The Rat

I saw a rat, with the desperate guilt and squeak of a teenage boy, scurry out from a brick hut and into the dirt road. Not unlike others who have tread on holy ground, Mr. Rat was being followed by a furious young woman. Like a ninja breaking boards, she slammed a plank over the rat’s spine.

The rat kicked his feet and hands, but without a spine it was pinned into the dirt. The entire family came out to join the commotion. Much like a seven-year-old trying to enjoy the last seconds of a carnival game, the father grabbed the plank from his daughter’s hands. He greeted his departing guest with a near fatal beating. The rat’s body continued to twitch as the mother and little brother took their turns.

With jubilant smiles, they stood around the flattened body as if it were the same fire that warmed their spirits at night. Feeling a bit exposed, they turned toward me.

My amusement reflected in their triumphant smiles and we all seemed to laugh together. But not entirely, my sunglasses kept us worlds apart.

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