An Interview with the Ratling Thief


Bayushi James (digging through cupboard): No, no no…not here…no…where the heck…?

Kakita Brent: What are you doing now?

Bayushi James: I could have sworn that I left my Squeezy Cheese around here…

Kakita Brent: Forget about your stupid cheese! We have an ambassador coming here any minute! Sit down and be good.

Bayushi James: Uhhhh…so very, very hungry…

Kakita Brent: You know, some samurai endure days and weeks of fasting on behalf of their lords, WITHOUT COMPLAINT.

Bayushi James: Lion Clan.

Ratling Thief: Greetings, Crane-Crane.

Bayushi James (jumping onto daisho stand): Ahhh! Rats! Big Rats!

Ratling Thief (twitching nose): Now that's hardly-hardly dignified, Scorpion-Scorpion.

Kakita Brent: Will you stop that…you'd think that you'd never seen a six-foot rat from the Shadowlands before.

Bayushi James: …not recently. Get the broom; it probably has some kind of disease.

Ratling Thief: Not diseased! Healthy! We nezumi tired of being made fun of! Nezumi strong, brave friends to samurai!

Kakita Brent: Well, somehow these guys did survive the end of the Yoritomo Alliance, the Shadow, the Brotherhood of Shinsei, and Toturi's Army. At least they've got resilience on their side.

Bayushi James: So did mosquitoes…but you don't see me heaping praise on them!


Kakita Brent: Come on…everyone be calm. Besides, this is our one chance to establish relations between the Dragon and the Nezumi Warrens! Think of the possibilities for learning. We could make an ize nezumi!

Bayushi James: Yeah, I'm sure the Dragon wouldn't want to pass up that opportunity…

Ratling Thief: Humans screw-screw up Empire again. War everywhere.

Bayushi James: So, what's your solution to the current problem?

Ratling Thief: Depose of feudal and religious ideology-ideology; instate method of more equal, democratic system-system, composing equal say for all people and clans-clans. Lower taxes, halt inflation. Stop Lion from killing-killing everything.

Bayushi James: Hmmm…that's not too bad.

Kakita Brent: So, with war erupting everywhere, what are the Nezumi planning to do? I take it you'll be throwing down with your Crab allies?

Ratling Thief: Yes, we like Crab. Crab not hit-hit us with sticks.

Kakita Brent: The system works.

Kakita Bent: Here's a question…you guys live in the Shadowlands, yet you're totally immune to the Taint. How's that work?

Ratling Thief: Ratling healthcare good-good. No overpriced HMO.

Bayushi James: So how come you guys haven't been able to fix that speech impediment- impediment?

Kakita Brent: Will you stop!

Ratling Thief: Masked man-man not so mouthy once I bite off lips-lips.

Bayushi James: Bring it on…hey, is that Squeezy Cheese on your kimono?

Ratling Thief (nervously twitching whiskers): No-no.

Kakita Brent (looking ratling over): O MY KAMI! He's got half the temple stuffed in those pockets!

Bayushi James (cracking knuckles): That's it…he's going down.

Ratling Thief: Wait-wait! Nezumi just…just borrowing from Dragon-Dragon! It not come out of your pay-pay!

Bayushi James: Ha ha…that's where you're wrong! We're not getting paid!

Ratling Thief (blinking): And we at impasse-impasse.

Kakita Brent: I don't get it, little ratling buddy. Why steal from the Dragon? It's not like they've ever done anything to you? What's the deal?

Ratling Thief: Nezumi had no marketable job skills. Trade schools lousy-lousy. All communications and philosophy majors-majors! Live in holes in ground!

Bayushi James: Awww, poor little fellow.

Kakita Brent: Even so, I don't think that we can let him walk off with half the temple. I mean, Hoshi's a nice, reasonable guy, but if we give the Nezumi his ancestral holdings, he'll probably tear us in two…

Bayushi James: Yeah, and that's not something you can bounce back from.

Ratling Thief: Please-please? Help Nezumi to overcome being rats-rats.

Bayushi James: You know, we could get him a cage…a nice wheel…smash some rice into pellets…shred Chris's stupid scrolls to make him a little nest…

Kakita Brent: OH sure, that's what you say now. Then you'd lose interest, and I'd be the one taking care of him all the time. No deal.

Bayushi James: Aww, come on! Please!

Ratling Thief: Yeah, please-please, powder blue man!

Kakita Brent: I said NO! I mean, think about it, James. Having a ratling is a serious responsibility.

Bayushi James (thinking): Yeah, you're right, it would be too much trouble. Let's just kill 'um.

Ratling Thief (fleeing in terror): EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Kakita Brent: Well, at least he dropped our stuff in a frantic effort to escape. You weren't really going to kill the little fella, were you?

Bayushi James: Um…maybe.

Kakita Brent: Just pick this crap up and put it away. Well folks, I guess that takes care of that…though we're probably at war with the Nezumi now.

Bayushi James: Check this stuff out! The Rat had some good crap! Did you know we had salad spoons?

Kakita Brent: Sigh…this never was exactly a dignified job, but this has to be a new low…

The End (For now…)