The rat was dead at the edge of the sidewalk and there was blood everywhere. Apples were half-eaten and strewn around and chaos was king.
“Must’ve been one helluva fight,” some guy said over the top the fence.
“Yeah, but you should see the other guy,” came the ready reply.
Bada Bump Ba
Blood was everywhere, and so was chewed up gum, and spit, and shit, and there was no end to it. No wonder people don’t walk in this neighborhood. They’d have to burn their shoes when they got home each day. If they lived.
And the traffic roared by, and the sun baked the narrator’s brain, and the dead rat’s guts began to rot and the clock struck 9.
Across the street, two guys stood talking over the top of their car, not noticing the rat or anything else. The traffic raced and roared beside them, but the low-talking, men drew the ears of the women who sat on the other side, far from the rat, but in the middle of the nasty sidewalk, sipping coffee, trying not to notice the blood, and straining, ever so slightly, to make out the buzzing whispers. The secrecy was catnip, drawing them in, although in the end it was nothing and the men left, never seeming to notice the rat.
They were regulars here and they knew the coffee was strong and cheap, even if it was a health food store. The men filling the bulk bins with catnip had recognized them, shaking their heads, and they all slipped into a bantering game they had been playing for decades, with their hair thinning and graying, with rats coming and going, with people passing by and seeing only the filth on the sidewalk.