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The Rat Who Showed Up


Dominic Martia

Eyes closed, she visualized the sprawling Mediterranean style
mansion facing the Gulf of Mexico. It was priced at
$3, 400,000 and worth every penny. On the brokers' tour, she had
strolled through it as though she owned it. While other brokers were in
the kitchen, she was leaning out over the parapet, gazing at the
aquamarine waters of the Gulf. Pure bliss. And then she saw the rat
running along the deck of the verandah. She froze. Then she stomped her
foot. The rat scurried over the edge of the verandah and into the brush.
The Aixles were the perfect couple for the house. She just knew they
would love it. This would be her biggest sale in two years. When she had
them in the house, Connie Aixle oohed and aahed at every turn as they
walked through the vast rooms toward the verandah. Once on the verandah,
Malcolm Aixle breathed deeply and said, "Well Connie, isn't this just
the place to spend our evenings looking out over the Gulf? They loved
it, She had them.

As they were turning to re-enter the dining room, savoring each
breath of fragrant Gulf air, the rat pulled itself up over the
verandah's edge and proceeded to walk across the deck, a few feet from
where they were standing. Connie Aixle screamed. The rat paused to look
at her. Malcolm asked, "Is that what I think it is?" then pushed her and
Connie into the house and slammed the verandah door behind him, leaving
the rat beyond the closed door. The tour was over and so was any hope of
a sale.

That night, drifting off to sleep after hours of agitated stirring,
she heard a persistent thudding against her lanai door, as though
someone were knocking to be admitted into the bedroom. She never knew
whether she awakened from her half-sleep and walked to the door or
whether she dreamed the whole thing. What she did know was that every
day afterwards she remembered herself standing before her lanai door,
looking through its window to the other side, where, repeatedly pushing
against it, was a large black rat.

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