WHAT FOLLOWS IS A TRUE STORY. (The author admits that some elements may have been over-exaggerated sliiightly to enhance dramatic potential, but the basic facts are the truth.)
It was a dark and gloomy night in Newcastle, and our heroine was slumbering peacefully, until a sudden onslaught of noise disturbed her repose. As the unpalatable cacophony continued, she leapt out of bed and ran to the window in her glamorous pyjamas* to investigate the ruckus.
(*Lies. The heroine is of course me, and I was in fact wearing a pair of white pyjama pants with a hole in them and a t-shirt that says 'Jesus Hates Tomatoes'.) (And excuse me for breaking the fourth wall here, but Simon, that has just reminded me... I will do most of the washing up mountain, but there are certain articles that I require you to take care of before you gallivant away for the weekend, otherwise I'm just going to have to put them in the wheelie bin.) And wheelie bins bring me seamlessly back into my narrative, as you will see if you read on!
Anyway, I can't keep up this storybook register so you're going to have to excuse me lapsing back into my usual slapdash narrative voice for the rest of the tale! Where was I? Oh yes, gloomy night, nocturnal misadventure...
So, I woke up and heard a male voice, and peered out of the window, and there stood a man in my garden. "Simon, what on earth are you doing out there? This is not a good time to be hanging washing out on the line!", I thought, and as I was thinking it, I noticed that the shadowy figure was not hanging out washing, but was kicking the fence with a good deal of force and aggression, shouting his head off all the while. "Simon what the fuck?! Oh my God, he's gone mad, he must have taken something, what do I do, how do I stop him?!" Now, even in the dim light it should have been clear that this was not Simon, but in my defence I HAD just woken up - in any case, the sleepy fog soon cleared, and I decided that the wisest course of action was to wake up the man of the house and let him deal with the rampaging lunatic in the shrubbery.
I tiptoed to my bedroom door, intending just to stick my head out and see if Simon's bedroom light was on (or if there were any signs of him having some sort of breakdown and going on a destructive bender). Well, from my bedroom door one can see through into the kitchen, and I now observed our visitor at the kitchen window, engaged in overturning the wheelie bins and making enough noise to raise the dead. PARALYSED with fear (and also slightly worried that the neighbours would think that we were the ones making all this racket), I scuttled back into bed and texted Simon.
"Are you awake?"
"Just about. Warum?"
Finally satisfied that the mentalist outside wasn't my (usually) respectable flatmate, I gathered all my courage, dashed past the kitchen and burst into his room.
"Simon Simon there's a man and he's kicking, and the bins, and the back door, did you lock it, and he's shouting, what's going on, DO SOMETHING!!!!!11!1!"
Simon, sausage-rolled in his duvet, gave me one of his "Stupid woman" looks and said that he couldn't hear anything, so it must have stopped now, so there wasn't anything we could do, and I should go back to sleep. ("Go to SLEEP? At a time like this?!")
So SIMON went back to sleep, and I returned to my bed and lay there and shook for about fifteen minutes, after which I again heard raised voices, but this time there were car engines and doors and more of a general, chaotic atmosphere.
"Right" thought I. "I'm going to go and find out exactly what the hell is going on in my quiet, middle-class cul-de-sac."
So I took a deep breath and went and positioned myself at the living room window at the front of the house, from where I could see THREE police cars ("Dear God, this is some sort of Raoul Moat episode isn't it?!") and several policeladies (The Force didn't seem to have sent any policemen to apprehend this violent criminal), who were standing around whilst one policelady bundled a sheepish, scrawny, completely non-terrifying young man into one of the cars. And then they drove away and then I did go to bed, and maybe tomorrow I'll get around to picking up the poor, abused wheelie bins from under the kitchen window.