roden tia

I sit alone downstairs, bathing in warm light. The rest of the family dozes, floors up.

Typing away, aiming to finish this late night work.

The street is a dark chocolate, when suddenly it gets darker. The orange street light cuts out.

Must be time for bed

I peer out the glass, barely making the outline of our gate. There’s not much to see, an occasional motorbike putzing by to bathe the narrow lane with a flash

The light is temporal, as all things, and the dark returns.

And that’s when I see

that I’m not alone

There’s movement, a flurry of tail and fluff

must be that cat again

When I see the long, wet noodle, trailing behind.

that’s not a moon, it’s a space station

Rat.

It’s not unusual to see them in these parts, especially in our neighbourhood. Traversing the wires, suspended overhead, silent, but always, always, full of purpose. A quick, silent show, and gone.

But this one has business with me. He looks my way, nonchalant.

I see you

He pauses a whisker too long

I’ve seen you before

and now I know where you live

As big as Ripred. Smart as a whip, red.

Trying to decide if he’s going to mess with me now, or mess with me later. Credit to this guy, he’s got some big old rat balls.

He lingers for what seems like minutes and I decide whether to go and bang on the glass to shoo him away.

do I get up, or stand my ground

But it’s he who calls the shots, here and now.

Our one-sided standoff finally ends as he shoots me a final, derisive sneer and makes his way into the gloom.

Later, mate

I’ll be seeing you around

Published by Radutti

Teaching in Ha Noi, screwing things up daily but surviving to write about it. ...everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

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