The dog's barking woke me in the early hours - my bedside clock said 4.00 a.m. Woof, Woof, it was a throaty bark from a big dog. I sat upright in bed, where was Ollie? Was the big dog murdering him? It sounded so close and the dog kept barking. I flung open the window beside my bed 'Ollie Baby, Ollie, Ollie, Ollie'. No cat. It was time for action.
I padded out to the front patio. A police car was sitting by the kerb on the street. Yikes, were we having another visit from Mr. Big. Perhaps there were more bodies being buried down by the poplars. My imagination raced away. And more worrying, where was the cat.
I heard voices, then knocking' someone was knocking on our back door. Mr. Big - yikes!!! I went to DH, "There's someone at the door."
"You're imagining it. Go back to bed," came the growl.
I went to the back door. "It's the police," said a voice. I opened the door. It's amazing how comforting the shape of a policeman can be. I'm 5ft 10in and he towered over me. He was huge and not in a uniform but in dark clothes. My mind raced ahead, a member of the drug squad perhaps, or even 'the murder squad'. Wow.
A woman's voice was yelling from somewhere behind him. "*//#*d**5" she screeched.
"Can you identify this woman," said the cop, "she says she lives here."
I padded out to the end of the patio and peered closer. The woman was dressed in burglar kit, sneakers, dark, shabby clothes and a felt beret on her head. Another cop was feeling her collar and the police dog, which was the size of a medium Shetland pony, stood lovingly by her feet. She looked mad enough to kill.
"Never seen her before in my life," I said.
"She was hiding down the side of your house," muttered the cop. "The dog sniffed her out." I immeddiately labelled the dog, Hercules. He looked at his handler and gave a loving woof. A stretch of tongue unravelled out of the side of his mouth like a roll of red carpet.
"*f***/g ***%/ pigs" screamed the woman.
I became aware that I was still in my nightie, (at least I was inside it and not outside it). And where was the cat. He likes sleeping down the side of the house. Certainly he'd be in Outer Mongolia by now. But the cop wasn't quite finished. He led me back to the mat in front of the back door and pointed. "Is that your knife," he said.
Yikes!!! There was a large, black handled knife with a wicked looking thin blade, siting on the mat. You'd have all been proud of me - there wasn't even a tremble in my voice as I said. "We never leave knives on the outside mat."
The cop ignored my rather dazed flippancy. He pulled a hankerchief from his pocket and used it to scoop up the knife. Wanted to dust it for fingerprints later, I thought, wow. The woman stated screaming again and the dog barked. John arrived in the doorway clutching his pyjamas pants to stop them falling off. (that would have been a thrill for them "What's going on."
"You f*******g *z/<>***" squealed the woman. She aimed a kick at the policeman and the dog seized her leg.
The cop held the knife gingerly. "She tried to hurt my dog with this," he said. There was a tight feeling of rage about him as he patted the dog with his other hand. Hercules let go of the woman and went, woof woof. God, where was the cat.
The policeman came in to take some particulars and I went and got a dressing gown. Although I guess it was a bit late in the day for modesty. The other cop escorted the cursing woman down the drive and the dog went with them.
The policeman started muttering into some sort of walkie talkie on his chest. "We got the woman, the man got over the back fence. Yeah, yeah, but we got him too. There's a stolen car out there with the keys in it, yeah, yeah. They've done several burglaries in the street, yeah."
Just then I noticed the cat at the door. He was practically walking on his stomach. First the face came around the side of the door and the eyes were as big as saucers. The body oiled itself around the door next, slow and careful, sniff, sniff..
"Ollie Baby," I said. There wasn't a peep out of that cat. Some events are too big, even for Ollie. A woman with a knife and a dog with a giant sized bark were too much for any cat to bear. He sniffed the cop and jumped up and sat on his notebook.
When the cop left the cat sat and looked at the frig. I fed him. Back in bed I couldn't go to sleep - it was five a.m. The cat was tucked up under my nightie and sleeping the sleep of the just. I kept thinking of the knife and how easily it would slip between the shoulder blades.
I needed cheering up and turned on the radio. The announceer was to the point. Seems cyclone 'Sose' is galloping towards New Zealand and should be dumping on us over easter. A large lahar is building on Mount Ruapehu and threatening to wipe out bridges, roads and power pylons if the sides give way. I turned off the radio - perhaps I should stay in bed for Easter this year.