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Death of a Rat

Facebook tells me Dan Schanbacher’s birthday was the other day. That brought to mind some memories, here’s what I wrote on Facebook:

You know, I still think about the time we gave that funeral to your rat, and you wrote a short story about it for class, and no one believed the events actually occurred….

For those of you who weren’t there, which is all the rest of you, Dan’s pet rat died one evening. We decided his pet needed a decently spectacular funeral. At the time I had a big van and some kerosene (long story there). We loaded the rat in his wooden cage into the van and drove out to one of those big bridges in Schenley Park. Heaved the cage onto the edge of the bridge, used the kerosene to light it on fire, said a few words and sent him over the edge!

The end result was not as pleasing as the Viking Funeral we gave to my cat Zoe many years later. The cage splashed down in the swampy morass of trash and algae, 100 yards or so underneath us in the ravine, the condition of which said so much about the industrial collapse of the city of Pittsburgh.

We watched the cage burn for a bit, then moved on to our uncertain futures.

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