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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Bandicoot Leaves a Macabre Message

What you're looking at is the back of the house that I am living in at the moment, well, not really the back, more like the part that is hidden away from first glance as you walk in through the front gate. There are a few plants that the landlord and I have been collectively attempting to grow, but until very recently, the area that you see cleared of the heaps of mud that was on it, was, well, wasn't like that at all. In fact, if you look closely, you can see just how far towards me the mud had covered the paved surface until before I decided to push it back. This moving of large amounts of soil was thanks to the bandicoot, and when I say “the” that is an obvious reference and misgiving on my part to label one or many types of rodent that inhabits this neck of the urban jungle. Also, as it turns out during my research just now, the "bandicoot" that I refer to is the "Lesser bandicoot rat", and is not related to any of the species of bandicoot found in Australia and other countries. Still, I have seen this rodent, and/or it's species/family members, and they grow to be about the size of the average house cat, which is why the stray cats that hang around the place will have to carefully consider any schemes to try and bring down a bandicoot. Much like any cat-and-mouse situation in life, the cat does end up snagging a bandicoot, fetching itself a meal-and-a-half in the process. So, with that elaborate note on “size”, it's easy to see how a single night of “landscaping” by the bandicoot (or its kin) can lead to a total rearrangement as envisioned by the owner of the premises, and his eager tenant.

 Like I said, I did this a couple of days ago, and though it's rained quite a bit in the last couple of days, the effects of the mud on the concrete for so long have led to their continued, somewhat discolored state. So, it was quite by accident that, when I grabbed the trowel that I “salvaged” from the last crew that came by to re-paint the walls – and ended up painting everything including the TV and refrigerator, by the way, making me lucky enough to not be in the vicinity lest I ended up looking pale mint-green, like my walls are now – I happened to notice a strange object in the mud to the right of the area that I had just cleared. It was odd, in that it was unlike anything I had seen before, but the more I looked at it the more it seemed to be somewhat, and strangely somehow familiar. Curiosity getting the better of me, I bent down to pic it up, and shuddered!

 There, in the dirt, was half a figurine, or doll, staring at me with the familiar, human eyes that had been drawn onto its face. I recoiled in horror a little bit, thinking to myself, “This is probably what Jack Woltz felt like with that horse head in his bed.” There was none of that in my case, thank God, but where the bandicoot, or one of its more thuggish, and ruthlessly mafioso cousins had dug this little piece up from, well, we will never know. What I do know is, the message was loud and clear. There was going to be trouble if I ever dared move the earth that had already been moved. For a brief instant, I entertained thoughts of clearing up the rest of the mud, as I had intended to do before the Monsoon arrived, but they vanished as soon as I glanced down at the little flower girl, holding her flower basket up with a forlorn expression on her face, sawed off at the waist like an ugly reminder of a magician's act gone wrong. I haven't moved it yet, the earth or this little damsel-way-beyond-distress. As far as I'm concerned, the battle lines may be drawn, but to try and tackle this opponent on its own grounds, as it were, well, that would just be foolish. Here's temporarily deferring any major landscaping In favor of Clan Bandicoot. But I walk away muttering, “This battle may be lost, but the war...” ;-)
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