TREE

"Story of Rat"

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I am Rat.

I was born at a goat farm in Arkansas. The farm I come from can be located near the small town of Bauxite. It is a beautiful town ,of wooden houses and pines. Some trees flourish only once every two years. The highways are broad and calm. Only few drive this particular highway, mostly to cross the small city of Benton, Arkansas, which Bauxite is sort of a suburb of. When I was a young Rat, I was not yet aware the world were bigger than just Bauxite. I would spend days, many days, gossiping with Cat, a kitten from my farm. Although prepubescent rats and kittens were an unlikely combination for friendship, we were naive and unaware; not yet had it crossed my juvenile mind that cats were supposed to hunt the rats. And neither had it crossed Cat’s mind. To summarize; peace was truly present at this Farm I was born at.

Cat and me would usually avoid the Goats, but in 1972, we spent some time talking to one named ‘9021′. 9021 was a teenage goat, who would label herself to be ‘emo’, or ‘gothic’, according to the magazines. She often complained about popular culture, would cut herself to the barbed wire preventing her to escape, and many times she had specified not liking the Farmer’s music (it was too soft - she called it corny - and ‘happy’). Although sometimes she wasn’t the brightest of the Goats, she was really nice and smart, very much cultured for her age. Often we would talk until nightfall; go to sleep, and repeat this ritual.

There was one thing that Cat, 9021 and me, Rat, all had in common; we hated Dog. We didn’t just hate Dog; we despised him. Dog was very big, muscled, alpha and extremely impolite. Did I already mention he would chase these Goats to the Farmer’s secret dungeon? He would chase them and lure them in, and I can tell you, they never made it out alive. Matter of fact, there’s only one part of the Goat that usually makes it out; a skinned head. A Goat’s head, with its skin detached and a stare of severe horror and despair. These goats had seen the flames of Inferno, and maybe even worse. That’s why we tried to keep away from the Goats, to not attach to them; they all had very short lives anyways. If not, what if we got too close to them and Dog would decide to lure us into the Farmer’s lair? To peace came an end as soon as we met 9021; and the feeling of uncertainty and doubt entered our lives. How close could we get to this Goat before we were also one of Dog’s targets? Although somehow, we could not leave 9021 for dead; this wasn’t a video game to us, this was our real life.

I tried to talk to the Farmer, I tried to convince him of 9021′s intellect and potential. I had told him that she was a very smart and conscious goat, with a rich knowledge of art and history, but he would just cough and ignore. ‘Listen very carefully, my dear Farmer..’ I would commence, ‘this Goat is not just one to kill and sell. This Goat could be a trophy! It could go to high school, participate in spelling competitions, write poems as loyal to God as Claudel and as cruel to men as Bataille.. This Goat, my dear Farmer, could be one of the biggest talents on this Earth.. and It could be credit to your world famous Farm! Here, in the little town of Bauxite, Arkansas..’ This last sentence in particular had captured the Farmer’s attention. You have to keep in mind how hard any form of glory, glamour and fame is to accomplish in the farming world. This bussiness was cruel and passive aggressive, competitive and challenging. He had always told me he was in it for the passion, not the money and fame, but Cat and me, Rat, both knew how weak he was to both the latter.

On the first autumn day of 1973, two weeks before 9021′s birthday, the news broke out; the Farmer had decided to spare her life and make 9021 a star. 9021 would become the first goat star of this Arkansas farm! This special day, we were full of joy and bliss. I would tell all of the animals, even Dog, about what Cat and me had accomplished! We had made the first grand decision of this Farm. We felt like politicians! We felt like we truly mattered, for the first time in our young lives. The next day, the Farmer spoke to Cat and me. ‘Listen, my dear animals, I am leaving for the big city.. I am off to Los Angeles, and I’m taking 9021 with me. If I truly have to make her our first Goat celebrity, I have to go all the way. So, I’m driving off. But do not be sad, I’ll be back in exactly 50 days. All my money I have spent on a hotels, scheduled meetings, gas and advertising. If you watch TV daily, you might see 9021 pass by, and you know that I’ll be thinking of both of you. I will forever keep both of you in my heart, and I wish for you to take very good care of my Farm. As I said earlier, I’ll be back in exactly 50 days. Wait for me, and make sure everything runs smoothly.’ Both Cat and me nodded, and we promised him to take care of the Farm. then he drove off, 9021 waving us goodbye from the back of his truck, and in the breeze of floating, brown leaves, we could see the truck fade into the horizon.

On the 25th day of 9021′s depart, we woke up as usual. Before we had gone to sleep, Cat and me had made a list of what needed to be done. We went downstairs, and turned on the TV. We checked every channel, but there had been no trace of 9021, our most precious Goat. ‘How long does it take for a Goat to become famous?’ I asked to Cat. He shrugged. ‘It should take a bit of time, to develop her connections at least.’ I nodded, but I noticed an awful smell coming from under the wooden floor. It came from the basement. I walked downstairs and noticed the decaying body of Dog. He had hung himself. There were cockroaches crawling in- and out of his putrid, pink flesh. It was truly a shock. As much as we hated Dog, this was an image which is hard to reflect on. Next to the chair he had used, we found a letter.

“Dear Cat and Rat,

as much as I have tormented both of you, I would like to say that I’m sorry. I was bitter and had never thought of the many valuable Goat lives I was terrorizing. However, since the Farmer is gone, things have not been the same. The money is running out, and I can’t afford to feed the Goats anymore. I have held it back from you, but at least 5 of them have died since last week.

Now there is a 6th corpse added to the pile; Mine.

You have tricked the Farmer into saving one goat, but by doing this - both of you have killed many. This is unbearable for me to see, and I would rather end it here then see this precious Farm collapsed; the Bauxite goats extinct, the garden bewildered, the house full of pests and the survivors starving.

My hope for this Farm is gone, and thus my life. I wish you the best on refuging the Farm and finding a nice new place to settle down - for me this thought was complete aversion and repulsion, for both of you there is still hope.

Please keep in mind that I did not die with hatred for both of you in my mind - I have died with only good memories of the Farm pictured in front of me.

I wish both of you the best,

Dog.”

And with this, we had decided; things could not continue with the Farmer gone.

Cat had asked me to go to the big city, hitchhike to Los Angeles and hunt down the Farmer and 9021. Here I went, on my first adventure, and my life would never be the same


I, Rat, had been traveling for days. ... but there it was, and i was in it; Los Angelés.

The sun was stroking my pelt with its tingly rays and tangly heat. My tail was starting to tan and I had been enjoying the scenic palm trees and orangey sunsets. I'd been seeing suburban kids with bright blue ,/pink/green ratso tails and safety pins pierced through their ears! Never had I, Rat, seen something like this. It was hard not get sucked in by the Hollywood aura, and I did end up booking a tour across the Paramount Studios, hell I was even planning to attend a Marlon Brando book signing..... but no!! I couldn’t do it. I had to focus intensely on finding back 9021! I couldn’t slender around, wanderrander through these dusty hills and lumpy beaches. Time was running out, what was I to do if I had to return to Cat empty handed- empty minded. 

As I was buying myself a bottle of scorpionized liquor to get through a hot, sweaty night in the sewers; I met a man. He looked like a human toad, with yellow blisters on his face and big, bumpy eyes, about to burst. He was homeless, and had been talking to many Rats in this sewer. It is something that many Homeless did ; as they were lonely and rejected by everyone! Even the marginalized creatives or trust funded with onl ytiny apartments would leave these Homeless men out of their life.. 

They were no good and they stank! 

But us, the Rats, would very much often listen to their cries of despair, hunger and anger. So , that night, upon drinking , I talked to this particular man. His name was Nekromant, and he had come to Los Angelés from Wyoming to perform in Caryl Churchyl’s play “Owners”. Unfortunately for dear Nekromant, nobody had shown up, and he lost all the money he spent on getting here, no way back was since possible. I asked Nekromant if he still remmembered his lines, maybe itd make him feel worth something, but all he could still remember of the play was; “PRETTY GIRLS HAVE BONES, PRETTY GIRLS EAT WORMS.” 
Now, being a rat very interested in theatre, I must say I have read the Owners numerous times, and there is no such line! Weird. 

So, to continue with the hunt for 9021, I asked Nekromant if he had seen anything. At first, he was talking rubbish (again), but soon enough I noticed that he knew something , as he was able to describe 9021 very accurately. “A goat?” He asked. “I saw a very Beautiful Goat wandering around Venice Beach the other day! It was a goat with white fur,, eyes as blue as Bombay gin, and very sharp, big hooves. God, What am I saying ; wandering? He was driving! A god damn Mercedes-Benz 770, on top of that! The best of the best.” I was shocked! This must’ve been 9021. “Was there a man with the goat? A Farmer-looking man?” I asked. “No, no. Not a single Farmer with this Goat.” I nodded and thanked Nekromant for the help, gave him a few coins, and I headed towards Venice Beach.. If I had to find 9021 or the Farmer, it was only here I had a chance.

Waldo Pardon

WULFY BENZO SKY H1 BLUE STORK, a music event at M.I/mi1glissé on the 14th of January 2016, in Berlin.

M.I

M.I/mi1glissé

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