The sentence snapped me from my usual Wednesday afternoon activity of lazing on the couch and glaring expressionlessly at Jeremy Kyles latest batch of tv-zoo-animals with my housemates. Such is the tedium of University life between dragging myself out to lectures, and dragging myself in from nights out.
'Your window.... come here. Was it always like that?'
Brummie Housemate was standing outside the back door with her head cocked, staring at my bedroom window. Four of us trooped out after her, absolutely ecstatic at having something to fill our vacant student day. We all stood beside her and turned to face my room. My bedroom has two patio doors at the back, which lead into the back garden. From where we were standing, we could see one of the panes of glass had been smashed in three places, sending huge spiderweb-type cracks across it.
The five of us stood there, staring at it. For a few seconds we had to blink away the sunlight to fully absorb what was going on. This was our first taste of daylight that day, what with it being only 3pm and all.
Someone had tried to break into the house! Not just into the house, into my room. The excitement. In my head I already could picture myself heroically wrestling them off, fighting to the death to defend my macbook. When had this happened? Had we all been in the house? Being students, we didn't see this as a threat, merely the potential motivation we all need to finally renew our home insurance. Suddenly though, things turned a bit more serious...
'Oh my god......' Welsh Housemate pointed a shaking finger at the ground underneath the window. A long steel, Ikea knife glinted menacingly up at us. The big raindrops which had collected on the blade reflected the comedic 'O' shapes we were all making with our mouths.
The tv channels of reference points in our heads immediately switched from 'Emmerdale' to 'CSI: Las Vegas'. Someone didn't just want to steal and iPod, they wanted me dead.
Male Housemate spotted a towel beside the knife. Those bastards didn't want to leave fingerprints. This was obviously a professional operation. In my mind, the level of skill and foresight needed to bring a tea towel with you meant we were dealing with super assassins.
'No...' Brummie interrupted me. 'I've seen that on TV before.... the towel muffles the sound. They wanted to do it silently.'
Oh my fucking God! I was endangered. I stared in panic at my housemates for consolation, but each of them just stared back at me with horrified 'you are so fucked' expressions.
Welsh Housemate gingerly picked up the knife. She was hit with a cacophony of screams.
"DON'T WIPE THE FINGERPRINTS!'
It was obvious. We were now dealing with potential murder.
It felt like my heart had realised it was in danger and was cowardly trying to make a break for it through my rib cage. A cold sweat drenched me, assuring me I wasn't dreaming. I was absolutely sure from the conclusive evidence that someone wanted to kill me under extremely suspicious and exciting circumstances. I became inconsolable. A kaleidoscope of possibilities started rapidly flicking through my mind, each one more harrowing and ridiculous than the last. What had I done to be targeted? What court cases had I been covering lately? What was the last story that I'd written? Who had I annoyed? I sniffed bitterly. So this is the price of hard hitting journalism. I vowed to myself that if I lived through this, I would get that car park prices story published if it was literally the last thing I did.
I had pissed someone off. Someone big. Someone with connections. Someone with enough economic diligence in their operation that they purchase their murder weapons from Ikea.
At this point Male Housemate & English Housemate were on the ground looking for more evidence, Welsh Housemate was vainly trying to make me feel better and Brummie Housemate was attempting to explain the situation over the phone to South Wales Police.
'What did they say?'
'They said they'd send someone over within an hour.'
An hour?! Within an hour someone would have had the time to not only slaughter me, but to begin meticulously posting my body parts to family members and lecturers as a warning against future teaching of journalistic integrity. If living through this doesn't get me work experience, I honestly don't know what will.
The fact that there were five of us there meant that we were five times as hysterical as normal people would be. We'd each begun formulating plans to check into hotels under an alias and keep an axe under our pillow. In my mind I was picturing where my passport was and estimating the cost needed to flee the country. We all nervously glanced around the garden, expecting to see my potential assailant emerge from behind the washing line in a ski mask. All we could hear was the innocuous sound of 'Loose Women' starting on next door's TV.
'..... Maybe we should go back into the house.'
We sat in the sitting room together, in silence. Silence, with the exception of the sound of leather creaking as I rocked back and forth on the couch in distress. They had been here, where I live. Right under my nose.... I was eyeing my own housemates suspiciously (well, how well did I know these people) when Housemates 6 & 7 arrived home.
Immediately they could tell that something was wrong.
'Guys, sit down. We've got something to tell you.'
'...What is it?'
'We are all no longer safe here.'
I was overwhelmed with guilt. My occupational hazards clearly meant we'd all have to be separated for life, given new identities.
'What do you mean?'
'Someone....attempted to access the house.'
Because of our over-exposure to crime shows, and under exposure to normal life we all began to adopt the vocabulary of a New York Cop from an 80's made-for-tv movie.
'We believe the culprit tried to get in the back of the house, and when they were disturbed they fled the scene.... they had a knife.'
We watched Housemate 6 & Housemate 7's expressions change as they finally reached our level or paranoia and panic.
'Come and look...'
We led them into the back garden and pointed dramatically at the smashed window.
There was a moment of silence. I allowed for this. They needed time to digest the fact that they may never see me again. The two of them turned towards each other, then turned towards me.
'Saucy, don't you remember what happened?'
They stared at me incredulously. 'Monday night, remember?'
On Monday night, we had a Class night out. We won't go into details, but I can assure any worried tranditionalist Fleet Street hacks out there that alcoholism is alive and well within next generation of journalists.
Housemate 6 & 7 stayed in. At about 3am they heard a tremendous banging noise. Obviously paranoia is not sparse in this household, because they immediately began to think someone was breaking in and so crept downstairs to see what was going on.
At some point in the early hours, I had decided I'd had enough to drink and went home. Well, better late than never. Unsurprisingly, I'd lost my keys. Thankfully, the front door had been mysteriously left wide open, so I wandered in.
Housemate 6 & 7 got to the living room, which was ram-sacked. I can assure you from living here that there's nothing suspicious about that sentence. The only way the living room would have been a cause for concern in this situation would be if it had been left eerily spotless. Either way, they noticed that the back door had been left open and from outside, they could hear an unbelievable banging.
'Hello.....Is anyone there?'
The banging stopped.
I tried to get into my room, hoping against hope that I'd somehow left it open before I left. After deducing that my bedroom was, much like myself, locked, I accepted defeat. I calmly curled up on the sofa and fell into a deep deep Jager-coma, woefully accepting the hungover turmoil which tomorrow would bring.
Housemate 6 & 7 clutched each other in the living room. They repeated themselves.
They heard footsteps. A shadow appeared by the door, slowly getting closer and closer. They glanced around the room searching for anything that they could use to defend themselves.
'Oh my god....'
They saw the glint of a knife appear first in the doorway, followed by a hand, followed by an arm..... followed by.....
Back to that faithful Wednesday in the back yard, as we waited for the police to arrive:
'Guys.' I tried to remain calm but this time wasting was annoying me. My life was at stake. 'Guys, I don't know what you're talking about? Monday night? I came home and went to bed. I don't know who did that.'
'Saucy.....you did that.'
For the briefest seconds there was a sharp intake of breath as everyone swivelled towards me in a 'so the butler did it'-type moment.
'Excuse me?!' I pished, exasperated at the need to defend my integrity as 'not-a-killer'. I suddenly felt myself underneath enormous pressure to convince everyone that I had not had a Black Swan moment trying to break into my own room in a psychotic frenzy with treacherous kitchenware.
'I think I'd remember doing that...'
'No babes, I don't think you would....'
I walked into the kitchen, brandishing a knife. Housemate 6 & 7 were a blend of fury, and relief.
'Saucy, what the fuck are you doing.'
'Oh. Am. I'm just trying to break into my room.'
'I've lost my keys, I'm afraid.'
You're confused, right? I was. As we recalled, when I couldn't get into my room I gave up and fell asleep on the couch. Apparently not.
What actually happened:
I came home with my keys, dear reader. I opened the front door myself. At some point between walking in the door and getting to the living room, I convinced myself I had never had my keys in the first place. I couldn't get into my room. Next logical step? Why, gather a sharp knife, a towel, and a garden chair and try to break into my room, of course.
Some sort of deranged sociopath had taken over my drunken brain and fabricated the whole 'fell asleep on the sofa' story. It appears I've read American Psycho one too many times my friends. Not only had I forgotten the whole affair, I was so convinced that my sober self actually called the police to protect me from my mystery killer: myself.
'Hi! Am, we just called, about a break in?'
'Yes. Someone is on their way, don't worry.'
'No eh, actually. Big misunderstanding! Bahahahahaa... you see it's actually fine. It was one of our housemates.'
'Yeah, there's no need to send anyone.'
'Are you sure? It says here there was a knife involved...'
'Yep, that's her. It's absolutely fine thank youuuu...'
'But wait, wha...'
The Saucy Cow