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Poison for Rats: Six Kilos That Changed Everything


BEYOND THE STREETS Publishing is pleased to announce Poison for Rats: Six Kilos That Changed Everything, an upcoming book release written by Dr. Arthur Rapkin with Alec Banks. 

Growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Arthur Rapkin wanted to be a superhero, a ninja or a rockstar–anything but the factory workers and salesmen that surrounded him. In a true anti-hero’s journey, he chose a life of adventure instead. His memoir is an unflinching account of a compulsive — and often destructive — desire to be extraordinary in whatever he put his mind to. As he recounts, “If you’re gonna be bad, be real bad.” 

Poison for Rats: Six Kilos That Changed Everything begins with Rapkin being pulled off the tarmac on a first-class flight in Mexico City. He’s told there has been a clerical error with his ticket that can only be rectified in the terminal. Minutes later, he’s presented with luggage that isn’t his. Then, a hunting knife pierces the exterior of the cases, revealing a mountain of cocaine. Tortured, Rapkin insists the cocaine isn’t his. He just wants to get back home to his wife and 2-year-old son. His pleas fall on deaf ears. He’s sent to a place far worse than a graveyard: Lecumberri Prison —  a medieval fortress that the locals referred to as “The Black Palace.” Ultimately, the reader is forced to ask themselves, “Is it actually Art’s cocaine in those suitcases?” The answer, as true stories often reveal, is much more complex than a simple “yes” or “no.”

"Art Rapkin’s memoir is one of the most important books we’ve put together at BEYOND THE STREETS Publishing. It is an artfully crafted literary narrative, a deviation from our image-driven art books... but we like deviation here. Poison for Rats is the first of many of our forthcoming titles that will focus on incredible stories of ‘rule-breakers and mark-makers,’ in textual form. Admittedly I was skeptical at first when Art shared personal details about his life, often thinking, This guy is full of shit, there’s no way he pulled off that Bob Dylan impersonation scam or smuggled so many drugs into this country in aerosol deodorant cans, or escaped prison! But he always had the receipts to back it up, reminding me that truth is often stranger than fiction,” shares BEYOND THE STREETS Founder Roger Gastman.

Through a braided narrative set largely in the swinging 70s, Rapkin recounts his early life, full of gonzo-style hustles, kung-fu showdowns, celebrity impersonations, and rock-n-roll dreams, unveiling the exploits of a self-made outlaw whose bad behavior ended up changing U.S. drug trafficking policy and himself along the way.

About his story, Dr. Arthur Rapkin shares, “As a healer, I know that the best course of action is to own who I am. I don’t need to reveal my sins in a confessional; I don’t need to beg for forgiveness. I know who I am. And if you think I got payback for all my questionable conduct, you’d be wrong. But then, it’s all how you look at it. I’m still here to tell my story.”

Poison for Rats: Six Kilos That Changed Everything is published by BEYOND THE STREETS and is now available at the BEYOND THE STREETS Gallery & Gift Shop and online