The Brass Rat
A man wanders into a dusty curio shop in a city by the sea. There he meets an ancient shopkeeper who invites him to browse, and he soon discovers a brass rat sitting alone upon a shelf.
"How much?" He inquires, as he picks up the object and examines it.
"Twenty dollar for brass rat.” The man says, bowing low.
“And twenty-thousand dollar for very mysterious story."
"Then I shall take the rat," He replies, and he pays and leaves with his acquisition.
After traveling a few blocks, he notices rats scampering on the sidewalk behind him. Live, large rats begin to pour forth from alleys, doorways and from gutters, and they begin following the man. Before much further, their amount reaches into the hundreds; and then thousands. Becoming at first fearful, he hurries his pace along, but the hoards only increase, along with his fright.
He suddenly finds himself trapped at the edge of a wharf, cut off by the tens of thousands of squeaking vermin, and in a desperate attempt to escape, and while still clutching his procured brass rat, he climbs to the top of a wooded pier post. Rats at the base then fight and bite at each other for their purchase on the pole.
He clings at the top and watches in horror as they begin scrambling his way, their countless beady eyes all focused on him.
The heavy brass rat then accidentally slips from the poor man’s grasp. It tumbles down across the backs of the undulating mound of teeming rodents, and then it falls into the sea with a loud splash.
In an instant, the horde next begins to surge over the edge of the wharf, plunging in after the brass rat. Stunned, he watches as thousands upon thousands take to the water and drown, and in mere minutes, all becomes still on the dock.
Later, he returns to the curio shop and its wizened shopkeeper. The bell over the door tinkles softly as he enters.
"You back for twenty-thousand dollar story, mister?"
"No. But I do want to know if you have any brass lawyers for sale."