Monday, August 18, 2008

Rat corpses

The second was so large, so sleek, so nearly beautiful, she said – its fur flecked with brown and gold, its eyes receding but not yet infested – that, before she wrapped it in newspaper and dropped it in the bin, she spent time on the internet – to the great derisive amusement of her husband – just making sure that they hadn’t poisoned a native rat by mistake.

The first might have spent longer as an intact corpse than it ever did alive, as she told me: its small, desiccated and completely flattened body a rushed impression of a running rat. She said she’d had to flick it with a stick last week from the path where she walked under trees along the railway line, so that it might not continue to be trodden on where it lay, camouflaged by bottle caps and brown glass and turpentine leaves.

I could therefore see, she said – as far as the corpses of rats were concerned – she was fast becoming an expert in the field.

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