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On a sunny summer afternoon, a man was walking down Main Street in the small town where he lived when he noticed a "new" antique shop that had just opened. The window displays intrigued him, so he went inside to browse further. High up on a shelf near the back of the store he spotted a brass sculpture of a large rat. The casting was of the highest quality and the detail was exquisite; it even had whiskers!

So he asked the proprietor "How much for that rat?"

"Ten dollars for the rat, and fifty dollars for the story behind it," replied the proprietor.

The man quickly pulled out a ten and handed it to the proprietor.

"Don't want the story, eh? You'll be back" said the proprietor with a wry grin.

As the man was walking the short distance to his home with the brass rat tucked under his arm, he had the strange feeling he was being followed. As he looked over his shoulder, he noticed several live rats following him. He quickened his pace, but soon became aware that the rats behind him were increasing and coming toward him at an ever quickening pace. He broke into a run toward the river, and when he reached it three blocks later, he heaved the brass rat into the water. The thousands of rats in his hot pursuit went right past him, diving into the water after the brass rat and drowning.

Exhausted by the ordeal, the man began walking slowly toward his house. Then a light bulb went off in his head and he walked briskly back to the antique shop.

"Ah," said the proprietor, "you've returned for the rest of the story!"

"No," said the man, "I really have no interest in the story behind the brass rat you just sold me. I just have one question to ask you."

"And what would that be?" asked the proprietor.

"Would you happen to have a brass Republican?"