Swimming in the foggy dusk at Willard Jr. High, PP stops and pauses to put on her fins, spacing out at the far end of the pool. Spies a gray round scurrying fuzzy ball under the benches next to the ivy hillside on the opposite side of the pool.

Shit. Is that a RAT?
PP slips on her fins and swims to get a closer look. Reaching the end, she pulls herself up slightly onto the deck and ….yup…it’s a BIG RAT!

Should she say anything to the always distracted lifeguards? (One is haphazardly sweeping, the other is messing with his goddamn cell phone.)

PP sighs. Decides against notifying the authorities as “Willard” slithers under the bench and into some secret hideaway in the rocky wall. (Remember that movie? ) O H brings it up later that evening. All those RATS on the wild; lose & killing and maiming small children? Or is that just PP’s fantasy? Anyway, it’s pretty funny that she’s swimming at Willard Pool and Willard the Rat is the pool guardian.

As she swims back to the other side, PP thinks how she’s really glad that she didn’t put her clothes and towel next to Willard’s Spot. EEEGADS! Imagine! Taking up your green pool bag and hanging it up in the locker room and then taking your shower, drying off, reaching for your jeans and out pops….

PP definitely has that Female Archetypal fear of rodents! Remembers the time she was sitting on the toilet at Avenue Books, can you be more vulnerable? When suddenly a little mouse, (Not a Big Willard) had run out from under the floorboards and between her legs.

A murderous shriek does not even begin to describe her reaction.

So, now, when she envisions Willard in her pants….well….she’s just supurr glad that her jeans are on the other side of the pool!

Later that evening, she goes to the Chandler apt to have dinner with her Ex, the infamous author/poet/ book clerk Owen Hell (Typo, but PP likes it) and he reminds her of the movie Willard. They start laughing as PP begins to imagine how the Rats are gonna take over the pool once it’s closed.

OH joins in. “They can have little relay races.”
PP giggles.
“And you can call them Rat Races!” he continues.
PP claps in delight. “And they can have little Rat Water Aerobics, and Rat Family Swims, and Rat Swim lessons and Rat WSI Classes and Rat Pool Birthday Parties….
Why no wonder it’s called Willard Pool!” PP exclaims.

The Rats RULE after dark!

Later, OH takes PP home, driving down a Darkened Telegraph Ave past Willard Pool. The both smile.

“Wonder what the Rats are up to right now?” PP muses.
“Oh, they’re just having some RAT Margaritas at the Rat Swim Up Bar and then dancing the Rat Dance under the Pool Covers!” O guesses.

Cracking up, they wait for the signal to turn. PP glances back at Willard Pool.
Was that a disco beat she heard? A flashing strobe light? Fireworks?

Hell, those RATS know how to party when the Pool Puss is away!


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