IN THE TRADITION OF THE BERENSTAIN BEARS COME AMERICA’S
MOST BELOVED FAMILY OF RATS WITH LESSONS THE WHOLE FAMILY CAN LOVE 🙂
It was a beautiful sunny day in Ratville. All the delightful sounds of spring filled the air. Robins chirped in the branches of sycamore trees. Bluejays chortled at passing finches, which whistled delightfully, and butterflies fluttered on the warming air currents all over Rat Valley.
It was also the time of year Ratville High produced an immense theater experience. This year it was going to be Fleas & Ticks—one of Sissy Rat’s all-time favorites.
Sissy Rat wanted to play the lead role of Esmeralda more than anything else, so she practiced for weeks getting the lyrics memorized and the tunes in shape, even though her singing gave her brother an assache!
Sissy knew she would be great in the lead role of Esmeralda. Esmeralda was the kindest rat in the whole world.
So was Sissy!
Oftentimes, she brought Mama breakfast in bed, usually a single unpeeled banana. That’s how kind Sissy Rat was!
But Esmeralda was also the hottest rat in the whole world. And Sissy. . . she wasn’t. Sissy was. . . well, ‘lumpen’ would be a good word. Or, another, simply, might be. . . ‘ugly’.
A lot of the rat girls in her school even made fun of her and her ugly protruding hot pink nipples.
Sissy Rat’s nipples projected from the bed of coarse rat hair on her belly, sometimes stiffly, sometimes flaccidly, and always ugly-ly.
Sissy’s biggest rival, Tammy Fay, was beautiful like Esmeralda, and she didn’t have the nipple problems Sissy did. Tammy Fay had cute ears, eight bulging breasts topped with with delectable pale pink nipples, and sharp, elegant claws. What wasn’t to <3!
Everyone was saying Tammy Fay would be perfect to play Esmeralda because they were both so beautiful. Nary a person mentioned how vastly different were Esmeralda and Tammy Fay’s personalities. Everyone was saying Tammy Fay was so beautiful. Everyone was agreeing with everyone else on the topic of Tammy Fat’s beauty. No one listened to Sissy’s argument.
Or said a word about her.
If Tammy Fay gets the part over me, Sissy told herself, I’ll. . . I’ll. . . I’ll do something drastic!
One evening when Sissy had gotten particularly worked up over the injustices of high school politics, her father, Papa Rat, attempted to make her feel better.
“If you think you’re going to get somewhere just because you work hard, dream on,” Papa told her while he sat beside the hearth reading from his newspaper. “Fat chance, is what I say. The world moves on sex and money. Not talent.”
“What should I do?” Sissy Rat asked.
Before Papa could continue, Mama Rat appeared from the kitchen, having overheard Papa’s guidance. “You know what the good lord says—ask and you shall receive,” Mama Rat said to Sissy.
“Does it really work like that?” Sissy Rat asked giddily.
“No!” Papa said.
“Everything I ever asked the lord, he provided,” Mama Rat patiently told Sissy. “I’d always wanted a husband, a nice place to live, and a family—and, thanks to the Lord’s generosity, I got exactly what I wanted.”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” said Papa, “quit filling that child’s head with bullshit! Everyone has that. That’s just normal. Come here, Sissy. I’ll tell you how the world really works.”
Papa Rat proceeded to explain, “You’re old enough to hear the truth. . . No matter how good you are, no matter how hard you try, the rat with the prettiest face and the most money always wins. Think I’m lying? Take a look at Ratville. Do you see one poor or ugly rat in a position of authority? No. Our whole society is set up to help pretty rats with money beat down rats with real talent. I go through this every day. No matter how hard I try, I will never go as far as that little ASSWIPE—”
“Your boss?” Sissy asked for reasons of clarification.
“Yeah,” Papa said, “my ‘boss’. And it’s all because his daddy has money. The world is not all sunshine and rainbows, the way your mother thinks it is. You just remember that, kiddo.”
Sissy didn’t know who to listen to. Sometimes, life is just so confusing, she thought.
A couple days later, the theater doors opened for auditions. Sissy Rat sang her heart raw. She’d never sang better, or put so much effort as she did for the part of Esmeralda!
She belted out lyrics like “You make me feel so good when you suck on my nipples” and “I got a feverrrrrrr, an infectious feverrrrrr”!
But when she finished breathlessly, she couldn’t tell how well she had done. Jacques Rat, the director, was so professional there in the stands capped with a black beret.
“Next!” was all he said.
But Sissy knew she’d done better than Tammy Fay. Tammy Fay had just stood up on stage, forgot the lyrics, and giggled.
When Sissy got home, everyone wanted to know how she’d done.
“Did you stink up the stage?” Brother asked. “You stunk, didn’t you?”
“Did you kiss the director’s ass like I told you?” Papa asked. “That’s how you move up in the real world.”
“I’m sure you did fine,” Mama said finally. “I’m proud of you for trying so hard.”
“I think I did pretty good,” Sissy admitted, but she didn’t dare let her true feelings show. “I figure if I’m the best, the director will pick me.”
Papa lowered his head. “Then you’re fucked.”
Later, at bedtime, Sissy’s confidence rattled a little. She told Mama she was nervous about getting the part. “I sang better than Tammy Fay,” Sissy said. “She even forgot the words, but she’s so beautiful. Everybody likes looking at her, even if she can’t act. Do I even stand a chance?”
“Of course, you do,” Mama said.
“Do you think Papa’s right?”
“Your father is an old curmudgeon. As long as you did your best, I am sure you will get the part.”
Unbeknownst to the two female members of the Rat family, Papa Rat had taken up residence at Sissy’s bedroom door, listening to what he considered superstitious blather.
“Don’t get your hopes up,” he said. “That’s my advice. I’m not trying to be harsh, but this world is one big disappointment. It doesn’t matter how good you are, it’s all about looks. I’m sorry to be the one who tells you this, but since no one else will be honest with you, if you don’t look like Tammy Fay, you don’t have a shot in this world, kiddo.”
Poor Sissy Rat slumped in her bed.
The next morning, Mama took Sissy to the little nook where the Rat family kept religious paraphernalia.
“Now,” Mama said, “you listen to me. Your father thinks the way he does because he works with a bunch of immoral heathen. But, I know what I’ve seen. If you trust in the lord, you shall prevail. I’ve seen it before. . . Miracles!”
Mama added with a searing intensity, “Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to say a prayer or two!”
Once Sissy heard this, she spent all day on her knees in front of the paraphernalia. Praying to the lord. . .
“Please, lord,” she said, “give me what I want and I promise never to have sex. . .”
She went on praying and praying and praying and swore to the Lord that if He gave her the part she’d remain an ever faithful virgin.
Friday was a perfect day in Ratville. All the delightful sounds of spring filled the air. Robins chirped in the branches of sycamore trees. Bluejays chortled at passing finches, which whistled delightfully, and butterflies fluttered on the warming air currents all over Rat Valley.
Friday was perfect, that is, until Sissy got to the front doors of Ratville High School, because Tammy Fay was waiting there for her. Once Sissy got close enough, Tammy Fay jeered her.
“You really think you have the goods to compete with this?” Tammy Fay asked, puffing up her eight bulging rat boobs.
One look at those glowing rat knockers and Siss scurried away to the bathroom. One look at her face, distorted in a rippled mirror speckled with pimple puss, and Sissy Rat wanted to barf all over the school. While Tammy Fay was beautiful, Sissy Rat was ugly. Plain. Frumpy.
Instead of bargains everywhere, Sissy showed some class. She retreated to a fecal-stained stall where she produced copious amounts of briny eye dribblings into the padded palms of her forelimbs.
But she was still up for the part of Esmeralda, and that gave her hope. Maybe, at the end of the day, the better rat would win?
At the end of the day, Jacques Rat posted the cast list. Sissy Rat barged her way through the halls until she arrived at the theater doors. And there it was, taped with a single rectangle of cheap tape in front of the theater—the cast list.
Sissy searched frantically for her name, only to see the nightmarish truth. . .
Esmeralda had been given to—
It wasn’t fair! She’d practiced! She’d sang better than Tammy Fay! She’d even prayed! And made a pact with the lord! Promised Him her virginity!
Still, Tammy Fay had gotten the part!
Sissy Rat cried as she slumped through the halls.
For the next few days, Sissy Rat grew more and more depressed. Neither Mama nor Papa Rat could bring her out of her mood. One night, Sissy got out of bed so upset with the world she raised her hands up to the sky and said, “I promised you if you gave me the part, I’d obey your law and never have sex! Now, since you’ve shown yourself to be fraudulent, I’m going to be the biggest slut in the history of Ratville!”
Sissy picked up the phone and called Tammy Fay’s younger brother. Even though it was three in the morning, she asked him one question: “Wanna fuck?”