Monday, January 3, 2011
Hey! You! Get Out of My Way! Part 19 Enter the 9th Circle
‘What do you mean I can’t buy a rat if I have to feed it to a snake?” I ask the girl behind the counter at Petland. “Those are the rules and besides, this is a fancy rat,” she says to me not missing a beat. “A fancy rat?” I repeat slightly puzzled. “Yes,” she sighs as if she is pointing out the obvious. “What’s the difference?” I ask. She sighs even louder and rolls her eyes to the heavens. “A fancy rat has long fur and is raised as a pet.” With this said, she tries to walk away from me. “Ok, ok,” I put up my hand to stop her. ”What if I don’t have a snake and I want to buy a rat?” “Oh that would be a completely different story,” she replies and positions herself in front of the register. “I need to buy a rat,” I say. “What kind of rat do you need?” she asks. “Oh, anything you have lying around,” I respond holding my breath. “I have a fancy rat,” she says motioning to the drawers behind her. There are about 30 rats climbing all over each other. Now, I have always been a member of the ASPCA and PETA and this is the downside of owning a snake, but unless the snakes going to eat my cooking, this is what I have to do. “Sold!” I sing out. “You’re not feeding this rat to a snake are you?” the girl asks narrowing her eyes. Not believing that this is really happening, I cross my fingers in my pocket. “No, no, not at all,” I say placing my other hand up in the air like a good boy scout. With this she reaches in a drawer lifts up a big black and white rat by the tail and drops him into a box, then pushes out the air holes. I hand her money and she drops the box into a plastic Petland bag.
Thanking her, I walk back onto the street and head over to St. Marks place to wander through Trash and Vaudeville. I wander through the racks; the rat is starting to become very active in the box. I am not really seeing anything that I like and walk into the shoe department.
I am delaying my return to the apartment because my friend Missy has moved from Boston to NYC. After a couple of conversations Susan thinks’ that it is a great idea to have Missy take over her bedroom and let me keep the loft. Before this time Susan’s bedroom door was locked so she could travel from coast to coast and have a place to stay. Missy has moved to New York to study at NYU and could actually save a couple bucks living with me. I have no problem with this at all. I would like to give her some space because today she is studying with some friends. Missy has told me how hard it is to make friends here in the city and I can’t be her only one.
My friend Regina will be staying in the apartment for the next couple weeks as well, she is in between theatre jobs. Susan thinks that this is a great idea and pockets the extra income. Regina and I will end up moving in together at The Imperial Courts Hotel on 79th Street in the next couple of months. That is after we meet Susan’s mother during an unexpected visit and realize it is going to become a regular thing.
I have some extra time to kill, I called my agent earlier. My audition for the Japanese company will take place later in the week. I would like to wander some more but the rat is really active. I walk back to Astor place and show them my id. It’s the same doorman I saw as I was leaving. “What do have in the bag? The Doorman asks. The bag is out of control and I have to keep giving it a little shake because the rat is trying to save itself by eating through the box. I shrug my shoulders and ignore him.
I am alone in the elevator and I can see the doorman lean over his post to watch the doors close on me. The ride is quick and I get the apartment and unlock the door. Regina is sitting in the open kitchen on the phone; the cord is stretched within an inch of its life. Missy is sitting in the living room holding court with two other students. “Geoff, I want you to meet two of my friends from NYU,” Missy yells to me. I wave and let them get back to studying. Regina waves from the stool she is perched on.
I walk over to Jasmines cage and release the clamps that hold the lid in place. Jasmine is wide awake and knows what’s about to happen. She begins to climb to the top of the tank. The rat is now out of the box and spinning in the bag.
To feed a captive boa constrictor, you need to stun its food or it will attack the snake, sometimes hurting or killing it. I swing the bag hoping to make the rat dizzy and stunned but swinging it causes it to break, the rat flies into the air. Missy’s friends sit there looking stunned by all of this. I chase the rat who hits the floor running into the living room. Grabbing the box I chase the rat into the corner of the room and trap him underneath. Regina is sitting on a stool, still on the phone. She has witnessed the feeding of Jasmine on several occasions and this doesn’t faze her in the least. She has however put one finger in her ear so she can hear her conversation.
I dump the contents of the box into another bag, swing it and bring hard down on the counter. Missy’s friends jump up grabbing their things and almost fall over each other trying to get out. I swing the bag again and bring it down even harder. Missy has followed her friends to the door; they are too horrified by what I am doing and suddenly have a million reasons why they have to leave. “Hand me the hammer,” I scream as the rat is fighting for its life. Regina without missing a beat or getting off her stool reaches down into one of the drawers and hands me the hammer. This is so not the way I want this to go and will be one of the reasons I find Jasmine a new home. I don’t have the stomach for this.
Bringing the hammer down hard, the rat stops moving. I grab the end of the bag and drop the rat into Jasmines tank. Wasting no time Jasmine grabs the rat and wraps it up with her body. Missy is now an inch from my face. “Fuck you Geoff, you ruin everything!” she screams and walks into her bedroom slamming the door. The pictures on the wall jump.
Regina and I look at each other.To be continued………..
Geoffrey Doig-Marx holds all written and electronic rights to his writting "". It can not be reprinted in part or whole without his written consent.