Thursday, August 31, 2006

So I was woken up around 4am. There was a dreadful cacophony of sirens that, half-asleep, I couldn't place. There were sirens that sounded like cop cars, and others like car alarms, and others like fire trucks, and over the top of it all a dreadful rising siren that ended on an unbelievably high note. A lovely counterpoint was someone shouting what sounded like, "Heeeelp! Heeeeelp!" And in between was a stern recorded message that it took several dozen repetitions for me to understand: "Make your way to the nearest exit. Evacuate in an orderly manner."

Out of all this, it was the recorded message that chilled me. What is it about recorded emergency messages that makes me think the custard skin of our civilisation has finally been peeled off? Maybe I've been watching too many apocalyptic movies ("You have twenty seconds to comply!" "Attention! Emergency! You now have two minutes to reach minimum safe distance."), but here I was lying in bed wondering what the fuck was going down at the Commish. I even debated texting Natalya to inform her something was going down at the Commish, but I figured she could read about it in the paper this morning.

At around five-ish, the alarms stopped going off. But then came the scratching. It sounded like a little creature - a rat or mouse - scrabbling about under my bed. Sometimes I thought it was coming from the other side of the room, and sometimes I thought it was right under my head. This was much, much worse than the sirens. I lay awake thinking of all the crap in my room and thus all the hiding spots a mouse could find. Would it run across my face in the dark? Would I step on it if I got out of bed?

I wished dearly for Meep; there would be no mouse nonsense if she was around. I thought about her comforting weight on my stomach, her reassuring and unmistakable silhouette against the faint light from my window, and the sound of her miaow. I toyed with the idea of asking Natalya if I could borrow Meep to rid me of the mouse. Around five-thirty I fell into a restless sleep in which I dreamed I cleared away all the stuff under my bed only to discover that the rustling noise was two tabby cats batting about the bloodied corpses of mice.

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