The Money Rat

It had been a surprisingly quiet day at the Imperial Mint. The money printers had been running smoothly, not even once causing a paper jam or complaining that yellow was running out, and most jobs already were done by noon. On such a day, any minder or guard would be bored to death, if it hadn’t been for the engineering prowess of Josh, who had managed to tune one of the CCTV monitors to the sports channel. While this technically was a fireable offense, the guard room had large windows watching the fabrication hall. So they probably would notice a van coming in at the parking lot, masked people jumping out and running towards the entrance on the remaining CCTV monitors, and even if they didn’t, they surely would see those people jogging by to reach the freshly minted piles of cash.

But today was a surprisingly quiet day, and the only thing moving in the parking lot was a lonely rat. Even if the guards had paid attention, they wouldn’t have seen the rat, for the rat was small and the parking lot unreasonably big for a building that so few people would visit in their entire life. But the Imperials wanted their buildings to make an impression, so of course it had to be big, and of course it had to be near the most beautiful landscape the country had to offer.

The rat meanwhile was rather unhappy about its situation on the parking lot. The only thing kinda looking like food was painfully obvious rat poison, real cover against predators was eternities away in all directions, and the pavement was annoyingly rough compared to anything it knew from the sewers and later, enclosures. But all this pain would soon be forgotten, it could almost sense the cheesy smell of success.

A red dot was dancing across a gateway of the building in front of it. The mission was clear: Gnaw through it. The rat ran towards the gateway and went to work. The rubber tasted terrible. But, rubber being rubber and rat teeth being rat teeth, the rat made quick work of it. It was in, but the helpful red dot was nowhere to be found. The rat decided to wait for a minute for it to show up, but even after two minutes, the red dot wouldn’t show up. Cursing at its unreliable partner, the rat went on, searching. It had trained for this.

As with anything in the area, the unreasonably large hall contained unreasonably large buckets and contraptions, and a stair with unreasonably large steps leading up it. People noises were coming from upstairs, and the rat decided to check those out first. Grated stairs, the rat sighed. Of course. Humans seemed to enjoy tormenting their feet.

Finally having arrived at the top of the stairs, the rat saw a familiar color scheme in one of the buckets below. Unfortunately, it had to pass the guard room to get there, but fortunately, all the guards were staring at a screen. The rat closed in on the room, the people in it sparsely making noise. But just as it was in the room, the people started yelling and jumping around. The rat hasted forwards, through the other door, away, away from the stomping feet, which celebrated Josh turning one of their walkie-talkies into a TV speaker for the sports broadcast.

The rat looked down onto the bucket with the familiar color scheme. In it, there were more 1000 ¤ bundles than it had ever seen. The fall down onto it was, while unpleasant, definitely not dangerous, so the rat jumped. Just as the rat had landed, the guards started cheering again, their team had scored a touchdown. One of the guards quickly went back to dutifully inspecting the other monitors and the hall, but there was just as little happening now as there was fifteen minutes ago. Even if he had tried, the grey rat was basically invisible against the grey background of the bin.

The rat grabbed one bundle with its teeth, jumped out of the bucket and back towards where it came from: A dirty van, parking on a nearby road leading to the forest. The handler gave the rat the promised bit of cheese. Then, he opened the doors to the mobile enclosures. More rats were waiting. The money rat, pleased with the bit of cheese it had gotten, but still hungry for more, scurried back to the Imperial Mint. The other rats followed it.

They had trained for this.