The rat rumbled through the kitchen, eating everything he could find. The rat ate our peanut butter and popcorn. The rat ate our cereal and pretzels. Then he ate our oatmeal and assorted nuts. The rat ate simply anything. We set out several traps but none worked. The traps were too small, and the rat was too smart. He ate the bait and kept moving.

The rat didn’t fit under the kitchen cabinets, where the other vermin lived, so he sat on our couch with his tail dangling off the plaid cushion. He munched on our baked lays and diet cookies and complained bitterly, unceasingly, about our low-fat food products.

“We are obese,” my husband said to the rat. “And unhealthy. It’s either the diet snacks or gastric bypass.”

The rat gave my husband the finger.

“I still want the bypass,” I said. My friend at work had it done. For lunch she eats half a cracker and is full. She lost twenty-five pounds in one week.

“You want surgery, and I want a milkshake,” the rat said.

“I’m glad we don’t have a child,” my husband said. “What with this rat around, and our obesity. What would a child think?”

“Oh, it would be okay,” the rat said. “You could get the kid a dog, that would keep him busy. A dog is a nice animal.”

My husband started crying then. He had his face in his hands. I was pregnant once, but lost the baby. Sometimes my husband got emotional about it.

The rat placed his paw on my husband’s back and patted him. He went over to the stereo and turned on some adult contemporary music.

“You two need to rekindle your romance,” the rat said. He urged my husband off the couch.

“Why don’t you dance with her?” the rat said to him. “Go on, put your arms around her.”

My husband stretched his arms and wrapped them around my back. He stroked my hair. We moved around the living room to the sounds of a piano.

The rat watched for a while and then huffed off to the kitchen, always scavenging.