It sounds like a dog barking. “Who? Who who who.” The number of who’s varying between three and, I decide, eleven. I discount this theory though (having rearranged the duvet several times and drunk some water), for three reasons: one, there are only two dogs within a mile of here, and they only ever bark in duet, whereas this is definitely a soloist; two, they wouldn’t be allowed; and (what was three, oh yes) it doesn’t sound anything like them.
By now I’m interested. It’s three forty. I toy with other possibilities while the barking recedes, circles the house and returns. Pigs? Definitely not. Birds of some sort? Local sprites rehearsing for Walpurgis? Wolves? Not this far south, surely.
I get up and look out. Obviously, it stops, and I can’t see anything except weak moonlight. I go back to bed, and it starts again. Then fades and stops. Then starts. Three. Eleven. Nine, was that? Is it always an odd number? I paraphrase Michael Frayn’s line for John Cleese: It’s not the sound, I can take the sound. It’s the silence I can’t stand.
I decide to list the Beatles’ singles chronologically. What was the B side of ‘Love Me Do’? Okay, A sides only. I get to ‘Lady Madonna’.
The sun starts to rise, the barking stops, and I go to sleep, to dream (as usual) of going back to work and losing the car.
(to be continued)