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Milo and the Burglars

Over the years my cat Milo has taken to climbing on top of me when I lie half asleep in bed. He makes himself comfortable and then begins to purr very loudly and dribble to excess. I have become quite accustomed to this – indeed I almost welcome it; and these days I find it very hard to get to sleep without ten and a half kilograms of noisy fur slobbering in my earhole. One night recently we had all assumed our customary positions and were drifting lazily away when there was an enormous CRASH! followed immediately by the strident tones of a burglar alarm shrieking its head off. Sally reached the window before me because she didn’t have to remove ten and a half kilograms of cat and pour the saliva out of her ear first. Consequently she was rewarded by the sight of three youths racing in panic away from the dairy across the road. By the time I arrived the excitement was over, though the alarm continued to shriek. We rang the dairy owner.

It would appear that the burglarious youths had attempted to smash one of the glass panels of the door with what looked like a paving slab or a lump of concrete, thereby making two mistakes with one action. Firstly they failed to appreciate that the glass was reinforced, and instead of shattering and allowing them entrance it merely took on the appearance of crazy paving and sullenly barred their way. Their second mistake was being unaware that the alarm was configured to respond not only to movement but also to vibration and so it immediately went into panic mode as the concrete rebounded from the glass and the shockwaves spread outwards. Indeed, so sensitive to vibrations is the alarm that on occasion it has mistaken the sounds of over-enthusiastic early morning council rubbish bin emptiers for an army of marauding vandals and woken up the entire neighbourhood with its caterwauling. Mind you, who am I to claim it was mistaken?

The safety glass had bowed inwards from the concrete blow and it was blocking the mechanism of the sliding door. The dairy owner had to smash chunks of it aside – no mean feat. Eventually the alarm was silenced and all was made safe with plywood and nails. We returned to bed and soon the only sound to be heard was the rumble of a contented cat and the occasional splash as the level of the saliva lake in my ear rose another notch. Goldfish swam lazily hither and yon, frogs went ribbitt and a family of swans took up residence behind the third hair from the left and sealed and waterproofed their nest with wax. Sometimes my dreams verge on the bizarre…

KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! on my front door. "POLICE!" yelled a dark blue voice. Pausing only to empty my ear into a nearby bucket, I struggled into a dressing gown and let the policeman in. He seemed to think I had rung the police to report the attempted burglary and he wanted to take a statement At the time I wasn’t sure where he had got that idea from (being half asleep I wasn’t thinking too coherently) but later I realised that he was confusing our telephone call to the dairy owner with the official report made by the dairy owner and by the security company that monitors his alarm.

I didn’t think he would be very interested in the lake levels of my inner ear and such proved to be the case (though Milo the Cat sucked up to him shamelessly and got a good stroking to as a result thereby increasing his dribble count to a stratospheric value – he always was a pushover for anything in uniform). I handed the conversation over to Sally who was the only one who had seen anything of note. Her description of the youths was vague – which was hardly surprising given that she only saw them for a split second through a fog of sleep. The policeman was most understanding. He apologised for waking us, stroked Milo one last time and splashed away towards his car.

Excuse me, I need to change my trousers. Milo’s been asleep on my lap for the last hour and I’m a bit damp in the general direction of my thighs…

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