Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Coca-Cola, drain cleaner and a rat

Apparently some rat poisons make the victims crave water. Sometime in the mid-'70s, a popcorn-addicted rat we called Willard must have finally nibbled on some the exterminator’s poison; it died in the Biograph Theatre's Coca-Cola machine's drain and totally clogged it up.

The situation called for a manager's quick decision to be made in the field. However, not knowing about the hidden rat corpse, and thinking I knew what to do, I poured a powerful drain clearing liquid -- we called it Tampax Dynamite -- into the problem. My experience told me that stuff could eat its way though any clog in a pipe.

Although the TD had previously done wonders in the theater's rest rooms, well, this wasn't one of my better decisions. Before long before a foul-smelling brown liquid started bubbling in the drain and then backing up and into the lobby's carpet around the candy counter. There was no stopping its spread, as Willard’s revenge worked its way.

The wretched mess that ensued ran everybody out of there on a busy Saturday night -- the stench was unbearable. We had to close.


My forgiving bosses in Georgetown had a new carpet installed in the lobby right away; it was much nicer than the original had been.

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