Chasing Ghosts


It’s well past the time most people are in bed. I’ve turned the DVD player off after three episodes of Dynasty, the 1980’s American soap that involved actors hitting their marks and delivering their lines with very little actual acting taking place. I’m not really into TV where you have to invest large chunks of your life before you reach the conclusion, but back in the 80’s I loved Dynasty, the glamour, gloss and dubious storylines were all part of my Saturday night. My group of friends would all gather at someone’s house prior to going to a club, we’d all watch Dynasty, the Linda camp on one side of the room and the Joan (my camp) on the other. We’d have a few drinks and revel in the absurdness on the screen, hoping for a cat-fight between the two leading ladies, before we dressed for the evening and hit the town. As I watch the show again, (season three) thirty years later, the memories drift by like ghosts.

I open the front door, the night air is warm, there’s a slight breeze covers me with a welcome hug across the shoulders. The dogs race out into the darkness, their black coats making them invisible in the night-time. I hear their paws as they race up to the top of the road, there’s a rustle of grass and they break into barking mode. Olive has a typical terrier bark, short bursts of high pitched yelping and Alfie has a baritone bark followed by a drawn out howl. I reach the top of the road where there’s a street-light and I can see them, they’re among the olive trees, obviously looking for something. Olive darts behind a tree quickly followed by Alfie, they both stop and stare into the distance. I peer into the greyness wondering what they are looking at but see nothing but trees. Suddenly they both jerk their heads to the left and start barking, neither one moves, they remain stationary as they shout at nothing, suddenly Olive breaks away and she runs, Alfie is still a pup so follows her lead and he bounds off between the trees, his long legs making him look like a stilt-walker who’s become unstable. They reach the spot that spooked them both, give a few half-hearted barks and pad back towards me, satisfied that whatever was in the trees, they’ve seen off.

We stroll back down the road towards the house, Alfie sees something and barks again, Olive joins him and they’re off again, back up to the olive grove to chase ghosts. I sigh and wander back towards the dogs, knowing tonight will be one of those nights when getting them back into the house will take longer than usual.

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Olive and Alfie

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