“Nuisance!” Tom shouted sternly. The so-called nuisance dozed sheepishly – except it was a dog not a sheep. Could sheep look doggish? thought Tom. He loved the dog really – and he threw a stick across the field for the dog to fetch. “Fetch, Nuisance!” Tom shouted.
The shout woke Nuisance from counting sheep. And Nuisance left the shade where Tom sheltered under the huge parasol that he could hardly balance in the sky. Nuisance scampered out into the relentless sun intent on fetching… Except Nuisance didn’t fetch the stick but something sticky instead.
Tom thought it looked like a giant lollipop that kids must have left in the field. Its stickiness was swarming with ants – but some of the ants were dead, their tiny legs entrapped by the sun having melted the sugar-crystals of the raspberry-red lollyhead. Too big a lolly for ordinary kids.
Tom’s parasol was also too big for ordinary people. But it did serve its purpose because, with global warming, the sun itself seemed to have grown larger as the years went by. And Tom had felt himself grow smaller – as small, he assumed, as his own thumb had once been. He looked up from under the lower edge of the tasselled parasol and saw that the sun had by now covered half the sky. A disc of flaming orange that stretched from horizon to horizon. Nuisance, by now, had got his fangs embedded in the raspberry ant-hill. He whined pitifully as he sucked on something he didn’t really understand he was sucking on. The fur on his back bristled in the heat, cindering slightly as the sun almost audibly crepitated in the sky. In the distance, Tom saw the tip of a Big Top: a circus tent or was it a huge hat? He withdrew his gaze again beneath the parasol, out of the sun. Nuisance finally expired as the ants crawled over his slowly revolving eye-balls – revolving to a halt, while he no doubt counted his very last sheep. Tom, trying to cheer himself up on such a sunny day, as he tentatively crooned in tune with the dying whines of Nuisance. He crooned: “The sun has got its hat on, hip hip hooray…”