In a searing moment, the Rat gets too close to technology for comfort

R. Fink

While Judge Jackson sharpened his Microsoft-carving knife and Linda Tripp prepared to take a bite out of the Clinton administration with a civil lawsuit, the Rat pursued a potential legal matter of even greater import'finding out who was stealing his food from the lunchroom refrigerator.

'When I find out who the Brie rustler is,' he muttered, 'I'll slap 'em with a whole lot more than a restraining order.'

Of course, identifying the culprit wouldn't be easy. He needed some way to catch the offender in the act, Brie-handed, so to speak. The solution landed in the whiskered one's lap like a hot potato'or a potato-powered Web server, to be more precise.

While surfing his usual Web haunts, the Rat discovered that his spiritual British kin at the Temple Ov Thee Lemur had recently and successfully built a spud-powered Web server.'The gizmo combined a low-power computing device with the well-documented battery properties of the lowly tuber.

If the cyberrodent could find a way to power a webcam and a wireless network connection in a similar fashion, he could catch the Monterey Hi-Jack-er in the act, from a Gouda's eye view. He could then unmask the perpetrator online for public ridicule.

And so it begins

So as the cube drones filed out of the agency for the day, the Rat set off for the lunchroom to find some way of powering his lunchbox larceny detector.

He began by sorting through the fridge for foodstuffs with power-generating potential.

'Geez, I wish people would put expiration dates on their alleged food,' muttered the furry vigilante as he pawed through Tupperware containing questionable contents. 'Some of this stuff should be set free to roam in the wild.'

Knowing that nearly any vegetable can act as a battery when properly configured, the Rat looked for a healthy electrolyte-bearing item. This being the fridge in the agency lunchroom, the search proved futile.

'Who refrigerates Pringles? That's what I want to know,' the puzzled prankster pondered. 'We have to get a dietician in here to talk to these people.'

Frustrated by the lack of inherently electrical foodstuffs, he looked for other energy forms. 'I could put a photovoltaic cell in here,' the Rat mused. 'But the damned thing would have to reboot every time someone opened the door. The culprit would be gone by then. If the light was always on, I could draw voltage right from the bulb socket.'

His problem solved, the Rat began making unauthorized modifications to the fridge that would undoubtedly void its warranty and make someone at the General Services Administration very upset. He rigged his wireless webcam, disguising it as a can of diet celery soda.

'That should keep peoples' mitts off it,' he snickered. 'Say cheese, sucker!'

Just as he was about to complete his trap, the Rat noticed a small, plastic container of ricotta cheese that someone had left in the back of the fridge. 'Hmmm, wonder if it's viable,' mused the now-hungry rodent as he removed the container and opened the lid.

The Rat's jury-rigged power supply sparked the methane that escaped as he popped the container's top.

The resulting explosion plastered the contents of the fridge on the lunchroom's walls and left the Rat blackened like a piece of Cajun catfish in no more time than it took him to mutter, 'Just call me Wyle E. Coyote.'

The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad packets in cyberspace. E-mail him at [email protected].


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