Tartar the Rat: Operation Pizza
“Tartar the Rat: Operation Pizza” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Andrej Galinac, Glenhaven Senior Public School, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
Tartar the Rat: Operation Pizza
Out on the streets of New York City, a little rat named Tartar scurried past the many civilians walking about on a bright sunny day. Nobody out on the street that day knew it, but Tartar was one of the most intelligent rats on the planet. He could do many things, and he could even talk. As he continued to scurry along, he noticed a strange triangular object lying on the sidewalk. Now what’s this? It certainly smells nice” Tartar thought. Suddenly a large hand came down and picked it up, “It’s disgusting how people litter like this!” the man said. He then went on to throw it into a garbage can, which was conveniently within reach. Tartar wanted that, whatever it was.
Tartar then noticed something interesting, just ahead of him was a restaurant selling these triangular pieces. Tartar went to go up to take a look and overhead it read “Tony’s Pizza”. Maybe I could order one?” Tartar thought. Tartar went inside stealthily and came up to the counter and hid behind a plant nearby.
“This ghost here would like some pizza!” Tartar yelled, the room then fell silent and the owner came up to see who said that.
“This isn’t funny kid!” the owner exclaimed.
“Please don’t call the Ghost busters! All I want is some pizza!” Tartar replied.
The room burst into laughter, the only one who didn’t laugh was the owner. “Whoever that is, they have a great sense of humour!” one customer said. “Can I have the pizza or not!” Tartar yelled. “No” the owner replied. “You know what, let me just leave a slice of pizza on the ground, and it’ll float away!” one customer said, trying to contain her laughter. The customer was serious, and put it on the ground, and all eyes were fixed on it. Tartar then made a run for it and grabbed the slice, getting out of the restaurant as quick as he could. Everyone in the restaurant looked at Tartar with shock. “No ghost here! Just another rat!” Tartar yelled. Tartar wasn’t worried about talking in front of people, it wasn’t like anyone would believe them. He then scurried to his humble home in one of the many alleyways. Tartar made sure it was well protected, whenever anyone dared to go down the alleyway for whatever reason, Tartar would scare them off. Nobody has ever made it anywhere near his home, and nobody would believe that ghosts are haunting one random alleyway in New York City.
Tartar managed to find a TV a while back in his early days on the outside, and he managed to find a way to get it to work. Tartar put his slice of pizza to rest to the side of him, and turned on the TV to see if he was on the news. Surely enough, people were talking about a rat that stole a slice of pizza from a restaurant that could talk. “So you’re saying a rat that could talk came and stole a slice of pizza?” the news reporter said. “He really did!” a female said, which may have been the one that left the slice of pizza on the ground earlier. “What could be the cause of these sightings? Dehydration? This hasn’t been the first time people claimed to see a talking rat. The New York Police Department has told citizens to stay hydrated in response to the recent event” the news reporter said. “Nothing new it seems” Tartar thought. “This is the third time the police have been called because of these sightings” the news reporter continued. “We’ll see you after the break to hear about the first Kitty Bowl”.
Tartar looked back to check on the slice of pizza, but it was gone! Tartar looked around and spotted a seagull carrying the slice of pizza while flying across the sky. Tartar picked up a tiny toy pistol filled with foam darts and followed the seagull.
“I’d make a great soldier if I enlisted. Can I even do that?” Tartar thought.
Tartar followed the seagull until it landed on top of a small bank which was bustling with civilians.
“Is that you Tartar?” the seagull said.
“Whitefish?” Tartar replied.
One civilian noticed Tartar talking, and yelled “The seagull and rat are talking!” Everyone froze and looked at the rat and seagull.
“Can’t I talk to and old friend of mine in peace? Want to come to my place Whitefish?” Tartar asked.
“Why not?” Whitefish replied.
“Follow me” Tartar ordered.
After a short walk back home, Tartar and Whitefish arrived.
“This is your home?” Whitefish asked.
“It’s not like any other intelligent rats live exist, so of course it is” Tartar said.
“Did I not tell you there were other intelligent rats when we escaped?” Whitefish replied.
“I don’t know if any other rats got out”. “True, it has been around 3 years since we escaped” Tartar said.
“4, actually” Whitefish said.
“You know, it’s hard to imagine that we’ve been living in the same area for so long without seeing each other” Tartar said while scanning Whitefish, who was wearing a small baseball cap.
“Well, I actually just came from up north in Canada. It’s my first year here”. I got my cap from there” “How did you do that?” Tartar asked.
“When you can fly, you can go to places where most animals can’t” Whitefish replied.
As Tartar and Whitefish continued to talk, the slice of pizza began to move. “Since when could food move?” Whitefish said, as he noticed the movement of the slice of pizza. Tartar then proceeded to take the slice of pizza back, and as a result revealed an army of ants.
“What now Major Antiny?” Tartar asked.
“Just getting supplies Tartar!” Major Antiny yelled.
“To be fair, here’s half of the slice, I and Tartar will have the rest. Whitefish said. Thank you, mysterious seagull!” Major Antiny replied in his usual loud voice. “The name’s Whitefish.” Whitefish said. The army of ants then began to march off with their share of the pizza.
“Can we try it now?” said Tartar. “Sure, let’s eat!” Whitefish replied. Whitefish certainly enjoyed the pizza, but Tartar spit out instantly.
“How can people eat this?” Tartar yelled.
“Pizza is a pretty big thing here, from what I’ve noticed. Not a pizza type I see. ”I’m sure glad they didn’t feed us pizza back in the lab” Tartar said.
“Well, I wish they did. I doubt that would ever have happened. They wanted us to be very healthy” Whitefish replied. “May I have the rest?” “Sure” Tartar said. Operation Pizza? Successful, but worth it? Not really. What will Tartar the rat do next in his adventure in New York City?