I'm not talking to Rohemon, our resident gardener and pond thief! I might not speak to Rusnati either--they must be in cahoots. Prior to leaving Jakarta last month, I had a nice friendly chat about the pond with Rusnati, who assured me that Rohemon was well aware of my hatred of the sly, ugly, mottled, bewhiskered goldfish gobbling ikan lele he has been growing in the pond. We had an understanding--at least I thought we did. The ikan lele were big, almost big enough to eat, then. By the time I returned home, those lele would have been dinner, and I'd have my pond back to grow whatever fish I wanted--cute, bubbly goldfish at least;  dead skin gobbling spa fish at best.

It was dark and I was tired when I arrived home Wednesday evening, and frankly, I've been so befuddled since that I haven't wanted to face anyone, so I've stayed inside the last couple of days. But today is an Indonesian holiday so the house is mine! Early this morning, I wandered outside to inspect the pond. My heart rhythm began skipping to a happy beat when I saw it. Sweet Rohemon had culled the water  hyacinth so now, it barely covered a third of the water surface. The waterfall was in full operation, splashing gaily into the cool, clear, apparently monster ikan lele-free water! Yippee!

Just to be sure I watched and waited, taking care not to cast a shadow over the water. (Those ikan lele are sneaky buggers.) A trio of sapu-sapu, algae eaters, lazily fanned their tails as they sucked the rocks, that was all. The only sign of fish life. I stood, conjuring an image of  the happy fish I'd stock my pond with, the bright cushions I'd buy to line the edges, the way my feet would soon be tickle-tingling as I sat sipping wine while tiny fish nibbled my toes...what joy!

What fodder! The murderous monster ikan lele aren't gone!  They were hiding. Lurking in the shadows. As the first kernel of fish food hit the water, one darted out, then another. At least three of them. Longer, fatter and more sinister looking than when I left.