In the town where I lived during my high school years, there opened a newfangled movie theater called the Malco Twin.
That’s right, two cinemas under one roof. Our minds could barely handle it.
Its floors seemed considerably less sticky than the old movie houses in town, the Malone (on Malone Avenue) and the Rex. The whole experience just felt more modern. The popcorn tasted popcornier.
At the Malco Twin, mentioned here for a reason, I saw the movie “Willard.”
A horror film released for summer frights, “Willard” came out in June 1971 and centered on a title character ill at ease in society but curiously assured amid a colony of rats.
Never mind how these friendships develop, but suffice it to say that Willard finds comfort in the company of Socrates and Ben, rats that he brings to work at times and eventually enlists to help him facilitate a crime.
Socrates will meet a gruesome death at the hands of Willard’s boss, and a company of rats will soon be set upon this guy. Human life being what it is, Willard turns on the rats and, based on their strength in numbers, the rats turn on him.
None of the cast rented tuxedos for Oscar night, but the movie did well at the box office and even spawned a sequel named “Ben.” (Yes, the theme song from this latter movie, also called “Ben,” got an Academy Award nomination and became a hit for Michael Jackson.)
That said, I remember the images of “Willard” flashing on the screen of the Malco Twin, with its mostly unsticky floors, and me wanting to lift my feet up onto the seat.
I am not very informed on the topic of rodents, and I consider that a blessing.
With this lack of knowledge, however, I can say that God created a great many creatures but few of them as gross as a rat.
A country boy knows this, and apparently the people in America’s hippest urban location, Brooklyn, know this, too.
Last week, the borough president of Brooklyn, a gentleman named Eric Adams, oversaw a demonstration of rat slaughter outside the main municipal building.
“Not only am I the borough president, I’m the pied piper,” he said, according to the Daily News of New York.
Pied piper and grim reaper, too. I understand his concern. Adams noted that at the 311 nonemergency call center, residents of Brooklyn made roughly 6,500 calls last year complaining about rats.
That was more any of the other boroughs, proving that even rats want to live where things are happening.
The traps, New York-made, five of them placed as a pilot project around the Borough Hall, meant to lure rats in with the smell of food in one chamber while exterminating them with a chemical in another.
Rats become instantly unconscious, then the substance kills them, a humane process, as it were.
Every city leader has problems, some common throughout the nation and some unique to their locale.
Various communities struggle with poverty and its generational impacts. Other cities see overwrought expansion, a developmental blessing but still a difficulty to be sorted out.
Brooklyn, that marvelous land of coffee roasteries and cultural diversity and general coolness, has advantages on display but also the most unwelcome guests. If residents want to lift their feet while sitting, who can blame them?
But they identify problems and work toward solutions. That’s what they call leadership. If you can be the pied piper along the way, so much the better.