Red and pink pudding strewn across the asphalt on what is now a Jackson Pollack-ified Baltimore street. It is night time and the rat skitters past an orange alley cat snapping peevishly at its own haunch. A train lays on its horn a half-mile away, thirty yards away, a few feet away, close enough now to hear the clacking of its gears over and over and over again: Baltimore, Baltimore, Baltimore. The tranquil rat turns away from the train to run down the edge of an alley. He is the terrorizing athlete of the night; his resting heart rate is incredulous — 300 beats per minute, faster than the sound his tiny gnarled talons make on asphalt. He is a shadow sprinter, clambering away. The train is still with us, clacking. Now, the rat’s long gone, his talons clicking. I’m on the stoop outside my house, cracking my knuckles, deliberating with myself: Is that pudding? Or are those the remains of a squashed rat? Does red pudding exist? Pink pudding? Surely, rats aren’t pure liquid inside. That must be pudding. Or abstract street art.
(Illustration by Brett Affrunti)