Shriek

As usual, the promise of a lie in beckoned sweetly this Saturday, but as usual failed to deliver.

My husband left for work early and I was left with the dogs, who knew it was a weekend morning, because I had explicitly told them so. Also dogs are really good at picking up on visual cues, like the human who is supposed to take you for a walk lying unconscious on the bed.

I opened the sliding doors to the back patio in case either of them needed to go out for a pee, threw my husband’s pillow on the floor, moved to the centre of the bed and assumed the star position, ready to sink back into whichever delicious dream I had been enjoying.

The first shriek was the mobile phone. A text message. I looked at the clock: 7 am. This was either my husband at work telling me he had forgotten his keys, or my parents, who are elderly, which is why I keep my phone by the bed. I squinted in disbelief at the message.

It was my bank, who had randomly decided to send me a cheerful text message at seven in the goddamn morning on a weekend, to inform me that my credit card balance was due for payment in a week. That is seven whole big days, five of them working before my credit card balance, which is paid every month by direct debit on the due date by the same bank is due. I have no idea why they suddenly decided to spring this unwelcome level of customer service upon me, but they were not going to do it again. Seizing my iPad, I logged into my account, found the alert section and deleted my number from its grip. This happens a lot in WA. We are always two and sometimes three hours behind the eastern states where everyone’s head quarters is, so rather then worrying about interrupting someone’s lunch on the eastern seaboard, they time automatic alerts to wake the hayseeds up on the west coast. They probably even have a name for it, the bumpkin algorithm or something.

Having defeated the tech, I pulled the covers up and settled down again. I was just dozing off when a series of terrifying high-pitched attack screams came from the back of the house. The dogs immediately leapt in to action, off the bed out the door and to the fence which divides our house and the one behind, which is currently tenanted by a young FIFO couple.

FIFO stands for Fly-in, fly-out and it is a grueling work routine that many choose to do short term, working on the big mining projects in the north of the state. The hours are intense and the shifts long, but there is money to be made and for a young couple looking to save money, it can be a good way to save a deposit for the future , as long as you have the temperament for it.

The woman in this house does not have such a temperament. For two weeks at a time, the house is blissfully quiet and then  back they come and within days there are massive screaming matches going on, apparently one-sided, because we never hear the bloke. I am not taking sides here, I have no idea who these people are, I just have a very very clear idea of what this woman’s voice does to my ear canals when she gets angry. Give me fingernails on a blackboard anytime. She is a shrieker, and being Australia, their doors are always open.

I belted out of bed to get the dogs in, especially Archie, who was barking at the fence. As I did so, I could not help but overhear what she was screaming in anger at someone:

‘WHAT THE F88CK ARE YOU DOING? DRINK IT! DRINK THE F33KING MILK!’ [Pause]

‘DO IT. NOW. ALL OF IT.’ [Pause]

‘DRINK. THE MILK. NOW. MORE OF IT. KEEP DRINKING. DON’T STOP. NOW! FINISH THE MILK. ALL OF IT. DOWN.NOW’ [Pause]

Huh? Why was she so angry about milk?

‘NOW. SHOW ME. SHOW ME THE F**KING PILL. DO IT.

[PAUSE]

‘YOU STUPID F66K. YOU ARE PATHETIC. TAKE THE PILL. NOW’

‘NOW’

[Silence]

I had shut the door by this stage but that had not stopped her voice, which had the ability to transcend solid matter. She might have been standing in my living room.

What on earth was this about? Forgetting my lie-in, I opened my iPad and googled ‘medications that must be taken with milk’, ‘what does milk cure?’ And even  ‘overdose+milk=pill’ but to no avail. To this day I have no idea why she was so hysterically insistent that whoever she was yelling at drank the milk, and then took a pill. Perhaps this was some bizarre S&M role play where she was just a fantastically angry nurse.

Maybe she was trying to get someone to go back to sleep – I often find when I have trouble sleeping that a glass of milk helps. Not this time though, I had been so disturbed by the outburst and the violence of the shouting that my sleeping was done for the day. I grabbed the dogs’ leads and headed for the park.

Here’s to the next fortnight’s roster.

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