Answering-MachineI grew up in the countryside, in a bungalow the colour of corned-beef, sandwiched in between two farms. We had two dogs, part-lurcher, with bodies lithe as greyhounds. They'd hare across the fields, bobbing up and down in the long wheat. I still like to imagine the farmers shaking rusty rifles, shouting "Why I oughta..." I told my friends at school I could make the dogs howl on cue. We had this old answering-machine, with a tape that went "Ka-tch, Ka-tch", before broadcasting the family rap: "The Watson family are not home, so leave a message after the tone!" I told my friends even my impersonating of the answering-machine made them howl. I'd lied. The machine unsettled them but the reality was I had to take the lead. I'd bark, they'd bark. I'd start howling, then they'd start howling. Then I'd sink into the couch, satisfied. I loved my dogs.
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