THE neighbours have been having problems with vermin coming into their houses.
One man, everyone knows as the top paramilitary in the estate had to get the council to put poison down because a rat climbed into his baby daughter’s moses basket. He beat it to death with a hurling stick and chucked it out into the front garden to ward off any other rats.
He called a meeting in the community centre where he works and everyone in the estate turned up. Everyone except the old woman.
It was agreed that letters should be printed and sent around the doors asking everyone to be mindful of food waste and disposal of household rubbish.
“I think we should picket her house and put her out” said a man.
“No, someone should just rap her door and ask her to stop feeding the rats” said a woman.
“You’re all a disgrace, how can you be sure it’s definitely her fault?” asked a teenage girl.
A discussion ensued about the old woman’s character. She’s away with the birds said one neighbour. Aye but she’s a pain in the arse said another.
It was established that the old woman’s name was Annie and she’s the oldest living person in the estate. Her family are all grown up and have moved away. Her husband died twenty years ago and her health declined since then.
Every night at 8pm, Annie would have called her cat in for the night. But Annie’s cat died ten years ago, just as her dementia set in.
The cat, named Fidel Catstro was hit by a car and buried by a neighbour. He tried to tell her but it went in one ear and out the other.
Every night the neighbours watch Annie as she comes out of her house, places a plate of food on the porch and shouts “Fidel, Fidel Catstro, come on in!” She perches herself on the bottom stair and sits for half an hour waiting in hope for Fidel to come back.
Fidel doesn’t come, but as well as the neighbours twitching their curtains watching, there’s a big fat rat hiding in a hole in Annie’s garden. He knows it’s 8pm and time for him to go out and get the dinner in.
The big rat scurries back and forth between the porch and his den, feeding his wife and their fifteen rat babies. His wife is ever so proud of him and looks longingly at her chosen partner. She can’t wait to have another fifteen rat babies with him. But she just needs Annie to stay alive to make it possible.
25th March 2017
Falls Library Creative Writer’s Group
Writing prompt 946
15 Minutes writing time