Carlton Gardens last night: trees, lamplight, me, and a herd of mega possums. They were those brushtail jobs, but enormous, the sumo wrestlers of possumville. At least fifteen of them, all biggies, strutting around on the grass, with as much 'tude as if they'd just stepped out of the Bronx brandishing bottles of contraband.
In the centre of this possum horde sat an old man, in a suit, with three boxes of Chinese take-away on his lap. He was doling out dollops of rice by hand. Occasionally a scrap of meat. In between scooping up globs of food, and making contact with possums' tongues, his fingers were relaying the odd load into his own mouth.
"They like rice," he told me. "And Peking duck. And pork."
I didn't have the heart to tell him that possums were supposed to be fructivorous. Besides, these possums clearly weren't. One of them, a marsupial with a babysupial in her pouch, chomped down on the man's finger and looked all set to haul him off across the lawn. No blood lost, but it was a sign of the times, possum-human-relations-wise
And there I'd been thinking that the worst the 'Bourne had to offer was the ganglands. Little did I suspect I'd meet with a superspecies of carnivorous possums. They'll be taking our jobs, if we're not careful. And stealing all our take-away. Who knows, this could be the beginning of the end for the human finger.