"Don't you people realize what is happening out there!? There are squirrels! Running rampant! Something has to be done!"
I nod, chewing on a muffin. My wife has woken up early to bake them from scratch. I have woken up more recently.
Outside the squirrel and a playmate streak across the lawn, flaunting their freedom. Elliot frowns. It is the frown of an old man, in a block of council flats, watching a group of youths smoke cigarettes on his frontsteps. "The barbarians draw nigh!" he seems to say. "Why won't you act?"
In an hour or so, the neighbor's cat will show itself in our driveway, and Elliot, once more brought face to face with his great, inveterate nemesis, will whinny and howl and probably even bark. The price of comfort is eternal vigilance. He, at least, understands this. I am coming to.