At about 3am in the morning last night (or that should be this morning), I was awoken by a strange high pitched gurgling sound. It started and then abruptly stopped. From a deep sleep, it had my attention; unexpectedly commencing a demented cackle and then as suddenly ceasing again. I got out of bed to go investigate.
At first I thought it was one of our four cats who had maybe caught something and was half torturing it to death but no, the cats were silent as could be, staring at me quizzically as if to say “so, what are you going to do about it?” Searching bleary eyed, I found nothing, silence reigned again – I went back to bed. No sooner had my head touched the pillow than the strange high pitched burbling started up again and as I pushed back the duvet covers – stopped again. Too random! Getting annoying!
This was distinctly weird – and loud! I got up again. I thought perhaps it’s my daughter’s cassette machine – she plays endless re-runs of Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter over and over to help her fall asleep. I thought it was doing that weird speeded up thing that cassettes do sometimes when you half press the play button by mistake. But then it happened again and the sound was definitely coming from the bathroom. Couldn’t figure it out. The radio was switched off. There were no maimed animals in sight. I cast about me with a kind of unreal sense of irritation. Was I being woken by a dying mouse in the skirting board, a strange ghoul in my imagination, an infant in distress?
And then I found it, the source of my wee small hours weirdness – in a basket of abandoned toys by the bath, I found what was left of Action Man. Severely defaced – having come off much the worst from a battle with a youth, he was utterly naked, his plastic muscle-bound chest showing off his speaker box and badly water-logged. He was clearly suffering from internal dripping and so it seems, the internal fluid was randomly activitating his voice chip which had, in the process, obviously become dramatically altered by the water. No longer a macho growl, it now sounded like a demon doll from the Excorcist or some demented “ghoul” from Scooby Doo.
So there it was, poor emasculated Action Man, spasmodicly lurching into life like a small provincial Chinese politician in exile. I couldn’t silence him. He would not shut up. I had to bury him under blankets and a pillow in the spare room and close the door on him to get away from the sound.
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