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A SMALL PLASTIC DOG

On the Waterloo Road I became aware that I was being followed. I first realised this at the sound of a faint clicking noise somewhere in the distance behind me. I veered right past the Old Vic so I could get a brief look behind me without betraying my awareness to my pursuer; but I saw nobody looking suspicious. I turned sharply onto Greet Street, which was deserted, so as to better isolate my pursuant. As I approached the railway arches, the clicking sound was almost upon me and I spun round to make a confrontation. I found a small plastic dog.

It was not moving. I pushed it along with my foot and it made a clicking sound as the wheels turned the dog's head by means of a simple mechanism. Cheaply manufactured in China, such toys have become popular through retail chains such as Argos and may be found in almost any home in the UK. Children attach the dog to a nylon lead and walk around with it as though it was a real dog. But there was no child attached to this one.

As it was causing no harm I allowed the dog to tail me at its own leisure, and anyway, it seems to be impossible to get rid of it. The irritating noise can easily be drowned out by moving into busy areas and for brief intervals I can create the impression I am not being followed at all. But moving through crowds like this – using a herd of people for cover, I mean – is really not my style. I cannot help but get the impression I am being herded in some way, and this is a feeling I do not like. After several failed attempts I succeed in losing it near Borough Market after giving it a good kicking and running away.

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