The Possums

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

On Saturday night, Kate and I walked through Flagstaff Gardens on our way to a bar. It was about 1am. As we passed the big old trees that line the pathway, she pointed out a pair of possums sitting at the base of one of the tree trunks. Then she pointed at another beneath the next tree. And another. And another. And another.

Everywhere I turned possums were climbing trees, sitting in branches or by the path. As we walked by they just watched us, no fear; not scurrying away like possums usually do.

Their beady little eyes glittered in the street light in an eerie kind of way and as a group of them approached the path, I was suddenly struck by a horrible feeling that maybe I was stuck in some horrifying Australiana version of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ – only with possums instead of birds.

I think it was the way they were staring at me. We get a lot of possums around our place, but they’re proper feral possums that make that horrible hacking, hissing noise – and they never look at you, they just run away. These ones were so fearless that even one of the possums which had a baby wasn’t afraid as we walked within a metre or so of it.

I wanted to get my phone out and try to take a photo of them, but I was a bit worried that if I did it might anger them, and then the crazy Hitchcock style attack would begin. So instead I just walked a little faster, trying to keep an eye out on all sides.

I always thought the creepiest thing in a city park at 1am was the perverts. Silly me.


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