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Rats and Rat Games

Updated on March 23, 2017

Chapter 5

Rats and Rat Games

During the break, the rats went to eat lunch, but when they checked in the food stores, they noticed that their food had been stolen. Then they went and reported the incident to Freddie.

“Mr. President, we suspect that our food has been stolen,” said Pink.

“Who did it?”

“It seems we have moles among us!”

“Barbara, investigate this robbery at once.”

“I think my young fellows did not check properly. We still have plenty of food in our storages.”

“You started covering up for their crimes all of a sudden. That is uncharacteristic of you!” said Green.

Trying to divert the attention from the issue of bribery, Barbara instructed all the participants to assemble at the playground. While clubs were warming up, Bombastic, Malady and Claver had a private meeting with Barbara and her football officials.

“I am not supposed to engage in any activities that intentionally put my professional commitment into dispute,” said Barbara.

“If you let us win, the reward will be huge,” said Bombastic.

“How big?”

“Lots of cheeses, nuts, millet flour, beer and a lot more!”

“I wonder where you got all that from.”

“We are geniuses. We know how to take risks.”

“Let me think about it and get back with you later.”

“You had better decide now before it is too late.”

“We can’t betray Freddie’s trust!”

“We trust you, isn’t that enough?

“What is your final answer?” asked Bombastic.

“Okay, let’s do it. But nobody should know of this,” answered Barbara

After their private meeting, everybody went their separate ways to avoid being suspected of planning to take a bribe. As soon as she arrived at the playground, Barbara started reading the fixtures. “I want everybody to listen carefully. The Traitors and the Giants will compete first; Betrayers and Crime-Busters will battle it out second, and the Destroyers and the Avengers will tussle and hassle last,” said Barbara.

In a few seconds, the first match was under way. Malady looked as though he lacked concentration. Every time he touched the ball, he lost it to the Giants. Torero also had poor footwork, which hindered him from passing the ball to his teammates with accuracy. The Giants looked more entertaining, but Malady was the fun favorite. As the competition progressed, it became clear that Felon was favoring the Traitors over the Giants. Every time the Giants’ player committed a foul, he called it and issued a yellow card but did not call a foul whenever it was committed by the Traitors.

“You have been bribed!” shouted Torero.

About twenty minutes into the game, the Giants scored. Their supporters run onto the field to celebrate. But Felon signaled that he had disallowed the goal. More fans ran onto the playground to complain. This angered him and caused him to award a penalty kick to the Traitors. Captain Malady came to take the penalty kick while somersaulting to impress his fans, but he fell on the ground and broke his leg before he kicked the ball. Then his teammates carried him off the pitch. Another contestant took the kick and scored. Although there were fifteen minutes remaining to the end of the contest, the referee ended it. This caused more dissent from the Giants’ supporters.

“Let’s go to the second contest between Betrayers and Crime-Busters. Captains, tell your friends to clear the field at once,” said Barbara. Within a few seconds, the Betrayers and the Crime-Busters were running up and down the pitch. Bombastic fell every time he touched the ball and stopped to catch his breath after running a short distance. The Crime-Busters challenged better than the Betrayers. About ten minutes into the contest, Bombastic tried to kick the ball but instead kicked the Crime-Busters’ player in the stomach. Then the umpire gave a red card to the Crime-Busters captain instead. The Crime-Busters fans started yelling and screaming. Then Rogue pulled out another red card and gave it to another player on the Crime-Busters’ team.

When supporters of Crime-Busters continued shouting, the referee blew his whistle and signaled an indirect free-kick for the Betrayers near the Crime-Busters’ eighteen-yard line. Bombastic came trotting while break-dancing to the amusement of the crowd, but when he kicked the football, it went straight into the hands of the Crime-Busters’ goalkeeper. The Crime-Busters fans ran into the field jubilating and congratulating their goaltender.

“I made a mistake. It was supposed to be a direct free-kick. It has to be retaken.”

Rogue raised his arm diagonally upwards signaling a direct free kick.

“You cannot change the rules in the middle of the game,” said Bravo, grinding his teeth and kicking an imaginary ball. The direct free-kick resulted in a goal. “Traitor, traitor,” shouted Slender. Ten minutes to full time, the referee whistled for the end of the challenge. Supporters of the Crime-Busters ran into the field again to protest his decision of ending the competition prematurely, but he did not pay attention to their grumbling.

“Now we have the final match between the Destroyers and the Avengers. According to the powers entrusted to me by the lead referee of this event, this football match has been postponed until further notice. We need time to study the rules to know if a female captain can play on an all-male team. In the meantime, I am going to award three points and a win to the eliminators. I believe they used a different name in this tournament,” said Commando.

“You cannot do that! You need to call teams by their proper names. The Avengers are ready to play. Let us know the day and the time,” said Torero.

“It is over folks. The terminators have won on technical grounds.”

“Technical grounds? She should not have registered her team if she knew she was not ready.”

“What I did is what is called a ‘bye,’ and you should thank me for that brilliant decision. I tossed the coin and Claver became the beneficiary of this special privilege to be exempt from playing. I am allowed to do that according to National Soccer Federation rules.”

“I am not going to let you dish out free points just like that. We are going to appeal to the NSF.”

“You are free to exercise your constitutional right to appeal; nonetheless, you need to give me the benefit of the doubt.”

After the event had concluded, everybody assembled in the middle of the stadium to listen to the results. “Here are the results of the tournament: The Traitors beat the Giants by a score of one goal to zero. The Betrayers won against the Crime-Busters. And the Destroyers triumphed over the Avengers.”

“Where do we go from here?” asked Retune.

“Malady will be in charge of our food bank; Bombastic will head our financial resources department, and security is under Claver’s supervision.”

“We will never win anything in this new dictatorship. I really don’t see the difference between the old and the new autocracies.”

“At least the old tyrant used to exterminate the crooked crooks,” said Bogey.

“Those were the bad old days.”

“You need to know that I had very difficult decisions to make.”

“If the outcomes of the games were decided prior to the game, then what was the purpose of our participation?”

“That is the way it is in this new system.”

“The new system is as rigged as the old one,” said Raton.

Freddie, who had been listening to the verbal exchanges curiously, gave his closing remarks. “Friends, I am less concerned about your anger toward me because of the unfavorable outcome of your football games. My legacy is all I care about. I would like to congratulate our senior referees for handling this soccer event with such commendable zeal. You may all go home now. Good night.”


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      Benjamin Witzlib 

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