When I got back from London yesterday tired and weary, I picked the hairy one up from her grandma’s and drove home in heavy traffic trying hard not to fall asleep at the wheel.
‘I know it’s rather early, Audrey,’ I told her, ‘but I think I’m going to have to go to bed as soon as we get in.’
‘But what about my evening walk, father?’ she barked. ‘You are not thinking of excluding it from today’s schedule, surely?’
We managed a hasty ten-minute trudge around the rec’ and headed for home. Then weirdness happened.
As we reached our front door we were approached by a young man with the face of a moustached gerbil, and a gaunt old woman in a handsome trouser suit who was pushing a wheelchair containing a beautiful child. ‘Good day to you,’ said the man. ‘We are Aleph. We can see you are busy, sir, but we are collecting for our church and we were just wondering if – ‘
‘Let me stop you there,’ I told him, searching for something succinct to say that would explain with accurate precision my lack of sympathy for his mission. I found something quite unambiguous in ‘F*ck off.’ I was too worn-out to say anything else.
As I was closing the door I heard the woman chiding me. ‘There are people in this world who are dying in agony because of men like you,’ she hissed. ‘Dying in agony.’
I dare say she had a valid point.
Before shutting the door completely I waited a beat while I calculated an apposite reply. Satisfied I had found something appropriate, I continued with: ‘Drop dead.’
I checked that the door was securely locked, and while Audrey settled in her favourite spot upstairs beneath the mixing desk I went into the kitchen to prepare a light supper of green tea and cold pizza. Reaching for the kettle, I was taken aback when it suddenly moved three inches to the left as if propelled by an invisible hand.