I’m clinging to sleep by my fingertips as oblivion recedes thanks to a low rumbling that I haven’t heard since I witnessed a herd of wild pigs running along a motorway in Germany. Growling boys.
“Mum, tell him, growl. He’s wearing my boxers, growl.”
“I beeping asked you, ya beep. Growl, Mum, tell him.”
“Yeah, when you were already beeping wearing them. Mum, tell him.”
“You’re wearing my hoodie, growl. Mum …”
I sneak into the shower, put the water on full and sing tunelessly (in defiance of Youngest’s me-singing ban), to drown it out.
When I emerge the growls are even louder. “Growl, growl, you’re just a beeping beep.”
“Right, I’m not going to school.”
Suddenly I’m seized by fury, they’ve got loads of boxers. I’ll give them not going to school. I march into the hall.
I start to shout. But nothing comes out. Not a peep. I check for the rage. Still there, but my voice isn’t. Words have finally failed me. I reel back into the bedroom, shocked, breenging into the laundry basket before collapsing into bed. That’s when I spot some boxers, dislodged from the basket.
I fold them, stomp into the hall and throw a pair at each. Silence. Victory.
Then: “You’re still a beeping beep...