A rat died under my bed and I feel very conflicted about it. Or maybe it was a mouse. I’m not sure. Either way it sloughed off its mortal coil under my bed. 

I woke up from my nap and smelled something weird. Usually my bedroom smells either like sweat or Sophun. Not today, though. The smell was unique and unpleasant. I was hoping it was just something wafting in the window, or a neighbor’s plumbing backing up. Neither are entirely implausible, but the smell wasn’t quite right. I got up to take a shower and I came back. The smell was a stark contrast to the soapy aroma emanating from my skin. 

I looked under the bed and it was there. Motionless, slumped on its side. I had seen it yesterday on our balcony. I was reading, sipping on a BeerLao when I noticed it out there. It had been hanging around the past week or so. If Sophun would have seen it she would have freaked, but I let it be. My policy with members of rodentia is to let them do their thing as long as it doesn’t interfere with me. Honestly we probably have equal claim to this apartment as far as nature is concerned. 

Yesterday it looked lethargic. Actually I thought it was dead until it got up and scurried off. 

At some point in the last, maybe, 12 odd hours it expired directly under my bed. 

I’m not sure whether to feel disgusted or honored. Maybe it liked that spot the most and it was a comforting place to die. Maybe it was just happenstance. Part of me, despite the inconvenience of being the accidental undertaker, appreciated it. I hope its last minutes were painless and peaceful. 

I brushed it out from under the bed with a broom. It left a train of liquid. It reminded me of the bible. Jesus was said to have bled out blood and water when pieced by the legionnaire’s spear. 

I scooped it into a whiskey bottle box I found and put it outside the apartment door. I hope a cat gets to it. Circle of life and whatnot. 

I found some neon blue toilet bowl cleaner that advertised that it “Kills 99.88% of bacteria. Amongst other promises written in the curvy Khmer script. I squirted entirely too much on the floor and squeegeed it up. 

I took another shower because it felt like the thing to do. I put on a fresh pair of shorts and sat by the window. I thought of Sophun. Her newspaper and reading classes sat in the sun on the table. She is so beautiful with those glasses on.

The rodent laid in state outside the door in a whiskey box, and I sat in solitude staring out the window. 

There but by the grace of God go I.

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