Tonight we’re spending a romantic night in a private villa nestled in some rice terraces in Bali, so let me tell you about that. It’s a really beautiful place with —
Scrtch scrtch scrtch
What the hell was that?
Scrtch scrtch scrtch
There it is again. It’s coming from just outside the bedroom door, in the kitchen.
We’re city people. We live in New York City. We know the sounds of blaring horns and traffic and late-night parties. Even the sound of a gunshot barely raises an eyebrow.
But we don’t know rural life.
We’re in Bali. Where is Bali? Indonesia, so that means…bears? No wait, not bears. Tigers! Shit, there’s a tiger outside the door. Probably a great big tiger with great big teeth. Go and see, will you?
Hell no, you go, I don’t want to get eaten. Besides, you eat more carrots than me, you should be able to see in the dark.
So here I go, creeping to the window. I draw back the curtains and press my face against the glass to see out. I look like someone in a horror movie who’s about to be attacked by a man with an axe and half a face.
Through the window there’s nothing. I see a dim light above the kitchen sink that we couldn’t find a switch for. Earlier we’d ordered a takeout meal of nasi goreng via our Airbnb host and some of the containers were still on the kitchen table.
I return to the bed, tucked up snug with the air conditioning gently humming. Just as I close my eyes, there it is again.
Rstlrstl scrtch scrtch
We decide whether we can just ignore it, but no, it’s too loud, too insistent and if anything it’s getting louder and more insistent. Something is definitely happening in the kitchen.
It’s probably a snake.
(I’m terrified of snakes.)
And when it’s finished out there, it’ll probably slither out of the kitchen window and round into the bathroom and settle in for the night inside the toilet and will be waiting for you when you go pee in the morning.
Thanks for that. I’m never sleeping again.
Fearing for my life, and more awake than I’ve ever been in my life, I inch open the door to the kitchen. In fact, not even an inch. Two, three centimeters at most. Just narrow enough to not be as wide as I imagine a venomous Indonesian snake to be.
I still can’t see anything. Shadows vaguer than a politician’s promises decorate the darkness. We have to do something. We need a plan. We need light. If we switch on the main kitchen light, hopefully the creature will be as scared as I am and will leap or slither away. The light switch is just inside the kitchen, arm’s reach to the right inside the door.
We consult on the plan and I’m elected as the carry-outer of the plan. I grab the corkscrew we’d used for our bottle of wine earlier as a weapon, and brief flashes of me overpowering a tiger and gouging its eyes out and triumphantly wearing its fur as a coat flick through my head.
GET ON WITH IT.
Okay, here goes…
In one breathless movement I yank open the door and reach through it, scraping my arm on the door’s edge in the process, then for one horrifying second I can’t find the switch and my stomach drops, but then I click on the light and it illuminates the room. My eyes scan quickly — normal, normal, normal, normal, trash can! The trash can is overturned and the plastic bag of dinner leftovers is strewn in front of it, and past that is the swaying tail of an escaping…cat. It’s just a little tabby cat helping itself to our leftovers.
No tigers, no snakes, no crazy axe-wielding men. Just a lil pussycat. Crisis over, everyone. I’m going back to bed.
Now, where was I? Oh yeah, I was telling you about this beautiful private villa. It’s a piece of heaven, among some rice fields in northern Bali and — oh man, this post already almost 700 words. You’ll have to wait for another day, sorry folks. Here’s a picture in the meantime:
P.S. I was very wary of snakes when I was in the bathroom the next morning.