Writing process

How I won the possum snore-off. Or maybe the possum did

Road sign in suburban Sydney. Possums in our Melbourne suburb use the ‘high way’ to cross the road. After all, what are electricity wires for, if not to allow possums to cross the road safely? (Admittedly, the occasional one does zap him/herself.) One scientist called the suburbs possum heaven. Where else can they get such plentiful food without having to forage?

I’m not the best person to share a room with on a trip, because I snore.  In fact, the general consensus is that if you share a room with me, you need to be super-tired, so you go to sleep first, because otherwise my snoring will keep you awake all night.

I deny this, of course. People do exaggerate, you know.

It just so happens that I haven’t been sleeping well. No reason, just one of those things. You wake up one night at three o’clock and can’t get back to sleep.  Do the same thing next night, and suddenly you’re doing every night.

By Saturday I’m exhausted.  Saturday afternoon I can’t take any more. So tired I don’t even go to bed. I lie down on the bench seat in the kitchen (squeezy, but I’m short) and take a nap.

When I wake, it’s dark.

But I’m not really awake, only semi-awake.  There’s a possum outside the window, making the ‘cthcth’ screeching sound they do when they’re preparing to fight other possums.

We get a lot of territorial fights around here. This area is possum nirvana.  Trees, gardens, lots of fruit ripe for the taking. So there’s overcrowding, which leads to lots, and lots, of fighting.

This possum is really close, probably on the cable that runs from the house to the power pole, and while he’s making fighting noises, there’s no fighting noises being returned.

I lay there in a hazy, half-awake way, listening, trying to work out what on earth he was doing.

I finally realise.  I’m still snoring.

That wakes me up rather more quickly than I planned.

After a final, loud ‘cthcth’, the possum leaves, convinced he’s vanquished the intruder.

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