Thursday, July 9, 2009

Rats and Pigeons

Another Rat Sighting, originally uploaded by andy in nyc.

If anything fakes me out more on this ninja search, it’s pigeons. I’ve always disliked the dirty birds, (despite some eerie warm spot they hold in my heart--let's face it, the city wouldn't be the same without them) but now they’ve become more of a nuisance than I could have ever imagined. First off, the city is overrun with them. Secondly, they’re often in high secret places, flying from ledge to ledge, nook to nook, hidden nest to hidden nest, and I can’t stop thinking, as I see a dark moving object in the distance of my peripherals, that maybe, just maybe, it’s a ninja. But it never is—it’s a low down dirty street pigeon settling down for the night or scavenging for food or pooping on everything in sight or doing God knows what else pigeons do with their infinite free time. Maybe the birds aren’t so bad and maybe they are. But they are causing me a specific problem in my hunt; namely, I no longer get excited when I catch a brief glimpse of something—and out there, in the long hours of a night time search, you need that excitement just to get by. Who would have thought that the ninja’s greatest doppelganger would be the lowly pigeon?
And then there’s the rats. New York city is infested with rats. They are giant and sneaky and will bite you. In the alleys, I see them often. They are fast and stealthy. Did you know that there are an estimated X rats in NYC, but how often do you see a rat? You see them, to be sure you see them, but you don’t see that many if there’s actually X rats in the city. They live underground and when they come up to our streets in the dark hours of the nights, they are searching for a secondhand snack in our alleys and, yes, in our houses. When I hear a skittering behind a tin trashcan or a jostling behind a dumpster, I almost want to think it could be a ninja, but I know it’s just another rat looking for an evening meal. And sometimes they make giant shadows on a dead end wall, and my senses fire up in excitement…until I see a long snout emerge from the bulky silhouette. I thought I hated rats before. Compared to rats, the dumb ole pigeons, often dubbed rats with wings, seem like lovable dogs.
I’ve often conversed about the city’s rat problem with my homeless friends, who have a Master’s on the subject. They tell me strange stories by the light of a burning trashcan. We warm our hands and shutter. These are tales of monstrous sightings, red eyed rats the size of cats, and of mass infestations beneath the tunnels where some of the bums once lived, of bold rats, hundreds of them, that will crawl all over you, bite you, kill and eat each other and then in the next instant work like a loyal pack to launch a cumulative attack on you—you, who are just trying to sleep and stay warm and make a home for yourself on these streets that rats are increasingly making claims to as their own.

( Feed a Pigeon; Breed a Rat orignally posted by jasoneppink)

As a hunter, (err well…fan) of ninja, rats interest me for their ability to survive in the city with such prosperity. They grow to such ludicrous sizes (maybe not as big as a cat, but big enough to scare the skin off of you for sure). Perhaps another set of rumors are true, perhaps some rats in NYC have evolved into a unique New York super rat species.
Why is NYC the best place in the world for rats to thrive? I suspect it may be the same exact reason that ninja chose the city as their new den.
(new york rat orignally uploaded by vic15)

--Manhattan Joe!

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