Thing is, I've never been truly equipped for this rising at the crack of dawn lark.
Preparing breakfast at the struggle of morn I sleepily contemplate the sizzling pan, as the aroma of frying bacon slowly wafts my taste buds awake - appears aromatherapy isn't all total bullshit, after all.
Shame I don't eat first thing.
Absently listening to the latest severe weather warning over the radio, I load up the toaster, switch the kettle on, and start laying up the kids vitamin pills out on the counter top, when the doorbell chimes.
Bugger. It's our psycho postie of course, hell-bent as usual upon finishing his route before sunrise. I hurriedly scuttle for the door, in hopes of reaching it in the three seconds before his boot puts it through again (he's never quite forgiven me for sealing up that cat flap of ours).
I'm quite taken aback to find it's not actually him there at all. A total stranger is perched out on my doorstep. Of course, ordinarily I'd be relieved, except there's something quite odd about this bloke standing before me. I don't know, maybe it's the serial-killer beard, or perhaps it's that dead stare of his, the one colder than Mengele's bed-side manner with twins, but suddenly I'm regretting flinging the door open so wide, and am wishing I'd had the foresight to keep a pack of slavering, trained to "savage, mutilate and swallow whole", Pit-Bull's around as pets, instead of a useless, sole, "pat me and I'm yours, I'm a lover, not a fighter" lump of Golden Retriever. (Sorry Jake, much as I love you, we both know this to be true).
Fixing my best fake bon-homme smile, I allow Jake to squeeze forward anyway, proffering his bribe of choice (Sam's sweaty sock), but his waggy tail soon freezes into a droop, and he fast scoots backwards, ears flat, whining.
Isn't it funny how your voice always comes out really, really squeaky when you find you have no spit left in your mouth?
"Can I help you?"
"You are not the nubile one."
And strange, isn't it, how easily the slap of an insult can snap one so instantly wide awake?
"You what? Er, sorry, come again?"
"I seek the supple female."
Well. How bloody rude is he? I'm speechless. Almost.
Straightening my spine, I lower my shoulders, nostrils flared, "'Scuoooose me, Mate, I'll have you know I'm double-jointed. I like to think I'm what would have happened if Marilyn Monroe had lived to discover cellulite and flat feet."
Then the light bulb pops.
"Hey, you that stinking streak of puss that's been stalking our Bec all week?"
(And here I'd thought she'd just invented him to secure my taxi services. Sheesh, let the guilt seep in.)
I make to slam the door, but too fast, his arm snakes out, clamping my shoulder in a tight, painful vice. I'm thinking nothing short of a field of garlic is likely to save me now, 'cos no way am I screaming (the last thing I need to fetch into the fray here, is the "Nubile One").
Oh great, now the feckin' burnt stench of soon to be alight bacon grabs my throat, and a screech of smoke-alarms kicks in. Oddly enough, this appears to work in my favour, as the lunatic loses his grip on me, and falls down flailing, squirming on the porch, his eyes scrunched tightly shut, he grinds his hands over his ears.
Yeah, I know - pretty weird. Quit complaining, you had to be there.
Losing no time, I sprint to the kitchen, lift the now spitting, crackling frying-pan up, and speed back with it, over to the prone numpty still writhing about on the floor.
"OUT," says I, "NOW! Or you'd best kiss your face a sweet goodbye!"
By now we have an audience of three very startled kids on the stair. The fourth and eldest is obviously still blissfully snoring in his pit - dead to the entire kaffufle, no doubt sleeping off his hang-over. (Typical. Where's the men when you need them?)
"It's fine, Abby, go with the others back upstairs, and phone the police."
Ever obediant, no one moves.
From the corner of my eye, I see his hand reach up. Trained by years of my cremated offerings, he is more than well versed in how to disable a smoke-detector, it's his job, this is what he does.
(To be Continued..)