It’s all downhill from here: Even shorter stories for the attention deficient

By SCOTT ROBERTS,

Maybe I have an Etsy page. Maybe I don't.  That's between me, Arthur if he exists, and my two followers whose names are Jansy Whipsicle and Pork Bulgogi Martinez.

Etsy is a website (and accompanying app) that has created a name for itself as “the place to go” for out of the way sorts of gifts.

Which leads me to my next ponderance.

What do you get your pet rat for his birthday?

I’m talking about the kind of pet rat that already has it all: loose feed, a giant wheel, and an old donated saltwater fish tank to defecate in.

His name is Ignatius Jacque Reilly – named after the greatest character in American Literature, in my not-so-humble opinion.

The namesake deserves a gift and not just any gift, but a special gift – maybe a lumber jacket that was lost/stolen in the men's restroom at LSU.

Etsy is full of such gifts.

What Etsy is lacking – and I am still not admitting that I even have a page – is a dressing room.

As difficult as it is to size a husky individual such as myself, sizing a rat as it turns out, is much more taxing.

I could make a mold of Ignatius' protege, Micel Jordan, but he is too long dead; buried in a bulky green bean can in our backyard.

Now I'm not saying that I would necessarily exhume a dead rat in order to help size a live, wiggly rat for a birthday gift, but I'm not saying a lot of things I would – or would not do – as a free and able-bodied citizen of these United States.

And in case you’re wondering, people who work at pet stores are no help here.

They cater to keeping an animal alive and in some cases entertained.

They offer nothing in the way of advice when it comes to finding a wardrobe for aforementioned pet.

The best they could offer was something called a “Thunder Jacket.”

“We're not dealing with a moronic dog that can't tell the difference between the end of the world and macrocosmic static electricity.” I told the salesclerk. “We’re talking about a brilliant rodent who I think is the smartest person in my household, at many times.”

The clerk was not amused and kindly asked me to check out and leave and after he bagged up my salt wheel, I did so gladly.

On an average, Norway rats like Ignatius live an average of two to three years.

Since I was not there for the first birthday celebration and since he likely won't be there for the third, this second year is about at critical as a Subaru quick sale.

NOTE: For full context to the Subaru reference, please check out my previous column found online at: HubCitySPOKES.com

So as of this publication date, I am still searching for the correct sizing and material for said rat’s magical jacket.

As the deadline looms, I fear I might have to resort to my current method as it pertains to sandwiches, mixed drinks, and imaginary friends.

I'll just make it myself.

Then I’ll copy and sell it to Pork Bulgogi Martinez on Etsy for a mint.

This truly is a problem for the iRobot generation.

In Arthur We Trust.

Scott Roberts is a husband, father, teacher, writer, and electrician, who lives in Hattiesburg via Sandy Hook, Miss.