14 August 2011

The Rat Run

Last night was one of those soupy, humid August nights you get in Alcalá when there is no wind to stir the air and the white buildings, like giant storage heaters, release the heat they absorbed during the daytime. As soon as it got dark we dragged ourselves down to the Paseo de la Playa for a beer, and sat outside Siglo XXI chatting to the owner, Manolo, about the UK riots which he mistakenly believed marked the beginning of the English Revolution.

As usual on a Saturday night  the whole town was out; small children raced up and down the Playa on their rollerblades and tricycles, teenage girls were dressed to kill in their micro-skirts and six-inch heels, their male prey chatted to each other pretending not to notice, while their parents and grandparents clustered round tables in front of Pizarro's Restaurant in large noisy groups, putting the world to rights.

Suddenly we heard shrieks and shouts from the direction of Pizarro's.  Children were sprinting in all directions and ladies of all ages were leaping to their feet.  Manolo ran indoors and grabbed a broom, then legged it up the Playa.  We wondered what on earth was going on - had someone won the lottery?  In which case, why the broom?

Then, swift as a greyhound, a large rat ran past us, pursued by the prime of Alcalá´s manhood en masse.  It was like the San Jorge bull run in miniature.  The fearless rodent veered left, heading for the park, and out of our sight. Shortly afterwards we heard loud cheers, and deduced that Ratty had met his inevitable fate.

Never a dull moment in Alcalá de los Gazules ...


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