I live in London, close but not too close to the smoking sink of sin that is the City. We have a decent sized garden (actually bloody huge for around here). And we have wildlife. Once a hedgehog crossed the lawn, probably off to see its cannabis supplier in Brixton.
Amongst the fauna there are urban foxes. In fact so cushy are their lives, given the amount of food thrown away, urbane foxes might be nearer the truth.
Inside the house we have a hierarchy of mammals. At bottom is the road-sweeper that is my lot, rising though the other humans, the much petted and spoilt Dog and, at the very top, the Cats. I think the greater the degree of toilet training the higher up the pecking order they sit.
The Cats take no shit from Dog. They get their food first, they saunter past him and he moves to one side like a serf giving way to the squire circa 1307. The idea he might chase them is anathema.
But our Resident Rufus is a different case. To Dog, Fox is trash and to be seen off the estate with all due dispatch – or as my dad had it (in one of his many aphorisms) immediately, forthwith, if not sooner.
This requires someone to open the back door and, of course, by the time we feeble humans arrive Rufus is up the fence and off. Meanwhile Dog is whirring with frustration. When the door is finally unlocked all that momentum is freed and he…
… goes nowhere. It’s like linear donutting. So fast are his legs going that there is no traction on the utility floor and he makes zero progress for a good five to ten seconds.
Then like some sort of Trebuchet on steroids his pads grip and he flies out of the house, much as a small polished turd might if caught in the slipstream of a long held fart.
Watching this performance I marvelled at the entertainment as well as the dedication to hurtle after the long gone miscreant. What, I pondered if this was the 100 metres final in Rio, Usain is going for his third gold but the first 10 metres were iced. Now that would be both spectacular and hilarious. There would be two skills rather than one in evidence.
And other possibilities occurred:
- throw the javelin through a small hoop
- put crocodiles in the water jump during the 3000 metre steeplechase
- electrify the top of the hurdles
- add grease to one side of the shot putt
- down the back straight of all races have tennis serving machines firing tennis balls randomly across the track
I’m sure you can think of a lot more.