Johnny Bag O' Doughnuts
Scientists observed rats running free immediately after atomic detonations. Decades of pesticides have produced super immune poison resistance in generations of rats. In large urban centers such as New York reports indicate rats live in collective nests of upward of a billion members. Thousands of deaths as recent as two months ago, in India, were attributed to rat populations overrunning garbage sites. Spreading disease from one city to another from the depths of human refuse. Our excretement is their glory.
This all comes to forefront of my brain as I recycle my sixth bag of aluminum cans and pause to think about the park down the street. The recurring incident that has angered neighbors and officials alike. An ironic occurrence indeed. But that's another twisted tale born of this frequent escapade.
Some sick park visitor is feeding a few rats residing in a mound cavity. His perverted excursions (it's assumed only a man would be this degraded) have caused the rats to become braver in their explorations of the park. Parents confine children to living rooms for fear of rabies or worse. At press time this lunatic has not been identified. What remains as evidence is a small white bag of partially eaten doughnuts at the mouth of a fist-sized hole in the dirt mound. And tiny footprints mocking the hostility of park supervisors. Basically mocking you and me.
We are living in an era of easy excuses for every act of irresponsibility known to exist. Ever since a white Ford bronco sped down a crowded highway, therapists have captured the nation's attention with wild theories of deep-seated dysfunction and delirium. Again the excuse rises its unwashed head. The local university shrink has made a name for himself on local news and cable channels. Charting the mind of the secret park pervert, now vilely labeled "Johnny Bag O' Doughnuts." He even toured the local bakeries with news cameras interviewing bakers about possible leads to "Johnny's" identity. With doughnut in mouth the shrink smirks before the audience and spells out his "delicious" psychological assumptions.
Our press and police, benighted with anything beyond simple graft or gossip, welcome this limp analysis without reservation. It now serves as an expert profile of a poor soul in search of companionship. So say the papers that have made a crusade of blaming social policies for causing "Johnny Bag O' Doughnuts to seek out rats as friends." Editorializing the ill treatment of senior citizens in America while bashing Wall Street, Bourbon Street, Main Street and any other street able to fill the spaces between Geritol and Depends ads.
Comic strips have included a caped-geezer called "Ratman" in their sketch cells. A horrible creation produced by an overly youth-oriented culture that builds nursing homes to hide pimple-faced consumer’s eventual fate. While all this pseudo-sermonizing wastes time the rat lover remains free and anonymous. He’s strengthening a colony of filthy creatures five yards away from a pre-school. Where a four-year old Spanish-speaking girl was bit in a gated school playground by a rat bigger than a breadbox. Probably attracted to the girl's half-opened lunch pail.
Unfortunately it took a terrified young girl's punctured calf to intensify the manhunt. The jokes and gerrymandered psycho-jargon came to a halt. Stakeout teams in unmarked cars waited with coffee and rolls in hand. If the weirdo showed up, his rat-loving butt was theirs. The public mood was sour. Angry fathers walked their dogs at night and spat out vigilante verses.
Several times detectives were forced to shoo away crowbar carrying citizens. Threats and counter-threats further stifled the humid spring air. Photographers bent in bushes were beaten by local bar patrons. Sidewalks were littered with black plastic film containers, camera parts and blood droplets.
The growing attention brought the area a nasty nickname "Fangville." Residents demanded the freak in custody; brought to a mental hospital, padded walls and all. But it quickly became a raging circus. And Johnny Bag O'Doughnuts (or whatever his real name is) was no blind man. He never did show up. And the unmarked cars dwindled down to an extra night patrolman swinging a stick and tune.
Huge rats started appearing in people's basements. Drinking puddles of stale rainwater left after a recent down pour. Two heart attacks were reported in less than two weeks. The Sanitation Department first stuff cakes laced with powerful poisons in the mound hole. Nothing doing. The rats scrambled on as usual. Grounds keepers dug up the mound, armed with pitchforks to stab the critters. None were present. The mound was completely covered up only to be freshly broke open the next morning. A new hole cut a foot away from a small white bag of nearly finished doughnuts.
The City bought ad space to appeal to Johnny to turn himself in. They promised understanding and a suspended sentence -- but no can do. At least twice a week a small white bag of doughnuts was placed at the mouth of a hole that became two holes. There was no money in the City budget for round-the-clock electronic surveillance. Local pest-control companies repeatedly failed to capitalize on the publicity by claiming their company would be the first to silence the menaces. Poisons, traps, tricks and dammed Halloween treats could not arrest the rate of rat population growth.
Yesterday a few high-ranking city officials, including the mayor herself, made a trip to the state capital to plead for state or federal assistance. Full grown red-eyed rats were popping up daily on top of refrigerators. The public was beyond digested. Some took the law into their own hands and assaulted an elderly gentleman feeding pigeons two blocks away from the park. He was a Lutheran priest and quick to forgive the lynch mob. No arrests were made.
I don't know whom I despise more, the fat rat sitting atop my computer monitor, the rat man-at-large, or the gall of price-gouging hardware stores charging $10 a rattrap. Johnny Bag O' Doughnuts wherever you are -- you deserve at least some credit. I can't recall in twenty-two years this much neighborly cooperation.
People are actually talking to one another. Trading rat poison tips and asking about the children. Church attendance is up 22%. I'm not qualified to comment if recent events are examples of the last signs in the Book of Revelations. But I have to say God does work in mysterious ways.