It began simply enough – a barking dog. My neighbour breeds dogs. At the time he had about ten in a concrete kennel block out the back. It was early summer.
I left the back door open a lot – I like to sit at my desk downstairs and listen to the birds and smell the air while I work. The barking started out of no-where and it quickly ground me down. Two minutes at a time, ten minutes, half an hour. Bark Bark Bark Bark. Always just one dog.
I tried shouting at it. Then throwing stuff at the kennel block – shattering a plastic panel my neighbour had put up to keep the worst weather out. And I played music inside to drown out the noise.
Day after day, between the hours of nine til four, that lone dog shattered my peace every single week day. I never caught it in the act, it was too savvy. Days turned into weeks. I started to get weird. The dog was doing it on purpose and my neighbour knew all about it. In fact, he was allowing it to happen to get at me for something maybe I’d done in a past life, maybe something I was yet to do.
I started playing music LOUD in the early hours. I’d ratchet up the speaker to full and pump some Sonic Youth out hoping my neighbour would come outside and we could argue, shout, then fight. I’d wait til I saw him sometimes, then go out to my garden and scream “Those FUCKING DOGS!!!!” Then I’d punch stuff, or smash things to bits like a male Gorilla. But I couldn’t confront him directly, composed, about the dog. He’d be too clever and I’d end up saying something which could be used against me in a Psychiatrist’s office. This was no time to talk, it was a time for action.
I knew there were others in on it. The whole thing was part of a bigger plot. The Police were probably behind it: they’d been after me since I got diagnosed, especially when I got weird. Funny that. The Postman…..Meter Man….all of them, they all knew. The dog was the tip of a nasty iceberg. But I was wise to them. I shut my curtains for months, didn’t answer the phone or the door either, and accumulated a three month pile of unopened mail. I stopped talking about things I thought were ‘important’ in my house, because it was bugged. My Neighbour was an agent and he had drilled into the wall, which only meant microphones. The final piece of the puzzle was when Bigfoot came back – leering at me from the cover of some trees on the hillside above my home. Perfect sense….all of it. I needed to protect myself. A Fiskar axe, some bolt cutters (for close in work), and a heavy stick, ended up near my desk.
I was drinking one Saturday afternoon. The barking from that one dog was full-on. I stood at the back door with the bottle, ready to go out and throw it at the kennel block, but something caught my eye further down the hill in a row of gardens stretching up towards a low cliff edge. It was a man and a dog at a house which had been sold six months previously; right about the same time as….
BARK. Unmistakable. I walked to my Neighbour’s kennel block. Every animal inside it was asleep. Carpe Diem, so they say. So I did. I went over to where I knew my voice would travel along the hillside to the guy down the road. “SHUT THAT FUCKING DOG UP YOU MOTHERFUCKER!”
He turned his head in my direction but I couldn’t see his face to guage a reaction. Then he led his dog inside.
I couldn’t bring myself to apologise to my Neighbour. I mean, how do you begin to tell someone that you suffer from Paranoid delusions from time to time? That kind of talk goes nowhere fast around here. Today’s Weirdo is tomorrow’s Witch.
But the coast today is clear. Tomorrow..?