Peter Elbling's The Vinégar Jonesy Chronicles


Jonesy's thinking. Mr. Vinégar blog. Peter Elbling.The rat houseTwo nights ago, I slipped out just before Mr. V went to bed.  The dogs had all been for their walks, so the streets were empty.  At the bottom of the stairs I saw Prince.  Wanna have some fun? He said.  Sure, I said.  I followed him down the alley till we came to a house that was being demolished.  Prince climbed a ladder to the roof so I did the same.  Prince began grooming himself so I knew it would be a while before anything happened.  One by one the TVs went off and soon it was just the streetlamps and the stars.  Every now and then a car sped by but other than that it was quiet.

Suddenly, I heard a movement on the ground below.  From out of the wood pile beneath us came two small rats.  They sniffed the air and then scurried along the edge of the fence towards the garbage cans.  One can was on its side, the garbage spilling onto the sidewalk.  The rats disappeared inside the can.  I thought of all the times I had played with the toy mice Mr. V had given me but that was nothing like this. This was the real thing.  And I was pumped.  After a moment another rat came out of the wood pile and hurried after the other two.  I heard them banging about in the can.  Prince slipped down the ladder and crouched behind a large piece of wood.  His tail flicked back and forth.  I was right with him.

Our bodies were rigid.  My eyes, my nose, my ears – every part of me was alive!  The noises in the can stopped.  A rat peeked out and sniffed the air.  Our tails stilled.  The rat acted like it knew something was up but it didn’t know what.  I wanted to kill it.  I didn’t know why but I did.  The rat kept sniffing the air.  Another rat came out and crouched beside the first.  They kept moving backwards and forwards, sniffing and twisting but they didn’t know whether to move or stay where they were.  The third rat joined them.  Perhaps they thought there was safety in numbers because all of a sudden they broke into a run.  They were halfway across the little patch of ground hugging the fence when Prince sprang.  

The lead rat tried to turn but it bumped into the other two. Prince smacked him with his paw sending him spinning, and then he pounced on it.  I didn’t know what he did after that because I was flying at the other two.  One of them tried to bite me but I caught it between my paws, sank my teeth into its throat, and shook it.  Five seconds and it was all over.  I looked up panting and said proudly, I killed it!  Prince looked at me then at my rat and said. What did you do that for?  I shrugged.  I thought that’s what I was supposed to do.  No, Prince said, Didn’t your mother teach you anything?

It was only then that I saw that his rat was still alive on the ground in front of him.  It tried to scoot away.  Prince caught it with his right paw, pulled it back, batted it to his left paw, then back to his right, and then back and forth a couple more times.  See, he said, This is the fun part. Now what are you going to play with for the rest of the night?  I didn’t know what to say so I didn’t say anything.  No worries, Prince said.  Take it back to Mr. V as a present.  Show him what you’re made of.

If you can’t remember who Prince is, click HERE to read the blog where Prince is introduced.

To read about when Prince and Jonesy first met click HERE.


Mr. Vinégar

Peter Elbling is Sour Mr. VinégarThe ratYesterday morning began in a most unpleasant manner.  As I was leaving for our monthly “new business meeting” at Globe and Maps Inc., I felt something squishy beneath my right foot.  Leaping aside I saw that I had trodden on a dead rat!  It took all of my self-control not to throw up.  Then I saw Jonesy hovering nearby.  Some experts believe that cats bring dead rodents to their owners to impress them, and others think it’s to show their appreciation.  I believe Jonesy did it to amuse himself for I swear he was grinning.  Whatever the reason I found it disgusting and I told Jonesy so in no uncertain terms.  I was in no mood to deal with the rat then and there, and so I hurried off intending to dispose of it later, and prayed that it was not an omen for the day to come.

The meeting began with the reading of the minutes and the reporting of the quarterly, which were woefully low.  At last,  it was time for new business.  My last suggestion, printing a map of the Sahara desert on an electric blanket had turned into such a fiasco that I was determined to make amends.  I had worked on my new idea for several weeks, made numerous prototypes and was convinced that if the company got behind it our fortunes would be reversed.  Get ready for greatness, I said lifting the cloth to reveal my surprise.  I suggest that we print a map of a different country on each sheet of a toilet roll.

Country toilet paperI am always conscious of the waves of jealousy emanating from my co-workers toward me whenever I’ve presented my ideas – after all it is my ideas which keeps the company afloat – so I was disappointed but not surprised at the tepid response. However, I was amazed at the hostility and downright ignorance that was hurled in my direction as soon as I had finished.  Ms. Snickety thought the idea disgusting and sordid, and said she would never be able to look me in the eye again.  Ms. Graben said that she didn’t want her bottom stained all the colors of the rainbow. Mr. Chang wondered if people would scroll through the roll looking for countries they hated before using it.  Mr. Karl didn’t say anything but when we took a vote he added his name to the nays.

In response, I told my co-workers that not only was I appalled at their narrow-mindedness, but also that their comments were more of a reflection of themselves, rather than on the product.  I would have continued but they all rose from the table muttering that they had work to do.  Mr. Karl picked up the sample toilet roll.  I’m going to pay someone back for that curry I ate last night, he said, heading for the rest room.  Mr. Gupta glared at him.  For some reason that had reminded me of the omen I had seen earlier, and I inadvertently blurted out, The rat!  We don’t eat rats, Ms. Gupta snapped.  Before I could explain she continued, In fact it’s the opposite. There’s a temple in Northern India where people worship rats.  I’ve often thought of going on a pilgrimage there myself.  Well, I said, if it doesn’t matter whether the rat is dead or alive you don’t have to go to Northern India. There’s one outside my door you’re more than welcome to.  And so ended another day at Globes and Maps almost as soon as it had begun.  Sometimes I wonder whether it’s all worth it and if I shouldn’t take my talents elsewhere.

To see what Mr. Vinégar’s coworkers look like watch the video Mr. Vinégar and The Ants by clicking HERE. Or you can read the blog “The Name” to see pictures of his coworkers by clicking HERE.



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