What Rough Beast Is This?
Ard and I are collecting money in our street for a very good cause.
We enter a yard, climb the steps to the front door and knock.
A slow, ominous, ten-testicle-deep howling, moaning bark fills the air and reverberates through our chests.
We turn around.
At the bottom of the steps, blocking the path to the front gate is a beast with the face of a gargoyle and large enough to ride into battle. Someone has obviously bred Cujo with one of the Hounds of the Baskervilles and thrown in one of those Wargs from The Hobbit just for fun.
From the bottom of the steps, the slow, booming bark continues unbroken like a death knell.
The door stays closed.
There’s no one home.
Ard and I seriously consider the option of spending the rest of our lives on the landing. It’s very appealing but eventually we bite the bullet and decide to creep down the steps.
I volunteer to go first. Ard lets me. (The swine!)
We both edge past Cujo the devil-dog. He has serial killer eyes.
Ard talks to him the whole time in a high pitched sing-song voice as if he’s a cute dribbling toddler and not the slobbering blood-thirsty mass murderer he truly is.
“Hey there boy. How you going? Awwwww what’s the matter. It’s all right. No need to worry. We won’t hurt you. There’s a good boy. Please don’t mutilate us.”
The hound from hell lets us pass but follows close behind. I can feel his breath on my legs. He’s booming out his disapproval and making sure I’m fully aware that at any second, if he so desired, he could remove one of my limbs. Possibly more. A large section of my torso could also be up for grabs.
Ard and I make it to the gate. We open it, shuffle through and close it behind us.
And breeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeathe out.
We are collecting for the Heart Foundation.
Which is just as well, because my own heart has taken up permanent residence in my mouth.
And I’m pretty sure it’s just stopped beating.