“We are gathered here today to mourn the death of one of our finest, Rat Chester. The pain is unbearable. We will not stand for this anymore. This is the beginning of the end of the Gould Street construction. The revolution starts now.”
This is an excerpt from the eulogy presented by mayor Ralph Rodentia at the funeral for Chester, the recently deceased Gould Street rat.
I would soon learn that as construction teams dug up Gould Street to perform water main repairs, they were breaking the foundations of the area rats used to call home.
I raced from the Rogers Communications Centre to the Podium building (POD) when I got a notification from the Free Food Locator at the Ryerson Facebook page. Knowing that free Salad King awaited me during this dark time, I was about to run into POD when I saw a large group of rats just outside of the building.
Going to school in Toronto has desensitized me to a lot of things that occur on and near campus. Most of the time, I keep my music on and my blinders up, but something about the state of the rats was both terrifying and intriguing.
At least 97 rats stood on their hind legs, all facing another rat who laid lifeless on the ground, surrounded with pieces of stray street meat from the hot dog vendor. I immediately recognized it as a funeral, as I had buried my hamster Adobe just months prior.
There’s something about the state of the rats was both terrifying and intriguing
I tiptoed with caution so none of the rats would be disturbed during their grieving. A branch snapped under my weight and the rats turned in unison to look at me. It only took a few seconds for a rat to wave me over.
I took a seat. As the rats stood at attention, I felt their somber energy. The rat who waved me over broke the silence and introduced herself as Rachel Ratbert, one of Chester’s best friends.
“Chester already suffered from angina,” says Ratbert, with tears falling down her whiskers. “When the drilling finally reached our underground homes, his heart gave out.”
The rats have been praying since the construction began late summer. They decided to accept the construction, but Chester’s death in early November broke them. The result was RATARCHIST, the first and only rat led anarchist group.
The leader of RATARCHIST, who asked to remain anonymous, created a temporary housing unit at a secret location on Ryerson campus while the other rats came up with a game plan. So far, the rats have decided to infiltrate the outside world in order to raise awareness.
“We were hoping our presence would cause protests about construction, but we haven’t had any luck yet,” said the leader.
While the construction on Gould Street is set to finish by early December, the Gould Street rats have already lost 70 per cent of their homes. The mayor of the Gould Streets rats Ralph Rodentia doesn’t think it’s possible to rebuild their underground city once construction ends.
While the Gould Street rats have the option to relocate to the subway, Rodentia refuses to move his people. “The TTC rats have no class,” Rodentia said while nibbling on old cheese he found by the Student Learning Centre. “We would rather die fighting for what we believe in than ever live with such filth.”
Winter is fast approaching and the rats are left with few options. Despite everything, they still have each other to hold onto.
This article is dedicated to the memory of
April 2018 – November 2018