Saturday morning. An authoritative knock at the door. I don’t bother opening my eyes but considerately, if reluctantly, take a moment to assess its forcefulness. On the scale of urgency it’s somewhere between a car-blocking incident, and an exasperated delivery-person giving up grappling with a stubborn envelope. Whoever it is, they’re too impatient to await my plan of inaction so swiftly move next door to keep the rhythm going. Violet’s chirpy greeting is soon punctured by a monotone male. Or Violence, as I prefer to call her, on account of her overbearing inoffensiveness.
My curiosity yawning now, I make for the window just as her door shuts. A PSNI officer flees the driveway. Shit.
On the scale of catastrophe, reason gauges this approximately somewhere between finding my fella collapsed on the park-run circuit (I feared it all along), and an offer of a witness protection programme after my decision to throw a vote at one of the local Unionists was rumbled (I feared it all along). In a way, I’m relieved my dirty secret is finally out.
Earlier that morning…
“A Chara, he was the only candidate who supports same-sex marriage and is pro-choice. See? Only a pretend Unionist. With a font size 2 U. Oh no, please, not the kneecaps. They’re my best feature” *bolts upright in cold sweat from nightmare*
So I knock on the window fully intending to comply. He looks up, shakes his head disappointingly before consulting his watch.
“What sorta time do you call this to be in bed?”
It’s 9:45am. This is nothing, pal. But I’m wearing pyjamas with a family of sparkly rabbits on the front so it’s no time to willingly participate in sadistic interrogation without my lawyer present, who for I all know was found collapsed on the park run circuit moments earlier.
“Small child. You know yerself”. Thankfully the 53-month old is at her relos. I don’t know where I got the giggle from. Possibly Barbara Windsor circa her Carry On days.
The relief on learning the woman three doors down had her car robbed overnight is immense. Yay. My fella’s still alive.
“Some time after one this morning”
“Oh that’s dreadful”, I reply in slightly Violence-esque tones.
“They broke into the house and got the keys”
It’s impossible to feel anything but pity for the plight of our neighbour. But discussing it with a police officer through an upstairs bedroom window with upside-down hair while in novelty pyjamas isn’t usually my thing.
So I do that thing that one shouldn’t ever do when one is feeling comprised. I relax.
“That happened my brother last year”
I can tell he’s wondering what this has to do with anything. Time to crank it up a gear.
He backs away slowly.
“And guess what? When he replaced the car, they came back and did it again. How mad was that?”
He returns to his watch.
“Well, thanks for your time. If you hear or see anything suspicious you can call the station”
He momentarily looks at my car, declining the opportunity to issue a reminder to keep it locked. We both suspect if anyone bothered to rob it, they’d probably leave it back shortly afterwards.