A card from Stenchy

Long-time readers of this blog know its unofficial mascot: Stenchy, the Portland food slop composting rat. I haven't seen him in a while, but today I got a Christmas card from him. And enclosed was a lovely note, on scented paper, part of which I thought I'd share.

I hope everything's going okay for you. I hear things are getting a little rough over there for the humans. My own Portland friends say they're doing fine, though. The pickings have been good. Sweeps or no sweeps, those street campers are a godsend. No garbage cans to deal with – they just lay it out like a buffet!

Now, I really shouldn't be talking about that, given my own position of privilege. For the last few months I've been holed up at a sweet resort in Arlington, Oregon, working on my autobiography. The working title is The Green Bin Mile. Reeko has been talking to some people in L.A., seeing if maybe it could be a screenplay.

We had some problems when we first got here. We moved into what seemed like a nice joint, but it turned out to be in the hazardous waste part of the operation. We both wound up in detox for a week after we ate some bad stuff that they traced back to OHSU. But now we're in a nice tunnel over by the regular landfill, and it's a great getaway. So much nicer than Portland. We got sick of hearing about supply chain issues. We never run into that problem out here.

I saw on Twitter the other day that my uncle in New York City was walking the picket line with the writers' union from the Times. It was too funny. He was telling everybody he was "Scabby" and that he was going to go in and do some copy editing. It was all a pose, of course. His real name is Raúl.

The little rats think that Scabby is real, but eventually they find out that he's just a made-up character. I remember my mom trying to keep the gag going when we kids started to wise up. Finally she admitted that the guy we were looking at in the dumpster behind the Safeway was just "Scabby's helper."

I'm not sure how long I'll be out here. You know how it is with the writing deadlines. When the project is finally done, I'll probably move back somewhere in the Portland area. But I'm loving the country life so much that I don't know that I'll return to the inner city. Some of the guys here are talking about setting up in Clatskanie and mainlining the used French fry oil when it starts pouring in. Although I'll tell you, right now there's no place better than Arlington. Okay, the politics are weird sometimes, but other than that.

Anyway, have a blessed Christmas and send my love to everybody out there on the blog. Remember, Portland, unwanted fruit cake and cheese balls can go in the green bin! And a shout out to my murine homies in the backyards and driveways all over town. May the Christmas scrapings be rich, fragrant, and plentiful. God bless us, every one!


  1. Sniff. God Bless you Stenchy you dirty rat you.

  2. Who needs Reindeer or childish Snowmen named Frosty when we have Stenchy? C’mon now.......I think we are all past the Santa Claus phase by now. Or at least I hope that we are. And besides, does Santa give out free tents and tarps? I think not.


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