Autumn is dragging its feet. The days are delightful, but the nights still a little too warm for comfort. We’re out of a/c season, but at bed time, the windows are open and the ceiling fan on.

The family was curled up, all of us in the arms of Morpheus. Mrs L and I were in our bed, Spice was on her bed next to Mrs L, and Charlie was flat out on his bed. Who am I trying to kid? Charlie was on our bed at my feet.

The silence of the night was shredded by a crash. Cymbals? Window? What? The dogs were upright, ears cocked. Mrs L exclaimed “What was that?” The star of the show however, was me. I rolled from the bed, grabbing my trusty five iron and standing in one movement.

“I don’t know. Stay here.”

I strode, a growling Jack Reacher figure, my ferocious hounds at my side to the kitchen, where I turned on the lights. The house was quiet again, and the dogs went straight to the back door. Whatever the source of the noise, it was outside, not in. Hefting my golf axe, I went to the door, which is actually a sliding glass door. There I saw my reflection.

An arresting sight. There I was, a naked, belligerent telly-tubby brandishing an over-sized toothpick. Jack Reacher? More Nigel, his fatter, funnier cousin. Nevertheless, I was committed now. I threw open the door, banishing the reflection from my eye, bravely following my lightweight but fearless dogs toward the back of the house.

I was grateful for the security lights that tripped on as the dogs went to investigate, Tinky-winky following along behind, knuckles white on his tickling stick. At the corner, the floodlight revealed the shattered debris of a terracotta flower pot, its contents a mess on the concrete path. I felt the adrenaline pump stop, as it became apparent that the crash had been caused by something other than masked men with evil intent. A gentle fart meandered from between Tinky-winky’s arse, eager to reach the freedom of the night air. Both dogs huffed. Judgemental hounds.

The pot had been put onto a shelving unit, and had presumably been given a little shove by a cat trying to win a bet with his mate. Cats are forever exploring spaces marginally smaller than cat-size in my experience. Either that or a burglar was testing our reactions. If that’s the case, I imagine I would have heard him laughing at the sight of a naked, armed white seal.

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