God forbid you piss off The Union in New York City. The iron smelters, the transit workers, the stage hand dudes–all of them are badasses who don’t put up with tomfoolery or scabs. Okay, back in the day they would rally, riot or toss opposition into the East River, but today they have the evil, scary rat.

the union rat

Have you ever seen anything so gruesome? Having this creature unfurled in front of your building is like being branded with the scarlet ‘a’ or being put in stocks–except this thing is more funny than scary and doesn’t really hurt anybody but the pedestrians who have to walk around it. Imagine the poor union workers who have to blow the damn thing up. Talk about light-headed, whew!

Anyway, if a building uses non-union labor they are in jeopardy of getting “ratted.” Nothing like a twenty-foot rat to keep the scabs away and keep passers-by infinitely entertained.

Speaking of entertained, this version of the rat comes with its own boombox (see it there down by its right foot?) I believe this rat was playing T-Rex or Bob Seeger–not a rat with particularly good taste in music. Somehow I have a feeling the rat’s keepers–two muletted dudes in work boots, dirty jeans and sunglasses–were taking care of the playlist. I guess they were also babysitting the balloon as well, making sure the cops didn’t seize their prize.

the union rat

I’m very proud of the composition of this photo, with the golden Trump Tower over the rat’s left shoulder and the American flag over his right. It just says… I’m not sure, but it has to say something. Let’s not ignore the two FBI-guys quickly moving up on the unsuspecting Alfonse Damato look-alike.

I’ve had my own run in with the rat. While riding around with one of my clients in their company Hummer some years ago, they got a call on the radio that the rat had been spotted in front of one of the buildings they cleaned. Those rascally union folks! We rushed down to the site, but the balloon had already been deflated. I’m not sure what they planned on doing, but one of them was wielding a pretty vicious looking letter opener.

I’m thinking of getting my own rat, and putting it out in front of restaurants that give me terrible service, flat soda or attitude.