I have a new neighbor.
Mrs. Pešova is a plump, round faced woman with watery eyes and fine blond hair who studies art and works part time at an old people's home. In many respects the perfect, personable neighbor.
But sadly, not so. She has a dog you see. Not the kind of dog that gambols around a park fetching sticks with unrestrained enthusiasm and bonhomie. Not for her the loyal Labrador, confident Collie or altruistic Alsation.
Not a real dog, but a toy dog.
Her toy is a small rodent sized bundle of white fur with a foolish Ewok face and beady, bitumen black eyes that hint of mean and spiteful acts. Of self important opportunism, of nipped ankles and soiled carpets. For some reason this toy dog has it in for me. The feeling is mutual.
Like a cuckoo in our midst, the animal appeared earlier this month. I heard Mrs. Pešova walking down the hallway making odd encouraging cooing, mewing noises, followed by the rustle and scrape of nails on concrete and from my window I saw her leading the creature outside for its evening movements.
It skipped along the line of cars with calculated destiny until it found a suitable spot and then cocked it's leg on a car wheel. On my wheel. On my car. I was taking this in, when I noticed Mrs. P. engaged in conversation with a young mother, while hidden from her view by the car, her offspring, a young toddler in an outfit of primary colours, approached the dog. It rocked back slightly on its haunches and then froze, with venomous stare, it's tongue flicking the air.
The child was within a couple of feet, when the animal struck. With viper like reflexes it leapt forward and clamped its fangs into the tiny outstretched hand, before writhing away. As the screams of the youngster hung in the air, Mrs. P. chased the dog from car to car down the street.
There was worse to come. It was a typical rushed morning departure for work, with bolted breakfast, odd socks and misplaced keys. After finally corralling my kit I made it to the front door and stepped outside.
The moment my foot touched the ground I knew something was wrong. Instead of the firm retort of heel on concrete, there was a soft, yielding resistance, followed by a short slide. It's a sensation learnt early in childhood, which means only one thing.
As I surveyed the skid mark on the floor and the spatter on my shoe, simultaneously gagging at the odour, there was a rustle at my neighbour's open door. I looked up just in time to see the rear of the beast, the instigator of this hate crime, as it disappeared inside.
Shortly, after a nauseating clean-up session, I confronted Mrs. Pešova. As little Fu-Fu or Phu-Phu or Pu-Pu or whatever its name is writhed around in her arms, she apologized profusely in a sweet, calming tone of voice obviously perfected on the senile old goats at the retirement home.
My anger subsided, and I accepted her contrition as she went to get her mop. Over her shoulder, the beast stared back at me, its top lip curled back in an arrogant sneer.
It saved the best till last. Or rather, the worst till first. First thing the following Saturday morning. When the effects of the previous night's indulgences were competing for attention in my head, they were rudely pushed aside by a high pitched whine, that slowly grew in decibels and ended with a YEEAAP!
For the remainder of the morning me and my hangover were denied the peace and quiet we deserved as Fu-Fu's inane doggy screeching filled the air. I vowed revenge. I will not have to wait long.
Mrs P. goes on holiday next week, and guess who she has asked to feed her pooch? As she explained the details of Fu-Fu's diet, it sat in the corner of her flat on a cushion with a look on its face I hadn't seen before.
Maybe there was something in my smile that gave the game away. Back in my flat I reviewed the contents of my spice cabinet. Revenge would be mine. For the next week this dog's dinner would be done up like a dog's dinner.