Since The Husband left, I hate this part of the evening. I open the back door - just a ruler-length wide - and shout into the blackness for the dogs. Every time I open that door, I can't prevent the thought rushing through my head that something else might come in - that, ridiculous as I know it is, there might be an intruder on the back porch, waiting for this opportunity. Though I also know that if there WERE an intruder, the dogs would have gone crazy.
The Good Dog shuffles quickly into the house. No sign of the Evil One. I peer into the night, into the far reaches of the backyard. Not only no sign, no sound either. It's obvious. He has escaped to the front yard again.
For some reason, I don't repeat the process at the front door. I return to my computer, the Good Dog spiralling at my heels before finally wamdering off to stalk the kitchen for mice.
Work finished for the night, I've settled in to read the last gasp of my book in bed. Outside my wondow, I hear movement in the front yard. Wood clanking, softly but unmistakably. Is it someone trying to open the front gate, getting stuck on the fortress of wooden palings plugging the gaps at the bottom of the white picket fence? No, it's the Evil One, nosing around and trying to escape.
I am tired, especially of That Dog, so I go back to my book, dropping it on The Husband's side of the bed and switching off the bedside light when I'm finished. I fall assleep quickly.
A dog is barking out on the street. Barking so loud that I am wide awake - along with half the neighbourhood, I imagine. It's a familiar bark. The Evil One has somehow made his way out of our amateur fortress.
I leap out of bed, past the Good Dog, who is shaking the sleep from her eyes and rising from her plush basket at the foot of my bed to see what all the fuss is about.
I follow the sharp, high pitched racket beyond the gate and to the footpath, where I spot the Evil One on the street corner, poised for flight to the park, spotlit by the street light. His ears and tail are pricked, his chin tilted as high as it will go, his tone defiant. He seems to be shouting at the dogs on the corner, the ones whose fence he flies at in incandescent rage when we pass on our daily walk.
I squat on the pavement in my pyjamas and coo at him to follow me. I have to ease my way to within an arm's length of him before he trots over - then sprints past me towards the house and through the front gate. He's Evil, but he's not stupid.
I am back in bed, now wide awake, a cocktail of anger, adrenalin and self-rebuke (I should have dragged him in at 10pm!) tumbling through my veins. I really hate this dog - firmly The Husband's. It's the first day of school in the morning. I have so much work to do I'm worried about how I'll possibly get it all done. I can't sleeeep ...
The Good Dog is curled up assleep in her basket.
The Evil One is in the laundry - the sin bin - intermittently rattling on the door.
Mercifully, F is still silent in his bedroom.