Excerpt for Labby the Rat (And Other Stories About Rats, Science, and the Meaning of Life.) by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


and other stories about rats,


and the meaning of life.


T.K. Wade




T.K. Wade on Smashwords

Cover Art Illustrated by:

Coy Fields II

Labby the Rat and other stories about rats, science, and the meaning of life.

Copyright © 2017 by T.K. Wade

ISBN: 978-1-370-89665-3

Thank you for purchasing this eBook. This book may not be reproduced, copied, or distributed.

Your support and respect for the property of this author is appreciated.

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.



and other stories about rats,


and the meaning of life.


Table of Contents

Part 1 – Labby the Rat

Part 2 – Blue Skies

Part 3 – Rodents of a Doomed Planet


Part 1 – Labby the Rat

Chapter 1 – Pyramid

“I’ve almost got it,” said Labby the white rat. The other two watched him as his twitching hands lifted the blocks in place forming a pyramid. After the feat had been accomplished, Labby let out a sigh. He had been working on it for almost four days. “I can die now!” he cried falling to his back.

“What is it?” asked the female named Cheddar.

“Who cares?! I made it, and now, it’s done! Leave me to die in peace!”

Traptail–a big, muscular male rat–elbowed the girl. “Is he really dying? I’m only asking ‘cause I haven’t had a decent meal in a long time.”

Cheddar ignored that remark and asked Labby, “How can you die happy not knowing what it is?”

“It’s a work of genius, obviously,” said the groaning rat. “I had to churn my brain muscles around three or four times just to figure out what to put on the bottom of it. The humans will probably pass out when they see it.”

“But I still don’t know what it is. It just looks like a pile of blocks to me.”

“In the shape of a nipple,” remarked Traptail.

Labby sat back up super-fast. His face was screwed up in a comical way. “A nipple!” he shouted in grief.

“A square nipple,” corrected the big rat. “You sure you ain’t dyin’?”

Labby stood to his feet and gestured dramatically towards his creation. “This pile of square nipple-shaped blocks is the culmination of hundreds of days of experimenting on yours truly! It doesn’t matter what it is; only that I created it, and the world will find great significance in its creation! Who in this world cares what it’s called?!” Cheddar raised her paw. “Other than you!” shouted Labby in anger.

Traptail shook his head as he regarded the odd structure. “I don’t see how that pile of nipple will get you any sort of recognition. I mean… even if it is something special–and I don’t think that it is–the humans will take credit for it anyways.”

Labby was so angry by what he heard, he raised a finger to put Traptail in his place, but nothing came out of his lips. Apparently, the big rat had a point. “Oh, my gosh!” he said in a panic. “What do I do?!”

Cheddar suggested, “You could put your name on it.”

“Great!” shouted Labby, but then he realized something. “I don’t know how to write. All I know how to do is make this thing in three days.”

Traptail gestured towards Labby. “Why don’t you just pee on it?”

The white rat gasped. “What?!”

“Well, when my dad wanted to claim something as his, he always peed on it.”

Cheddar tilted her head. “As his son, didn’t you sort of belong to him?”

“Yup,” said the big rat with a nod. “It was a weird day.”

Labby stared at the nipple blocks with the utmost consideration. “That idea… might… just… work.”

“Really?” asked Cheddar incredulously.

The white rat held out his hands. “Everybody stand back and be quiet! I’m going to pee on this nipple!”

As they had been ordered, Traptail and Cheddar stepped back and remained silent as the personal signature of Labby the rat took place before them. Actually, they found it was more impressive to watch than they thought it would be. There was a technique to it–a certain pissazz. So perfectly was the square nipple covered in the artistic embodiment of Labby that there would be absolutely no doubt that he should be credited for its construction.

“There,” said Labby with a nod of his head. “I have finished.”

“Good job,” said Cheddar fairly impressed.

Traptail added, “You forgot to dot the ‘i,’ I think.”

“Never mind that,” said Labby triumphantly. “Soon the scientists will return to our cages and see me for the genius that I am. I will be given extra treats–so much so that I will be forced to share them with my friends who have supported me for all of these last three minutes.”

The female nodded. “Yeah, we did sort of do that.”

Traptail whispered to her, “We’d have even more food if he really did die.” She nodded but said nothing back.

Soon, the researchers came in and found what Labby had done. “Look at this, Juliet,” said William as he adjusted his glasses.

The woman walked over to see what had been found. “Oh, look at that. Labby put together the pyramid. Astounding.”

He nodded. “I still say that it looks like a nipple.”

“Nipples aren’t square, Will.”

“I know that, but why was the top block so pink?”

“It was necessary,” Juliet replied, “so that the rat would know which one the top piece was.”

“If you say so.” He reached in to touch it. “Hey, it’s wet. Oh, wait. I think he went wee-wee on it.”

Labby pointed up at the human and screamed, “It’s my signature!”

Juliet giggled. “He was probably so proud of it that he decided to sign off on it. Congratulations, Will, you’ve just touched a Labby original!”

“I can die now,” said William as he wiped off his finger. “I say we continue testing with him.”

“What do you suggest?”

“Electroshock and caffeine injections should just about do it. I’d like to see him build that pyramid after that!”

Juliet scribbled something on a clipboard. “Should be interesting.”

Labby rubbed his paws together. “I bet their talking about my reward right now!”

“I sure hope it’s a lot of cheese,” said Cheddar.

“Guess, we’ll find out sooner or later,” said Traptail.

The next day, Labby was twitching like mad as little bolts of electricity jumped about in his fur. Pyramid blocks were scattered all over the cage. Suddenly, the rat started screaming and ran straight into the glass wall leaving an unusual snot impression on the glass as he slowly moved down its surface. “Look, guys! Look at the glass! It’s art! I made more art! I’m a genius! He he ha ha!”

Traptail and Cheddar shook their heads. The big rat said, “I sure wouldn’t pee on that one.”


Chapter 2 – Gerbils

Cheddar had been staring out of the glass more than usual which caught the attention of Traptail. The big rat was being lectured by Labby in an attempt to make him a bit smarter. “Life doesn’t always have to revolve around food and sex,” said the white rat. “What if we actually attempted to use our brains more than just our instinct? Consider the possibilities, Traptail.”

But Traptail was not even looking at him. He was looking at Cheddar and thinking about food and how nice it would be to mate with her. Somehow, Labby knew this and made a frustrated sigh.

“Hey, Cheddar!” called Traptail. “What you looking at?”

Cheddar glanced at both of them for a moment. “There’s some weird rodents out there in another cage. They are kind of far away, but they look like they are trying to signal us.”

Traptail went to her side and looked out with her. “I see them. Yeah, I think they are waving to us. What the heck are they?”

“I don’t know,” said Cheddar.

Labby’s curiosity finally got the best of him. He went to the glass as well and saw what the two others saw. “Those are not rats, I think. I haven’t seen their kind before.”

“Do you think their friendly?” asked the girl.

“Edible?” asked Traptail.

Labby rolled his eyes. “How am I supposed to know?”

“Ain’t you the smart one?” asked the big rat. Labby refused to dignify that with a response.

William soon walked into the laboratory with his partner Juliet. The man was scribbling something on a clipboard. “So… tell me again why we received this batch of gerbils.”

“Well,” replied the woman cautiously, “the official story was that they wished additional tests done on this particular species.”

“And the unofficial?”

“They probably just wanted to get rid of them because their useless.”

William nodded. “And as usual, we are the rodent trash bin of the universe.”

“Exactly. I was thinking of selling them as pets–maybe, get a little income out of it.”

“Sure,” said William. “Why not introduce them to the rats before we do that. We’ll record the reactions.”

She picked up the gerbil cage. “What are we trying to learn from this experiment?”

“Nothing. I just finished my work early today, and now, I’ve got nothing better to do.”

Cheddar gasped. “They are coming this way!”

“Everybody, act natural!” said Labby who immediately went into an all fours position. This act prompted Traptail to give him a quick kick in the rear.

The gerbil cage was placed so close to the rat’s that they could easily see and hear them. “Hey, you!” cried one of five gerbils in a grating voice.

Labby rubbed his poor rump and replied, “Us? What do you want?”

“Who are all of you?” asked Cheddar curiously.

They all laughed raucously for a moment. One then replied, “We gerbils, lady!”

Labby nodded his head like he had already expected the answer. “Ah, gerbils! I thought so.”

“Then why didn’t you say it?” asked Traptail.

“I just wanted to be sure! Being a genius doesn’t mean you should go around just saying things that have been unproven.”

“Seems to me that’s just you saying things after you’ve learned it for the first time. Even I can do that.”

“It’s different when you’re smart though. Trust me.”

A gerbil suddenly jumped and shouted, “Kees eet!”

The odd shout startled the three rats and they were once more looking across to the new creatures. “Kees eet?” asked Cheddar. “What’s a kees eet?”

A gerbil replied, “To understand the gerbil, you must kees eet!”

“Do what?” asked Labby. Traptail was just flatly quiet over the odd suggestion.

“Kees eet! Kees eet!” all the gerbils began to hop and chant.

Cheddar thought she figured it out. “Kiss it? What do you want us to kiss?”

All the gerbils turned around, raised their tails, and pressed their hindquarters firmly against the glass simultaneously shouting, “Kees eet!” This was followed by laughter.

Both Labby and Cheddar were disgusted. Traptail–on the other paw–was just getting it. “Oh! They want us to kiss their asses. It makes sense now that’s I’ve seen it. I must be a genius, Labby.”

“Oh, shut up!” cried the white rat as he began walking away.

Cheddar said to the gerbils, “I don’t think that is very nice of you gerbils! We were trying to be friendly with you!”

The gerbils rubbed their bottoms back and forth on the glass while one of them replied, “You rats never learn the magic of keesing eet! We gerbils are pleasant enough when treated well! Do you not believe in the great power of keesing zee ass?”

“Why would I believe in something like that?!” asked Cheddar tersely.

“Infidels!” cried a gerbil. “You must kees eet if you are ever to know peace! Go on! Kees eet!” They all began to chant “Kees eet!” mixed with their own laughter. Cheddar finally had enough of it and walked away.

Traptail continued to stand there. He was not easily disgusted like his two friends. The big rat said, “If I get Labby here to kees eet, will you sacrifice one of your kind as food?”

The gerbils all turned around in shock at the strange request. Soon, they were all discussing the matter amongst themselves as if it was very important. Eventually, the verdict came, “If you can breach glass and kees eet, we accept zee terms!”

Traptail nodded and walked over to Labby. He picked the white rat up and began carrying him over to the gerbils. “What are you doing?!” cried Labby who struggled in the iron grip of Traptail.

Silently, Traptail began ramming poor Labby’s face into the glass as all the gerbils put their asses up again. Before passing out, Labby thought he saw a tunnel and at the end of that tunnel was a gerbil’s ass. Memories of near-death experiences being as fuzzy as they usually are, he could not later remember if he had a chance to kees eet.


Chapter 3­ – Maze

“No, no! I got this, seriously!” shouted Labby. Traptail had his arms crossed and did not look very happy. The two rats were in the middle of a massive maze with various markings on the wall.

“You seem confused,” said the big rat.

“Me?! Confused?!” returned Labby indignantly. “Who between us solved all the other mazes?!”

“You,” said Traptail plainly.

“Then why don’t you let the smart one figure it out for a change?!”

“Because it’s been like an hour, and I’m starting to get hungry.”

Labby stomped. “You’re always hungry! When are you not hungry?! Tell me one time in your life that you have not been hungry!”


“Then what if your freaking point, Traptail?!”

“My point, Labby, is that you don’t keep food away from a rat who’s always hungry.”

There was a certain amount of logic to the big rat’s argument that made Labby wonder why he had not considered it. Still, he tried to take a hard line. “Look, there is a ton of cheese somewhere at the end of this maze. I am getting really close to figuring out what these symbols mean. It won’t be long before I figure them out.”

Traptail did not look very convinced at all. “Do you even have a clue?”

“Yes!” shouted Labby confidently. “Like take, for instance, this symbol here. What do you think about it?”

“It’s a circle with a line through it.”

“And what does that say to you?” asked Labby.

“Uh… It means don’t go there.”

“Ah. See, that’s why I am the genius. This symbol obviously means we are looking for a circular room that we have to cross. Why in the world would a symbol like that mean ‘don’t go there?’ Don’t be such a dummy.”

Traptail was getting really aggravated. “Then where is this stupid round room that we need to find?”

“Well, that’s the question, isn’t it?” said Labby.

“What?” asked the big rat.

“What do you mean ‘what?’” asked Labby.

Traptail was quiet for a moment, but soon he pointed a finger and asked, “Did you just answer my question by telling me I asked a question?”

“Well, obviously!” said Labby. “Isn’t the whole point of this experiment to prove how much smarter I am than you are? When are you and Cheddar going to just accept that my development is so much farther along than you both? If only there was a way for you to just–I don’t know–learn from me. I swear that it would be like heaven for us all.”

Traptail simply stared at him. Labby continued, “Don’t you get it?! This whole thing the humans are doing is important! We are supposed to be the last hope of the human race! You can’t be a last hope when you just let your brain devolve into mush! Doesn’t any of this make sense to you?!”

Still, Traptail just stared at him, and it was really annoying Labby. “Why aren’t you answering me?! What if I just stopped talking to you?! How would you like that?!”

Traptail sighed and rubbed his face in silence. Soon after, he finally spoke, “Okay, so here is what I’m gonna do. I’m going to slowly walk over to you. Now, if you are still standing there when I get to you, I’m going to kill you and then eat your remains. If you want to keep living, I suggest you get moving and hope you don’t run into another dead end.”

Labby simply blinked. “What, really?” Traptail stood up and began walking towards the white rat.

Juliet was typing away at her computer while William watched the maze. “Any progress, Will?”

“I’m not really sure,” he replied.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

William explained, “Well, they appeared to get stuck at one of the junctures, but Traptail started chasing Labby. I’m not quite sure they are taking this seriously anymore.”

Juliet turned around in her chair. “That’s disappointing. It was really looking like they had been figuring out the symbols.”

“Oops,” said William. “Labby found another dead end, and here comes Traptail!”

“Will, just open it up and take them out.”

“Nah, they’re good friends. I’m sure the big one is just playing. Oh, crap!”

Juliet got up and ran over to find the two rats in a mortal tussle. The two scientists put on some gloves and pulled them apart before it went too far. Labby cried out in relief, “Oh, thank you! Thank you! My sweet angels! You have saved me from this idiot!”

Next time, Labby!” shouted Traptail.

William placed Traptail back into his old cage. “What do we do with Labby?”

Juliet sighed. “Well, since he failed the maze, we might run a few side tests on him just so we can’t call the day wasted.”

“Alright, I’ll see what’s left on the agenda.” He picked up a clipboard and smiled.

Later, Labby was lowered back into his case. His body was covered in fowl smelling makeup that covered him from head to toe. He did not look very happy.

Traptail was reclining against a wall next to Cheddar. The big rat chuckled and asked, “What the heck are you supposed to be, Labby?”

The colorful rat pointed and shouted with a mighty ire, “I’m the last hope of the human race! That’s what!”


Chapter 4 – Rebecca

It was a rare item that day. Two new rats were introduced to the cage. Labby, Cheddar, and Traptail stood in a row to welcome them in; although, they were really unsure if they were going to like them.

“I’m unsure of this funny business,” said Labby with crossed forearms. “I thought we were doing just fine all on our own.”

Cheddar replied, “I don’t see what’s wrong with making new friends.”

Traptail added, “And if we don’t like them, we can always fight to the death and eat the loser.”

Both of the others nodded and said, “True.”

The first one in was a male rat. He did not say anything at first but oddly swaggered in a circle like he was checking out his surroundings. “Oh, my,” said he. “So roomy. Plenty of space to do things.”

Labby stepped up, “Hey, there. I’m Labby. Welcome to the rat cage.”

“Uh huh,” was the noncommittal response. “I’m Chase.”

Labby groaned but then continued, “And this here is Traptail.”

“Yes, uh huh,” said Chase still distracted by his surroundings. He was also mumbling to himself which really annoyed Labby.

“And lastly!” shouted Labby to get attention. “This here is Cheddar.”

Chase happened to look at Cheddar when she was mentioned. The female made a cute, little wave to meet his glance. “Ah!” exclaimed Chase, and then he was making his way right to her. In fact, he did not stop walking when he met her but nearly bowled her over.

“Eep! Careful!” she shouted.

He took her paw and looked into her eyes. “A pleasure, madam.” She blushed.

Labby looked at Traptail and whispered, “I think he’s hot for Cheddar.”

Traptail whispered back, “Does that mean we can kill and eat him?”

Before Labby could reply to the stupid question, another rat was dropped into the cage. This time it was a female who did not look at all happy. “Ah, big surprise,” she said at once.

Labby and Traptail formed ranks again; however, Cheddar was busy getting her forearm kissed from top to bottom. “I’m Labby, and this is Traptail,” said the white rat.

The new female crossed her forearms and said, “And I’m not very happy.”

Traptail whispered to Labby, “That’s an unusual name.”

Labby rolled his eyes and asked, “What’s the matter?”

The newcomer casually went over to Chase and pulled the fellow away from Cheddar before signaling him over to one of the corners. He only said, “Of course, my love,” and did as he was told. Cheddar seemed a little confused as she had just been kissed about sixty times in three minutes.

Then with unusual poise for a rat, the new female turned to all three of the regulars causing them to take a step back. This is what she said to them:

“My name is Rebecca. I’m a fancy rat who has been in the service of science for a long time now. Chase is my… my mate.”

Cheddar covered her mouth feeling like she had committed some sort of crime. “Oh!” she said, “I did not know that.”

“I’m sure you didn’t,” said Rebecca. “Let me tell you all a story.”

“I like stories,” whispered Traptail to Labby. The recipient just flashed the big rat a weird look.

Rebecca continued,

“We met in a crowded cage,

On a completely random day.

I never saw it coming.

He met me quite by chance,

With a handsome sneaky glance,

And asked, ‘Where are we to be going?’

“‘Going?’ asked I then,

For I did not understand.

I had never seen him before.

He said, ‘Let me show you pleasures,

Of great, unheard of measures–

Conversed of only in lore.’

“The quick well-spoken kind,

Is not so easy to find,

And I found it hard to resist.

Although, I tried to flee,

So that I might soon be set free,

He caught me and said, ‘I must insist!’

“When I asked him what he meant–

All my energy almost spent–

Not to mention that I really didn’t care.

He peered right in my eyes,

And took me well-aside,

And this is what he had to share:

“‘I need you.

I want you.

I crave you in ways untold.

Come with me.

Play with me.

Only you do I wish to have and hold.’

“The words Oh! seemed sincere,

And I don’t think I could hear,

All the alarms that told me not to go.

There was no way to resist,

Those red eyes and with a kiss,

I had soon become a girl with a beau.

“But one day I did see him–

I’m fairly sure I saw him–

In the arms of another female rat.

At first, I wasn’t sure,

For I thought him to be pure,

So I dismissed it as a simple misjudged fact.

“But then there came a day,

That surely got right in my way.

This rat was seen once more with her.

And if there was any thought.

That my fears were but for naught,

He spoke these words as he stroked her velvet fur:

“‘I need you.

I want you.

I crave you in ways untold.

Come with me.

Play with me.

Only you do I wish to have and hold.’

“And now I want him dead,

I want to crush his little head,

And never will the world bemoan him.

I entirely despise

His beady little eyes.

I wish to make him pay for his sins.

“And if I get the chance,

To stab him with a lance,

He will have gotten off too easy.

For all the grief he’s caused,

I will likely never pause,

And I won’t be the least… bit… queasy.

“I hate him.

I despise him.

I wish him suffering untold.

Break him.

Kill him.

Only him do I wish to have and hold.”

And then she went silent. The other three rats were remarkably disturbed that this female had just told them an entire story with a clever rhyming scheme. Labby–who had not been wholly impressed with the idea that she had improvised the thing–approached Rebecca and said, “So… do you put on this act for every new cage you come into?”

Rebecca smiled for a moment, made a fist, and knocked the poor white rat straight out on the floor. Traptail checked to see if he was dead. The big rat was disappointed.


Chapter 5 – Dance

Cheddar was gazing out of the glass of the cage. She had been doing that for a while, and it finally caught the attention of Traptail. The big rat walked over to her and sat next to the female. “What are ya looking at?” he asked.

Cheddar pointed. “Over there: across the gap and on the other table. Do you see them?”

Traptail squinted. “Oh, yeah. Skinny, little mice.”

“I don’t think they’re mice,” said Cheddar. “I’ve seen mice. These rodents look different.”

“What’s the difference?” asked the big rat. “They’re all edible, ain’t they?”

“I guess.”

“What are you two going on about?!” asked Labby who had been trying to explain to Rebecca the three laws of cheese-a-nomics–which he had invented.

Cheddar looked over at him and said, “We’re looking at weird rodents. You can come if you want.”

Chase who had just then become interested asked, “Are any of them of the feminine persuasion?”

“Looks like it,” said Cheddar.

Well, that got Chase up on his feet. He stood next to Cheddar where he was more comfortable. Rebecca scowled and was entirely unfocused on what Labby was trying to tell her. “The cheese is always where it’s left,” said Labby beginning to notice her lack of attention. “I have found–as long as the cheese exists–it is possible to–hitherto the actual observation–come to the conclusion that the actual theory of its precise location can be established as a possible and equally impossible chance that one may…” But then he stopped when he realized she was not listening anymore.

“Would you rather just see what their looking at?” asked Labby with frustration.

“Yes,” said Rebecca already getting up and walking away from the disgruntled smarty. She forced herself between Chase and Cheddar and looked out at the weird, little rodents.

Labby kicked around some wood chips before joining them. The white rat could see those little guys, and even he did not know what they were. “Why are they dancing like that?” he asked.

Cheddar explained, “They have been doing it since I saw them.”

“I kind of like it,” said Chase. “Quite profound.” Rebecca shot him a scowl.

Traptail nodded. “I think so too.”

Juliet walked into the laboratory scribbling something onto a clipboard. After placing it down, she picked up the cage of newcomers and was about to take it out of the room. “Ah, damn it. I forgot to feed the rabbits.” Absentmindedly, Juliet placed the cage back down right next to the rats and walked off.

At this distance, the rats could now both clearly see and hear the new visitors. They were thinly built with odd bendy legs. Most impressive was the little puff on the end of their tails. They danced right and left and twirled about in an entirely synchronized way.

“Look it! Look it!” shouted one. “They’ve come to watch our show!”

Cheddar replied, “I don’t think we could help it. What are you guys anyways?”

“We’re jerboas!” they all shouted at once.

Traptail then asked, “Do you guys taste good?”

“We probably do,” said one of the jerboas. “But to eat us would be rude.”

“Any reason why you always dance?” asked Rebecca.

“We have to dance,” said a female jerboa with a cute voice. “How else will the world know how graceful we are?”

“Don’t you get tired?” asked Labby with limited interest.

“Of course we do,” said one of them. “But we jerboas can even dance in our sleep.”

“That’s ridiculous,” replied Labby thinking the whole thing was absurd.

Chase placed a paw upon the glass and sighed deeply. “I think that I would like all of you.”

“Of course, you do!” shouted all the jerboas at once, but then one of them continued, “Jerboas are very desirable. That is why we always dance!”

Rebecca was scowling at Chase again. It was a look of unbridled hate at how he was gazing at those skinny, little twerps–those stupid, little dancing things that thought they were so pretty. Those pathetic dancing rodents whose whole idea of life was… But then she realized who she really hated, and it was not the jerboas.

Juliet walked back into the room while wrapping a bandage around her finger. “Jeez,” she said. “You never expect those little cuties to bite. Whelp, it’s time to get you guys to the other facility where you’ll be poked, prodded, and various other things in the name of science.” She picked up the Jerboas’ cage.

The jerboas continued to dance as they were lifted away. “Goodbye! Goodbye!” they all shouted. The five rats waved stupidly as the strange rodents were taken away to lands unknown. Away to dance a thousand dances on planes beyond imagination. To sail the winds of gracefulness and to show the world what beauty there is in movement and form.

Traptail sighed realizing it was all over. Then he suddenly realized something. He became frantic. Quickly, he looked at Labby who was standing next to him and struck the white rat hard against the back of his head–causing the poor guy to smash into the glass wall and fall back unconscious.

The others looked at him weirdly. Cheddar asked, “Traptail, why did you do that to Labby?”

The big guy blinked a few times before saying, “I… don’t… know.” And then they all went about their business–except for Labby who just lay there twitching.


Chapter 6 – Powers

It did not always happen, but today all the rats received shots. Labby noticed that each injection came from a different bottle. He was mindful of that–very mindful. In fact, he was so mindful, his mindfulness was getting on everybody else’s nerves.

“There’s a pattern. There’s a pattern,” muttered Labby in the presence of everyone else.

Traptail grumbled, “What the heck are you talking about?”

“Haven’t you noticed? I have. Why do you care anyways?”

Chase smiled over at Cheddar. “He seems rather upset, doesn’t he, sweetums?” Rebecca clenched her fist but otherwise did nothing.

Cheddar replied, “Labby has always been a little weird.”

“I’m not weird!” snapped Labby. “None of you ever understood me!”

Big Traptail sighed and crossed his arms. “That may be true, but you ought to calm down. You’re upsetting the females.”

Chase made a little gasp. “Oh, dear. That will never do. I wonder if I might help with this.”

“Perhaps, you could mind your own business,” said Rebecca under her breath. It was unclear if Chase actually heard it.

Labby continued, “Don’t you get it? No, of course you don’t. I’ve always been the smart one. I know what’s going on. I can see it.”

Cheddar said, “We’ve never really disputed your intelligence, Labby. More often than not, you always got us through the mazes. Isn’t that right, Traptail?”

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