The doorbell rang. I can't even be bothered writing the onomatopoeic words to describe a doorbell doorbelling any more.
On the step, a pair of small dogs stood looking up expectantly. They were kind of cute, but I detected an edge of cynicalism, as if they harboured a detached, dangerous view of the world. One of the dogs, taller (They were on hind legs) red knickerbockers, blue pork-pie hat, offered a tin towards me.
"Would you like to make a donation, sir?"
"Sure." I replied, fishing for my wallet. "What are you collecting for, the dogs' home?"
"No." Replied the first dog. "I've started an awareness campaign to raise awareness about the lack of suitable clothing for dogs. You see, people aren't aware that there isn't much clothing for dogs - sure, there're some novelty hats and little costumes and things. But on the whole, there is little clothing that allows a dog to remain both stylish and warm."
"I didn't think dogs really liked clothing. I mean, you've got those little tartan coats for the rain, what more do you want?"
"Look," He replied in a patient-yet-weary tone, "See Tim here? He hasn't got more than 3 shoes in the world. It's all very well, you saying he should get a job, earn some money, buy his own sewing machine and make his own clothes, but how can he expect to find employment with only 3 shoes?"
I looked at Tim. Stupid name for a dog, I thought to myself, but I kept quiet. A moment ago I'd apparently given a tirade against dogs not working for a living, so I didn't know what I might say next.
"Besides." Said the first dog. "Look at this picture. This is your grandmother, isn't it?"
I looked at the picture. It was true - a stylish sepia print of my grandmother hunting game in Montecristo was being thrust in front of my face.
"Your grandmother. She likes to keep a clean lawn, doesn't she?" The dog asked, with the rising inflection of a seasoned talking dog blackmailer.
I hastily pulled out 67p from my pocket and gave it to the dogs.
"Good man." The dog who wasn't Tim said. "Now, unless you've got anything to bark at, we'll be on our way."
I told them I didn't, then went back inside. Even though I'd met their blackmail demands, I didn't trust the two dogs. Loading up my shotgun and fetching the cat's revolver from behind the stairs, I set off to Grandma's. The cat met me there, having picked up some bear traps at the fish market. We waited until dawn, but there was no sign of the dogs. Satisfied, we prepared to go home. Spotting us as she went out for her morning jog, Grandma invited us in for Currie and vodka. It was a good day, and only one passer-bye got caught in the bear traps.