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The Rat and the Robber

Two unlikely strangers arrived on the same night roughly a fortnight ago. A rat, and a robber. The latter has been eradicated we hope, whilst the former has since become a true comfort. Even a guardian, perhaps. The insistent chewing of your bedroom wall turns out to be a lullaby compared to the footsteps and creaks of an unknown individual outside your window.

The smaller of the strangers has also turned out to be quite a smart little fella, snacking on the peanut butter sandwich whilst avoiding the tiny guillotine which was its plate. The much larger, unwelcome stranger on the other hand seems to have been deterred by simple methods we have put into practice such as locking the back door. Who knew safety was so simple. But I will disclose a piece of embarrassing information… the three of us have only slept alone once since the violation of our little home in South Hobart, and that happened to be the night the robber came back.

The main event occurred at 1am on a Wednesday night. I say Wednesday night and not Thursday morning because it was most definitely an incident which occurred in the context of darkness, of sleep, of safety.  

Somebody, we don’t know who, opened our back door as if walking into their own home and wandered past our bedrooms into the living room. There, they went through Harriet’s bag to find her wallet and pocketed all her cash (including all the coins, I mean who even does that). Testing their luck, they then wandered into the sunroom which opens onto Tasha’s bedroom, when Tasha woke to what she thought was me sleepwalking. She asked me if I was okay, and then the robber ran.

And although I usually wake up to even the slightest of human movements, that night I slept completely soundly. Tasha on the other hand did not. And Harriet would find it very hard to from then on.

I should also mention that this disgrace of a human who may as well have made himself a cuppa and tuned our piano made a great fortune that night. On his silent, superhero like sprint through our living room and kitchen, he managed to grab both of Harriet’s precious guitars. I don’t know whether they knew their guitars extremely well or whether they’re the luckiest bastards to have ever stepped foot inside someone else’s house, but they left my guitar (sorry Harriet). It now sits alone, rigid and on edge, strummed every now and then in a tribute to its lost friends. I’ve considered leaving it out by the front gate as a sacrifice, anything to deter the creep.

Exactly one week later but this time at 11pm, we decided it was time to sleep in our own beds. Brave, I know. And slept soundly once again. Didn’t even wake to the sound of the landlord’s dog barking from the unit behind us. Didn’t even wake to the hero (being our landlord) chasing the attempting robber from the entrance of our house down the side path. Didn’t even wake to the police arriving at the scene. Just a normal Wednesday night.

I now sleep with a bread knife next to my bed, whilst Harriet stops the flow of her lungs at even the sound of a gentle breeze. Tasha has adopted the ritual of closing every single window and door in the house before bed, even double checking the fridge. This all happens after dark of course. Bad people do not exist in the day time.

Immediately after this nightmare-like incident the sound of the rat was like feeling your shoulder being tapped on by pale, hooded figure with long, skinny fingers. But once the chew had been differentiated from the footstep, it was like hearing your Grandma knit.

The moral of this story, and the only advice I can pass on, is to trust no one ever. And do not buy into sentimentality, it’s much better to own cheap, worthless possessions. Evil exists kids, and it exists in the night time, which in its later hours reveals the absence of all things precious – including your housemates’ sanity.

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