[Disclaimer 1: Any resemblance to real cats and rats, living or dead, is purely coincidental
[Disclaimer 2: Any resemblance to real men or women, living or dead, is purely your imagination]
Location: Animal Kingdom
Venue: Rat colony
Leaders: One senior-most rat head; Two assistant rat heads
Staff: 30 rats
Every Monday morning the Cat visits his team that stays in another location. The agenda of his visit depends solely on his mood. If he has a peaceful week, he’ll joke with the rats, eat, drink and leave. Else, he sits by himself and leaves.
One Sunday evening, as the four rat heads were in deep slumber, they heard a thundering sound at a distance. Irritated, they all rubbed their eyes and sat up. As the disturbance persisted and the melee sounds increased by the minute, one of the junior heads volunteered to check it out.
He stepped out and began walking in the direction of the noise. From a distance he saw his Boss – The Cat standing in the center surrounded by leaders of the animal kingdom. All the leaders were animatedly speaking.
The junior rat head strained his ears, from under the tree about 200 yards away. He feared going any nearer. After a while of spying, he heard the mention of the name rat. That’s it! He scurried back to his colleagues.
Panting and ranting, he said: “We are in trouble. Our boss is being questioned… they are blaming us ….something we did wrong...”
The four rat heads jumped up wide alert.
“Why didn’t you hang around until you learnt what the issue is? asked the worried senior-most.
“What if I was caught spying? Why don’t you make a visit, sir. You have the authority?”
“I guess I know what it’s about. The boss was talking of surprise checks by the King to all colonies beginning next month. I’m sure they visited us last night while we were asleep and found our colony dirty…”
“Why didn’t you tell us senior-most?” shrieked rat head no. 1.
“Yeah, I would have ensured the rats tidied up the place, but I didn’t know either,” said rat head no.2.
“I would have spared no effort in training all mice to behave well, only if I had known,” sighed rat head no.1.
“Now what do we do? The cat will surely torture us tomorrow,” cried the two rat heads. “I’m already feeling sick,” said one, when senior-most snapped: “No one is falling sick. I want both of you with me tomorrow.”
“Now both of you go and ask your respective teams why they dirtied boss’s cabin and the visiting area. We’ll discuss the matter in the afternoon meeting. We need a strategy by the time the boss comes tomorrow,” ordered senior-most. “Ideally, we need to sack at least one.”
Rat head no. 1 calls his staff for an urgent meeting and starts his monologue. “I have told you numerous times, not to step into boss’s cabin or the visiting area. And if you do, to tidy it up. The in-house colony rule says all of you are equally responsible to keep both the places clean at all times…”
“We never go there. You only told us not to venture into those places without you,” said one.
“Yes, you don’t have to remind me what I said. Now I want to know why you guys didn’t clean up the place.”
“But when did it get dirty. And how can we know it got dirty…”
“Shut up. All of you will face the music tomorrow when the Big Boss comes,” said rat head no 1 and walked away.
Rat head no.2 also calls his team for an SOS meeting. He just informs them that the Big Boss is unhappy that his cabin and the visiting area were dirty when the King visited the colony the previous night.
“So all of you must be prepared for a dressing down tomorrow. If the Big Boss calls any of you, please own up your crime,” he said and walked away without entertaining any discussion.
The rats huddle and gossip. Rats from team two tell others that the King had visited their colony.
If they knew the King was visiting, they should have told us, opined some. And all the others nodded. When one of them said, “But who dirtied the places?”
“None of us have access to the place,” said another.
“Exactly”, all chorused.
“You know what, I saw senior-most take his four friends there. They were all sitting and boozing,” whispered Naughty.
“OMG! Were our heads there as well,” asked one innocently.
“No those two idiots were sleeping,” replied Naughty.
“But how can you be so sure,” asked Wise.
“I had gone out to pee, that’s when I heard some laughter. So I tip-toed and sneaked through the door and I saw them. But listen, no one is telling them I was out that night. We need to stand united.”
“Yes. Yes. We are all united,” They said in chorus.
Meanwhile, the two rat heads met behind closed doors. “What do you think is the real issue?” asked no. 1.
“Whatever the issue, senior-most will try to blame us. We need to stand united,” asserted no.2. “He is very dodgy when it comes to owning up,” he added.
“Let’s go meet with him. We need to know how Big Boss can bring the King without telling us. After all, it’s his prestige issue, as well.
Senior-most avoided them the whole day citing various reasons.
The next day Boss – The Cat arrived. The entire colony was shrouded in an eerie silence. Senior-most followed his boss to the cabin, as the two heads stood giving threatening looks at their teams.
“Give me a few minutes, senior-most. I’ll call you. BTW, are all in today?” he asked.
Seeing senior-most walk out, the two heads run to him.
“He’s real serious. He wants to meet everyone. He asked me if all are in. Call everyone to the lobby,” he said and walked towards his room.
Meanwhile, Slimy slipped in behind senior-most and said, “How are you Sir?”
“Not fine at all, Slimy. We are in deep shit.”
“I hear so, Sir. But you know what that Naughty is spreading rumours about you. You should be careful. I thought, I’ll alert you…”
Senior-most gives a commanding look to the rats in the lobby. He said: “All those who were on duty on Sunday will be penalized for not cleaning up boss’s cabin and the visiting area.”
“But, we are not allowed in there, Sir,” shouted out one.
“I don’t want any excuses. Don’t you all know the rules of our colony? How many times should I reiterate? When you see the places are dirty it is your duty to get it cleaned. Your heads have a hundred other things to take care of. It is your duty to inform them and ask permission to do the cleaning. Ultimately, it’s your responsibility.”
“But how who dirtied the place, Sir,” asked slimy cheekily.
“That’s something I’ll tackle later. First I need to pacify the Boss before he blows our heads off.”
“The rota says Group 5 was on duty on Sunday. So I’m forced to suspend white mouse– the supervisor of the group – for a week.”
“How can you do this to me,” cried white-mouse.
“I was given strict instructions by rat head no1 and 2 that I’m not supposed to cover Boss’s cabin and visiting area because they are executive locations, and that the heads themselves will take care of those places.”
“When did we say that,” asked the heads in unison.
“Is that clause written in our rule book, white-mouse,” asked senior-most.
“Then what audacity do you have to blame your heads!”
“Now please go to The Boss and apologise before he summons you. Otherwise your arse is on the firing line. Meeting dispersed.”
All scurry away leaving white-mouse wondering what has befallen him.
As white-mouse sat analyzing the events, Boss - The Cat passes by. Seeing him alone, he asked: “What happened white-mouse. Aren’t you keeping well?”
“I..i..imm ff fine Boss,” he shivered.
“Go tell senior-most that I need to address the colony now. Rush,” Boss- The Cat said.
“Boss, I’m sorry. I will see your place is neat at all times hereafter…please….”
The Cat cut him short and said: “Oh! so you are in-charge of my cabin. I’m impressed. My cabin is well maintained. Good job. Now rush and call everyone for the meeting.”
When Boss- The Cat arrived at the podium, senior-most huddled beside and whispered, “Boss, I’ve already taken action against the rat responsible for dirtying the place…”
“Don’t involve me in such trivial matters, senior-most,’ The Cat spat and turned to address the rats.
“Good morning everyone,
“I will not take much of your time. I know it’s early morning on a week day and all of you are busy. I called to inform you that all of you need to be vigilant while roaming out. There are rogues in the kingdom. The King and other colony bosses are trying all their best to nab them. Meanwhile, it’s up to us to stay safe.
“Did you’ll hear a thundering sound yesterday noon?” asked Boss – The Cat.
“Yes boss,” chorused the rats, while the two heads glanced at senior-most.
“Well, as we were holding our annual budget meeting under the banyan tree, a huge branch fell down. Apparently it was half sawed. That’s when the Dog Boss said his people have been complaining of thieves roaming around stealing wood. Luckily, I managed with minimum injury.
“Anything else you would want to bring to my notice?”
White-mouse got up and asked: “Are verbal orders to be followed, because...”
“Sit down, white-mouse. Boss- The Cat has no time for your stupid doubts,” yelled senior-most and turned to The Boss and said: “Nothing, boss.”
“Good. Stay safe. BTW, I have a bit of disappointing news. I know how eager you all are to meet the King. The King was scheduled to visit our colony next month, but now the plan is indefinitely postponed, until the thieves are caught.”
“Have a nice day. And please be safe.”
Boss – The Cat takes leave. Senior-most escorts him to the door. The rats walk back abusing their heads. The two heads sit back cursing senior-most.