Heather led me through a thicket of undergrowth, and pointed to a banch of one of the lemon trees. “It’s a rat,” she said.
I studied it closely. Yes, there was still plenty of fur, and also what was left of a tiny foot with delicately curled toes. “How did it get here?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” Heather replied. “But isn’t it odd?”
“Yes,” I replied. “You usually don’t encounter a rat who has croaked in situ, as it were.”
“You’re right,” she said. “They usually creep off to a dark, secret place when the time comes, don’t they?”
Heather hastened to add that this was a complex matter. Elena has been pondering the thing for a week or so. The question is not how the rat got there, because only God knows what the pathetic creature hoped to find in the branches of a lemon tree, but rather where the rotting carcass should be buried. Obviously it can’t be too close to the apartment, because that would be “bad PR” for the visiting paying guests. Then the next obvious question is: WHO should do the burying?
“You know,” Heather said, “Elena might have asked you to do it, were it not for the fact that you have repeatedly told her the only thing you are willing to do in the garden two or three times a week in the summer is to water anything that is growing. She’s fully aware of the boundaries you’ve established in that regard.”
“Ah, but Elena is mistaken,” I said. “I wouldn’t object to taking care of this problem for her.”
“Yes,” I replied.
“Well, then,” Heather said, “I’ll be sure to tell her.”