Academic journal article Chicago Review

Yellow Peril

Academic journal article Chicago Review

Yellow Peril

Article excerpt

He who in this world lets suffer the living beings, whether they have been born once or twice, who has in him no compassion for living beings, let him be considered a pariah.

- Vasalasutta

When night is deep and thick I wake with a hiccup darkness is throttling me by the throat I get up mouse-foot so as not to disturb my wife (wandering in dreams through palaces of shops filled with coats and shoes with slight grunts of disdain) my head shudders I walk to the washbasin switch on the light-bulb click white WADDAFUCK the floor is a rash of cockroaches. Fright hits me like a fist in the solar plexus. But with hands over their eyes the black crustcarriers fleet-footedly flit down the inconspicuous little holes where wall and floorboards meet. When sun sets to shining I have to laugh all by myself at the scary pants fright of the night before but the following night it happens all over again. And when we return home in the evenings the fat arses are out already nibbling at our daily bread as if there's a big drought wherever they come from. Only light frightens them. I end up convinced that they leave in the daytime for a place where it is night. But at the same time they are multiplying fast. And they must have realized I didn't know what to do. Some of my friends advise me to drown or smother them but how could I? Was I to make an outcast cur of myself? Their little holes in the floor obsess me. Thus one peacefully steaming afternoon I try to measure the depth and lower a spool of thread down one of the sanctuaries: after 47 spindles and 8 hours 23 minutes of dipping there's a nearly imperceptible jerk and when I finally manage to reel back the thread a strange oval-shaped grain of rice swings from the end. …

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