I wonder what would happen if a bunch of people got on the subway dressed as rats, and just sat down like nothing was weird, thought Chumley Fotpic, unemployed actor and leader of a top-secret-but-actually-pretty-obvious group of occasional public pranksters called We Got You.
We’d need at least 25 opera-quality rat costumes, thought Chumley, tapping the numbers into the calculator on his iPhone, and after after a few quick emails and a trip to the Eternal Halloween store on 25th street, the rat pack was ready for its secret mission. The target? The M train. Third car from the front, wrote Chumley in his super-secret agent email, which he explicitly asked his followers not to forward to any outside civilians.
The rat costumes were quite realistic, and so when 37 human-sized rats boarded the M train at 10:35 in the morning, just after rush hour (so some rats could sit) but not too late that there was nobody on the train, first people gasped and then they laughed and then they immediately got used to it, all in the course of about 20 seconds. You can tell this by the video footage that one of the rat-actors was taking, even though it’s illegal to take video on the subway. But the camera was embedded into the neck of the rat costume, so nobody could tell.
After about three minutes things settled down. And then things got more awkward.
A civilian commuting to work stood up.
“I’d just like you to know that none of us on this train are actually commuters,” said the man. We’re just plants–actors–and we’re here to react to your rat prank in a way that simulates what a real person might do when faced with commuting with 37 laid off guys in rat costumes.”
“Oh,” thought Chumley, “Shit.” But he couldn’t say anything because he was in his rat costume and rats are not supposed to talk.
“Congratulations undercover agents,” said the man who really truly did look like a real-life commuter. And then 2/3 of the regular-looking people on the train starting clapping–for themselves.
Then a cop came through the sliding door at the end of the car, which you are not supposed to do. He clamped a set of handcuffs on the nearest rat. The guy inside the rat costume felt the prickly heat of shame in his armpits but then the cop said,
“I’m not actually a cop. But I am an actor. Actually, I’m SAG,” and he handed the rat his card, and the rat took it, awkwardly, because he was wearing handcuffs.
Well. It goes without saying that the rat-men felt pretty awkward about this. But there was nothing they could do about it because the train was now going over the river, and nobody could get off.
There was a small dog on the train, under someone’s seat. It was a Tibetan Terrier and it barked a few times, and then it stepped out into the middle of the aisle and it unzipped its fur, and then out stepped a cat.