I was rooted to the spot with a strange combination of curiosity and fear. The sleeping dog on the parched wooden platform was blissfully unaware of the lion padding along the branch towards it. The golden beast leapt on to the sun-bleached wooden planks and moved softly in on its prey, leaving a track of huge paw prints in the pollen dust. It sniffed at the dog with obvious pleasure, mane hanging inches above it, and stared down at its unsuspecting lunch with crystalline yellow eyes.
I surveyed my jungle surroundings in a terrified silence. How had I got here? And why on earth hadn’t I applied Mum’s golden rule of spending a penny before I left? My bladder was sending me flood warnings. But moving now would sign my demise, even if I would unwittingly save the dog from becoming exotic cat fodder.
As I damned the minute storage capacity of my bladder, it occurred to me that super heroes never need to pee in moments of dire importance. Indeed, if you check out any action or adventure film, you will see that they are all are award-winning bladder control experts. Have you ever spotted Tarzan lifting his lion skin for a salutary slash against a mango tree before continuing his swing across the jungle? When Bruce Willis battles against the clock in a 24-hour race to save New York from a headcase with a weird accent and an evil laugh, do we ever hear him gasp, “Hang on a tick, guys, I’m gasping for a wee”? Nope, it’s no more probable than seeing Batman sneak behind a gargoyle for a ‘phew’ with a view over Gotham City.
For the super heroines, the same rule applies. No previous childbirth must be a sine qua non condition for feminine superhero status as, obviously, a pelvic floor that has been subjected to the anatomical equivalent of crapping a rugby ball three times in a row could not fight the scum of the Universe without mandatory pauses written into the script for toilet stops. For all her tomboy attitudes, Calamity Jane is never seen to stoop so low as to squat behind the stables so that she can face the bad guys without crossing her legs. As for modern-day heroines like Lara Croft and Catwoman, I suspect they stopped all liquids for weeks before being literally poured into their outfits. They have been sealed into their attire so tightly that they are technically unable to eat or breathe, let alone go for an intrepid tinkle. Unless, of course, there is a reason behind those knee-length black boots….
But I digress. The lion continued to delicately inhale the scent of the dog. I glumly realised that I if I didn’t act soon, I would shortly go down in history as the most unusual death in family history. Whereas Einstein and Curie’s descendants could hold revered silences as they remembered their exploits, my grandchildren would be able to guffaw at the after-dinner story of the grandmother they’d never met – the one with a kamikaze bladder that blew itself up. Alternatively, I could move, and go down in the annals as the woman who got her feet tangled up in her underwear as she tried to flee from a hungry lion. I grinned to myself as I imagined the front page headlines: “Jungle Jo gets knickers in a twist and dies in not so fast food tragedy”.
The lion opened its jaws in a lazy yawn, and the dog opened its eyes. It stared up at the lion, then to my surprise showed complete disinterest, and closed its eyes again. It breathed in, then exhaled in a long, satisfied sigh. The lion lowered its weight to the ground, placed its head gently on the dog’s ebony flank, and fell asleep.
“What the hell?” I said. Or tried to say. My jaw wouldn’t open, no sound came out. A voice behind me said, “Strange phenomenon, hey? Welcome to the park. I can explain, if you like”. Simultaneously, an arm snaked under my T-shirt and around my waist, and to my immense irritation, a warm hand was placed confidently over my navel. I indignantly slapped the hand away. “Woah! Hold your horses, Indiana Jones,” I snarled. “There are limits, sunshine. I’m married, I need to pee, and I’m sure my husband is around here somewhere!” The hand immediately returned and roamed on, undeterred. As I swung around to slap the mystery man I heard the roar behind me. I opened my eyes to flee, and saw folds of crumpled linen. No lion. No jungle. Just strangely familiar bedroom furniture. I registered the sound of the toilet flushing. And PF’s grinning face.
So although I finally got to the bathroom, and escaped from the lion, I never found out how a dog and a lion can be pals. However, poor PF has learned – once again – what happens to a husband who fiddles with his wife’s dreams.