Zere weel always be rat in ze wurld, Julien said.
To Julien, rat - like fish - is plural. He was talking about Ratface, my detested co-worker. I call him Ratface because he looks like a rat... but tell me, is it a coincidence that he also acts like a one? Or is character genetically prescribed preordained blah blah blah. Bullshit. He’s a rat because he likes being a rat. You come in five minutes late – bang! – not the early bird are we Labas. You forget to do something – bang! – hello, are we awake in there? You’re just doing your job, just minding your own business, –bang! Ratface has an angle – gee, we aren’t very ambitious are we? Always WE. Never you. And always unoriginal. Ratface never improvises. To my face he calls me Labas, but sloppily and strangely and he knows it. To others he refers to me as onze Balkan vriend (our Balkan friend), but do not be deceived, he’s a multi-layered rat, a rat with depth, a cunning, loose-boned little creature liable to slink under your monitor to check if your “doing work” (gmail, huh?). He has a pen he always plays with, prodding the wax in his ear, and he takes eon-long breaks. God knows where, doing God knows what. I suspect him. I suspect this man. The other day I begged Fer Ruiz from payroll to give me some dirt. Anything. He refused, calling me out on my Pinochettian tactics. He was right. So I dropped it. Then last night, after a long rant, Goni said to me,
If he upsets you so much just stick some stuff in his soup.
What’d you mean, Gon, like poison?
No, not poison. Of course not.
Well what are you talking about then, cheese?
She meant poison. She totally meant rat poison (go Goni!). Imagine shaking a box of that stuff into his minestrone.
Gee Ratface, are we having a nice lunch?