Rats! I need a sword to swallow!

By John Toth

Heather Holliday has an unusual job, which she uses at times to reduce her cost of living, or the cost of things that she just has to have – like a rat skeleton.

She fell in love with a particular skeleton, but didn’t have the $225 asking price. Apparently, rat skeletons are a big ticket item in some circles, and this was the only one left at the Obscura Antiques & Oddities in New York.

This must be a new trend getting ready to sweep the country. I can’t wait to get mine.

From what I can see on the Internet, Obscura is a great little shop selling some neat items, reasonably priced. Although some finds, like a mummified head of a Peruvian child circa 500 B.C. are more for show than sale, according to one review.

The rat skeleton probably fits into this category, but Holliday wanted it so bad, she was ready to swallow a sword to get it. Not just any sword; a long one. And why not? She does that type of stuff, anyway.

Holliday is perhaps the youngest sword swallower in the world. (There may not be a lot of old ones).
Now, that’s a dangerous occupation. Every time a sword swallower works, you never know what could happen. For example, what would happen if they needed to sneeze?

The blade passes within an eighth of an inch to several internal organs, and very serious damage can be done if anything goes wrong. It’s not like you can put a Band Aid on an internal injury.

Swords go in, swords go out, show after show. I tell you, it’s a rat race.

So, why would anyone do something this dangerous? To entertain the rest of us, of course.
Or, to get a few dollars knocked off a rat skeleton.

Holliday swallowed the sword, and the shop owner took $50 of the price. She walked away very happy with a $175 rat skeleton. Then she dropped it.

I just made that up. Then she died because she forgot to pull the sword out. I made that up, too. She didn’t die.

In Vietnam, Holliday could have bought the entire rat for about $4, grilled in lemon grass or roasted in garlic. I smell a rat.

It’s hard to picture that after seeing my pit bull chase and catch a rat. I didn’t exactly say, “yummy, fire up the grill.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, there are plenty of rats in Vietnam, because natural predators, snakes and cats, are considered delicacies.

“If people are eating the rats’ natural predators, then that means more rats for us,” one of the rat dealers told WSJ.

I’ll stick to chicken.

Ms. Holliday: If I worked in that store, and you swallowed a big, log sword right in the middle of all this rat and mummy head stuff, I would have given you the rat skeleton for free.

Shh. Just between us, the owners would never miss it. Don’t rat me out.