I suspect Smudge was taken away from his mother too early as he lacks social skills.
I am reminded of this when I return from a holiday in New Zealand, participating in extreme sports: paragliding, zipping down flying foxes, a glacier walk and swimming with dolphins.
Back in Australia, the weather is extreme—40 degrees C. With the housesitter gone, Smudge greets me warmly, then retires for a customary snooze. Jet-lagged, I welcome sleep too.
Early the next morning, I awake in pain. I’ve forgotten how dangerous it is to be only covered with a sheet and no doona. Smudge has latched onto my ankle. He imagines it’s a plump pigeon or a tantalising rat. It isn’t as much fun for him If I endure and remain still, but if I move, he will chomp harder. I move…
‘Get off,’ I scream, shoving him off the bed. I yank the sheet up and secure the folded doona over my feet and lower legs, but my torturer is persistent.
Smudge leaps back onto the bed. He studies me as I roll over into a foetal position. I wonder what is going on inside his pea-sized brain? Walking backwards with an erect tail, he shoves his backside into my face.
Reeling back, then bolting upright, I am now fully awake. My wounds are smarting. I inspect them—2cm slashes on my left ankle and a deep cut on my big toe. This is extreme. I’m not enjoying being Smudge’s sport.