Alternately titled: The boring un-event with the rat at dark-time by mythalez
This short story is inspired by true events and is based on completely real characters. The lawyer of the hero completely endorses it. The legal representative of the other character could not be reached for comment.
This story is not about poultry and does not poke unnecessary fun at one of the Author’s friend’s.
It was a fine September night in Hyderabad, one full of clouds, with no star in sight. The moon was like a tiny orb, white like a baby’s teeth. It was a night well suited for sitting and watching mind-numbing-contentless american sitcoms.
Our hero, sat at his Kondapur house, staring at the vivid images on screen, cursing the jetlag keeping him up at that ungodly hour. Abruptly, his friend’s cellphone rang, a shrill, beastly noise much like the low guttaral of a charging buffalo. There was much panic in his friend’s eyes, for it looked like a leading indian bank was going broke. Consolation and sanity did not prevail and the friend left on a motorbike, headed to the nearest ATM, planning to withdraw as much of his hard-earned money as he could on that starless night.
Our hero continued to watch more of the arbitrary ramblings of the character they named after a songbird. Somewhere in the other room, a song from Kill-Bill rang out and he learned of the line, long enough to be measured in light years that stretched out in front of the ATM of this nameless bank. His friend entreated, “Go out, to the ATM owned by the State Bank of India. See if you can withdraw money from there”.
Our hero, not one bit afraid of the dark night with no stars headed out into the wilderness that is his neighbourhood. It was more silent than a buildup to a Navjot Singh Sidhu joke, way more silent than a fuel-hogging-american-SUV-revving-up-at-a-traffic-signal but less silent than an exploding supernova. [Yes. The author knows that supernovae by definition explode but defends his use of unncessary adjectives on the grounds of temporal insanity].
The trip to the ATM was futile and fruitless. Our story begins as our hero prepared to enter the gate to his dwelling. A diminuitve creature, known more commonly as a rat scrambled in much haste across the road. Let it be known, that our hero, was not afraid of rats, but the tennis-ball size of this one did send shivers down his spine. Our hero, stopped in his tracks, wishing that he had paid more attention in 5th standard science so that he could remember whether rats ran that fast naturally or when something monstrous was chasing them.
After waiting for what would have been an eternity had our hero been travelling at c, he ventured through the gates and up the first flight of stairs. As he rounded the corner, he heard a low *squeak*. He looked down just in time to see a brown, tennis ball shape go up the stairs. At that time, he heard another *aaarghh*. This one was louder and much more typical of the masculine gender. The brain, by then awoken from a state of jetlagged existence realized that a reflex scream had been dispatched as an initial response to scare the rat.
Fleeing down the stairs post haste, not much unlike a tactical retreat, our hero took a second to analyze his options. He could sit outside and wait for his friend to return from the light-year long line at the ATM or listen to what every inspirational movie inevitably boils down to: “Be a man”. Choosing the latter, and hoping that he wouldn’t be taking a trip to a doctor in twenty minutes for a shot against rat poison he ascended the stairs.
Thinking it wise to scare his worthy opponent, our hero proceeded up the stairs with much noise and fanfare. At each step, he put his foot down, making a sound that to the diminuitive rattus should have sounded like ominous thunder. Shining his light, he rounded the corner and realized that the area was secure. “One flight of stairs down, one to go”, he thought to himself as he mentally prepared himself for the continuing struggle. The struggle against nature, the fight against tyranny, oppression and injustice, the war against the metaphysical realities of exploding yellow stars. [Yes. The author is aware that he may have meandered off topic here]
At this point, it is appropriate to pause and consider the mental states of both the hero and the rattus. The author, knowing that his credentials in animal psycology are suspect, proposes that the rattus was as chicken as the hero himself at this point of time. From it’s diminutive mind’s point of view there was a five-foot-sandal-wearing godzilla looking to trample its squishy guts to oblivion.
Anyway, going on with our story, the hero, at the first floor noticed the rat peeking out, of the stairs. “Hmm, a worthy opponent. Let’s scare it some more.” our hero thought to himself silently while the rat made a *squeak* as if challenging the hero to a duel. Thinking on his feet, our hero realized the only way to attain victory over this rattus norvegicus was to shine a light so bright that would scare it into running away. He whipped out his camera phone (a Nokia N73, truly an excellent device by the chaps at Nokia who connect people) and accessed the camera, waited for it to load, set the flash to manual override, took aim, zoomed and pressed the button.
The brilliant tactical ploy worked. The rattus blinded by the light, yelling “Help, Help, Help. I have been vanquished by an infinitely smarter foe” [Loosely translated from rat-tongue. Original was *squeak squeak squeak squeak*]. Our hero, then returned to his computer and resumed watching.
PS: Amreeka trip travelogue soon.