As the person at the helm of an international publishing company, I wear many hats. And sometimes, the job requires me to wear a hat I didn’t expect.

This week proved one of those weeks.

And it was a hat I hadn’t anticipated wearing.

You see, we discovered we had a pack rat (pack rats?!?) at our main headquarters. Now, those of you who know that we not only publish books but also operate two collectables stores might be thinking I’m talking about Dean and his many collectables.

But no, not Dean—he’s a collector, not a pack rat. (And not me as my entertaining boyfriend suggested…he’s a smartass that one.)

Not human. Rodent.

Okay, so I get the irony. If we were going to get rodents, of course they’d be pack rats.

Now, rodents don’t bother me particularly. I’m not afraid of them. I think what they leave behind is gross (I wash my hands a lot on a regular day, so you should see what happens when I have to clean up rat droppings…) and I can’t stomach the idea of killing them myself, but they don’t scare me.

But pack rats…they scare me financially. And for good reason. Pack rats are prevalent here on the Oregon Coast, and pack rats do damage. To wiring (like the $1,000 in damage to my car engine). To furniture (like our couch cushions). And especially to paper.

Can you see where I’m going with this?

So, I got to know the exterminator well this week. We caught the problem early, thank goodness.

But I washed my hands a lot. Ok, I’ll be honest. I took a very long, hot shower when I got home, too.

And in honor of my newfound duties last week, I suggest you read Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s all-too apropos story “Rats.” In fact, you can download it this week for free by clicking here.

Or, if you want to distract yourself with a whole bunch of great stories, buy Fiction River: Risk Takers, in which “Rats” first appeared.

Me, I’m going to go read a few cat stories…

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.