Once upon a time, in a cage which was the envy of rodents everywhere, lived two sneaky rats called Rocky and Tazzy. During the day, Rocky and Tazzy appeared to be two ordinary rodents, scooting up ramps, running in their wheel, twitching their whiskers and putting their paws against their metal cage when their owners came over to pet them or give them food.
In fact, the rodents had perfected the art of appearing like normal, everyday rats. But, by night, Rocky and Tazzy became two of the biggest criminal masterminds the world had ever known. Well, not yet. But, soon. Yes, SOON they would be two of the biggest criminal masterminds the world had ever known. There was just one thing standing in their way: Big Boss.
Big Boss owned the cage in which Rocky and Tazzy lived, which meant that he owned them as well. He was an enormous rat who sat in the corner of the cage eating chicken bones and barking orders at the two rats as if they were his slaves. “Go and fetch me a bowl of that muck you call food,” Big Boss would say, and Rocky and Tazzy would reluctantly follow his orders. “Rub my feet!” he would demand, and Rocky and Tazzy would quickly paper-scissors-rock to see who was to be the unlucky one for that night. Big Boss didn’t do any exercise, he didn’t jog in their colourful wheel or run up any of the ramps in their cage, he just sat and ate all day long.
Little did Big Boss know, it would be his desire to remain a slob that would be his undoing in the end.
Rocky and Tazzy were busy picking bits of dirt off each other when Big Boss summoned them to his corner of the cage. “I’m not sure you two sorry rodents are ready for it, but I have a job for you.” Rocky and Tazzy were intrigued as they sat down, ready to listen. “While you two were busy getting your beauty sleep last night, I was busy listening to what the humans of the house had to say.”
“What did they say, Big Boss?” asked Rocky
“Yeah, tell us what they said!” echoed Tazzy
“If you’re quiet for longer than two seconds, I’ll tell you what they said.”
Big Boss paused to rip up a piece of the newspaper lining the floor of the rat cage and wiped some of the grease away from his mouth. “They spoke of a giant steak. Biggest one they’ve ever bought they said. Had to make room for it in their freezer they said. Leave it out to thaw on the kitchen bench under a bowl they said.” Big Boss let out a loud burp and wiped his face again. “And you’re going to get it for me.”
Rocky and Tazzy looked at each other. They knew this was their big moment, a way to get into the good books with Big Boss.
“Sure, we’ll get it for you, Big Boss,” said Rocky enthusiastically.
“Yeah, anything you want Big Boss,” echoed Tazzy.
“Of course you’ll get it for me!” thundered Big Boss. “I wasn’t asking, I was telling. “But”, he softened, “I won’t let your hard work go unnoticed, so, I’ll pay you. 4 chicken bones each for a night’s work.”
Rocky and Tazzy told Big Boss they were happy with the deal and walked to the other side of the cage to hatch a way to get the steak. As far as Big Boss knew, his clever plan was in place. But was it?
That night, Rocky and Tazzy went over the operation one last time and, as the final light was switched off in the house, they went to work. First, they had to escape from their cage, so they took an old chicken bone, just as they done many times before, and used it to hold open the spring door to their cage.
They climbed out of their cage and scurried down the legs of the table where their cage sat and, hiding behind one leg each, they took a minute to review the plan once again. Now they faced their first big obstacle: Ashes the Cat. She was as sneaky as she was vicious and the two of them had to move quickly if they wanted to outsmart a cat.
On the count of three, they sneaked out from behind their hiding spots and ran up the kitchen bench as fast as they could. They lifted the bowl and saw a steak as big as a dinner plate wrapped in butcher’s paper. So far, so good but just as they were about to pick it up to carry it back down the bench, Ashes appeared out of nowhere, jumped up on the table, teeth bared and hissing as loud as she could.
“Throw it!” yelled Tazzy. “I’m trying,’ Rocky gasped. With all their strength, the two rodents picked up the huge steak and with a heave-ho, tossed it behind the pot plant on the floor beneath their cage. Better still, to confuse the angry cat, the two rodents cleverly ran in separate directions as fast as their short rodent legs could carry them. This way, that way, Rocky and Tazzy were already on the floor before Ashes figured out what had happened. They rushed behind the pot plant, grabbed the package and scurried their way back up into the cage, slamming the cage door behind them.
They had pulled it off and Rocky and Tazzy ceremoniously placed the steak down in front of Big Boss. Laughing, he turned to the rodents. “Ahhhh, now that was entertaining! Good job boys! Really good job! Now, let’s see what this beauty looks like!”
As Big Boss tore open the butcher’s packaging around his steak, Rocky and Tazzy backed away, edging closer and closer towards their cage door. With his lips smacking, Big Boss unwrapped his prize but then, suddenly, his face dropped. Instead of a giant, juicy steak, he put his paw inside the package and lifted out four pieces of bread!
Big Boss scowled with rage as he turned his eyes slowly to Rocky and Tazzy, who by now had a leg each out of the cage door. Slowly he stood up and lumbered after them, his huge rodent body swaying. The two rodents followed their same exit plan, again scurrying down the legs of the table with Big Boss gaining on them. “You better stop running!” cried Big Boss, as he struggled to catch his breath.
Always ones to follow orders, Rocky and Tazzy turned around defiantly to face the large rodent, now puffing at the base of the table. “I don’t know who you think you are, but…” Big Boss was interrupted by the vision of Ashes stalking up behind Rocky and Tazzy. The three of them stared at the looming cat before Rocky yelled, “You better START running, Big Boss!”
“Yeah!” echoed Tazzy, “You better start running!”
Ashes turned towards Big Boss as he stood there, frozen, watching as the cat came closer and closer. The black and white cat towered over Big Boss and let out a very loud, “Reeeeeooooowwwww!”
Big Boss found a sudden burst of energy as he ran off as fast he could. Rocky, Tazzy and even Ashes burst into laughter at the sight of their former boss sliding his big fat rodent body over the floor, trying to get away.
“I don’t think he’s coming back in a hurry,” said Rocky
“Yeah, he ain’t coming back in a hurry,” echoed Tazzy
You see, the two scheming rodents had planned all along to outwit Big Boss. They went behind the pot plant and threw Ashes, who was in on the plot, the largest piece of steak he had ever seen. She slumped herself down beside the steak and purred with contentment as she licked it with her pink tongue.
The two rodents were overjoyed. The cunning plot had worked. “Now, THAT’S a good night’s work,” said Rocky. “Sure was a good night’s work!” echoed Tazzy, and the two Rodents were never bullied by Big Boss again.