped outside and a sort of disco effect of flashing red lights drifted through the now silent room.
There came a series of raps from somewhere and then David's voice could be heard clearly, "I would now like to call this meeting to order. If you please"
Later on, Myron was trying to explain some of this to The Man from Minot at the bar in the Old Same Place, but was having little success in sounding reasonable.
"Why the rats," asked the Man from Minot.
"Why the rats? I dunno why not a duck. Or a horse. I am all right myself. It's an Island and it's got marinas and the marinas got boats from all over the world. With boats come rats. You want nice doilies on your downspouts and a canoe ride with plastic alligators go to Disney Land."
The long howl of the throughpassing train ululated from far across the water, across the gentle waves of the estuary, the riprap embankments, the grasses of the Buena Vista flats and the open spaces of the former Beltline; it snaked through the cracked brick of the old abandoned Cannery with its ghosts and weedy railbed and silent chainlink fences as the locomotive glided past the dark and shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, headed off to parts unknown.
That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.
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