The Plague by Albert Camus. Letter #1: Rats!

THE PLAGUE

Dear Fellow Torontonians (and all other city dwellers),

This summer I went to dinner at a lovely restaurant. A large party came in and were settling down to eat when a sudden high-pitch shrieking brought the entire restaurant to a standstill. The culprit? A rat! While moving the chairs, someone had pinned a rat to the floor. The wait staff quickly dispatched the rat, and slowly conversation resumed. Surprising to most, we stayed for dinner.

The good news? I was in Vietnam. The bad news? Rats are taking over Toronto.

It’s true. In the past few weeks all three of the major papers have reported a growing population of rats in the downtown core. The reasons are: warmer winters, more underground construction, and more composting and urban gardening. In short, it’s the perfect storm to ensure a vermin invasion. And I might have forgotten the rats, if not for the fact that Albert Camus’ The Plague introduces them on page 7 with this charming image: “When leaving his surgery on the morning of April 16, Dr. Bernard Rieux felt something soft under his foot. It was a dead rat lying in the middle of the landing.”

The imagery only gets better from there. And of course, the dead rats are only the first stage of the plague that strikes the town of Oran.

Is it coincidence? Are the rats in Toronto only the beginning of a plague conspiracy theory? Is it another twist in the growing-ever-weirder series of oddities surrounding our mayor?

Maybe – but heed my warning: no good EVER came from a town full of rats!

LibbyLetter #1: Rats

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