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The Tenant


October 25, 2019

It’s 33 degrees today and my kitchen is smelling pungent. There’s a possum in the closed off chimney of the old coal range. It’s a feral creature and feral creatures tend to smell. It’s been living there since I moved back to Sydney in May last year. At nightfall, I sometimes hear it climb out and land on the kitchen roof with a thud before setting off on its nocturnal foraging.

A couple of months ago, I was cutting a particularly crusty loaf of bread with a serrated knife. The sound this made must have mirrored a possum call. From inside the chimney, I heard the possum challenge me with a loud ‘shick-shick-shick’.

The demolition man visited the house a few days ago. I told him about the possum and explained that I wanted it handled with care when the chimney, indeed the whole back structure, is demolished. ‘Don’t worry about that,’ he said. ‘I’m an animal lover. I’ll be very careful.’ He took out his phone and showed me photos of his poodle. He told me it weighs 16kg adding, ‘But he doesn’t look fat.’ I agreed. The dog looked merely chunky. ‘He’s the love of my life,’ he said.

I now want to hire the man purely on the basis of his compassion for animals.. 

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