Putting Ratatouille in Perspective...

The dish I ate...eventually...
We were sitting on the terrace of one of my favorite restaurants as the summer, in its death throes, tried to warm us with some late-August sun. It was working. Heather and I were chatting away, waiting for our food to arrive. Such bliss to be a Parisian.

Then, an audible gasp arose from the other diners as we all saw a giant rat hobbling through the street in the midday sun. Normally nocturnal vermin, we quickly realized something was wrong with this little guy as he made his way across the pavement. In Paris there are an estimated two rats per person (though no one can be sure) but they have their place, at least in the sewers. Grossness aside – this little guy was kind of cute.

Heather began recounting the time she saw a rat similarly dazed by the daylight get himself trapped in a scooter’s tire in a busy intersection.

“And then he got up on the scooter’s wheel, and the driver didn’t know. Then he hit the throttle,” she sat, leaving me to fill in the gaps. “But he wasn’t dead,” she continued.

As she went on to describe the gory details of the rat’s final moments, a car began to back up on the street, the driver attempting to parallel park or turn around – the exact memory takes a backseat to what happened next.

“And then,” Heather said, “the rat was still writing on the ground as a big truck was coming down the street,” setting the stage perfectly. As she said this, our friend in the street, ever the clever one, managed to stumble backwards towards the reversing car. As if rooting for the rat, we all cried out to the driver to stop as he seemingly knowingly threw himself under the tire.
Farewell, friend...

Heather didn’t need to finish her story. She screeched as I threw my face in my napkin.


The entrails popped out like a broken plastic bag of groceries filled with tiny uncooked chorizo. The driver, unaware, drove off while the diners at the restaurant laid down their chopsticks for a moment.

The body remained there for a few minutes until the kitchen staff threw a few trashcans of water on it, flushing it back into the sewers were it came from. The others have been warned.

As if on cue, the waiter came over with our dishes. “Bon app├ętit,” he quipped.