I was talked into sharing some of my childhood stories. So, here goes nothing. I picked this one to start with.
Stories From My Childhood
When I was a kid, I was told stories by my stepfather. I also have some personal stories from my childhood. Some were spooky, some were funny and some were actually supposed to be true. Sometimes I wasn’t told which was which. I will leave it up to the reader to decide the difference. There were some with happy endings, some with not so happy endings and some with sad endings.
Theater After Hours
I will start with this story that as far as I know it is a true one. I will leave it to your choosing.
When my stepfather, Farrel, was young, this was sometime in the 1930s, so you can imagine what the theater was probably like. Any way he told me that he worked in the booth with the projectionist and was able to see the theater from there. This was a time when they actually took a short break between reel changes. Farrel would take this opportunity to look out over the theater audience to check out the people. The people were usually talking or making a trip to the bathroom during the breaks. The lights were on, but turned down low. Farrel saw something that shocked him at this time. He actually saw 3 huge rats cross the isles and go under the seats. Then when the movie was over, he had to stay behind and clean up. That night he stayed in the projection room and watched from above and saw several rats running around below. Then, when the lights were turned up brighter, they all kind of disappeared.
Farrel decided he should say something to the manager. He approached the manager with what he saw, and was told that they knew about the rats, but they couldn’t use poisons in the theater to get rid of them. So, Farrel suggested letting cats loose in the theater at night when they were closed. The manager agreed to it and gave Farrel the task of supplying the cats at night, but he had to be there in the morning to remove the cats and any dead rats that might be around.
Farrel found 4 large cats and had them there the next night to prepare for their duties as night watchmen. At the end of the night when the movie was over, Farrel took the cages inside the theater and released the new “night guards”. He left and headed home with a little excitement running through his mind thinking about how many dead rats there were going to be when he went to the theater in the morning.
The next morning rolled around and Farrel woke, got dressed and ate the breakfast his mother had prepared for him. He hurried out the door and down to the theater to take care of the cats and all of those dead rats before he went to school. He arrived at the theater and since the manager had given him a key, he opened the front door, and to his surprise all 4 cats shot out the door and down the street. He thought to himself, they should be so full that they would be lazy. He went in the theater and turned on the lights nice and bright. To his surprise he could not find one dead rat.
When the manager came in, Farrel told him what happened with the cats. The manager laughed and explained that he had tried that before but the rats are so big the cats are scared of them.
Farrel thought to himself, there has to be something I can do. When he got home from school that day he told his dad what had happened. His dad laughed and told his son that the best way to take care of the problem was to get a Rat Terrier dog and turn him loose on those rats.
The next day was Saturday, so Farrel went to the local dog pound and asked if they had a Rat Terrier. They just so happened to have one. Farrel told them what he was doing, so they let him borrow the dog for the weekend. With doubt in his mind, he took the dog to the theater with him that evening. After the audience left, with a pat on the head and a soft “good luck”, to himself as much as to the dog, he turned the dog loose in the theater. The dog started running around sniffing the air.
Farrel left and headed home with doubt running through his head.
The next morning Farrel got up and instead of eating breakfast, he just drank his juice. When he arrived at the theater, he opened the door and to his surprise he saw six dead rats laid out on the floor in the lobby and the dog was standing there wagging his tail, very proud of himself.
The next day being Monday, he went right after school and adopted the dog, that he named RK, short for Rat Killer, naturally. RK became a close friend to the boy and had a regular job himself at the theater.
I consider that a pretty happy ending all the way around.
Robert Odell Jr from Memphis, Tennessee on November 18, 2020:
Thank you for sharing this fascinating story. I enjoyed reading it.
DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on November 18, 2020:
What a great story. That boy was determined to do his part and get rid of the rats, even if the adults had not been able to! Great for the dog too. Sport it enjoyed and someone to belong to.
Liz Westwood from UK on November 18, 2020:
This is a good story well told. Apart from the main plot of the rats, there's fascinating detail about the reel-changing too.
Greg Schweizer (author) from Corona, California. on November 18, 2020:
Thank you for the comment Ann. I was sharing this story with my girlfriend. She liked and urged me to write it, so I did.
Ann Carr from SW England on November 18, 2020:
What a great story! Dogs love being useful and getting rewards. Glad he adopted the dog.
I love stories from families like this. It's part of our heritage and it's great that you've shared this.