It’s eleven o’clock on a Monday night. I am alone in the lounge room, watching crap on TV. My wife and son are asleep in their beds. Suddenly, Nitro the two-toned Cavoodle explodes in the hallway. I leap to my feet and rush towards him. As much as I love the little guy, he’s been getting far too vocal lately – especially as we live in an apartment block nestled within a high density area. So I scold him in a hoarse whisper and give him a little clip on the snout. This is something I never do and is an action I regret seconds later. As vocal as he sometimes is, there’s something about tonight’s outburst that seems out of the ordinary. I decide to have a quick look through the peep hole of our door. I am surprised to see an unfamiliar man standing in the common hallway between our unit and the one across from us. “Oh – there is someone there.” “Yeah – there’s someone here”, comes the slurred reply. I gather up our woolly watchdog, feeling guilty. With Nitro tucked under one arm, I open the door. “Can I help you, mate?” The man is tall, with long greasy curly hair. Nitro, a fraction of the man’s size, starts growling. I’ve heard that dogs can smell psychosis – the ‘psychotic stench’. I have no such ability but even I can sense that something is off with this guy. At the very least he’s drunk, probably with a cocktail of other substances also pumping through his bloodstream. He sways for a moment, then points to the other unit and inquires “Is Vanya there?” “No. Nobody called Vanya lives there.” “Who lives there then?” “That’s not your concern. You should just move along, mate. Goodnight.” I then retreat back inside and close the door. I put Nitro down and give him a little pat and apology. “Sorry buddy. Good dog.” My wife has thrown on a robe and asks what’s going on. As I explain, I instinctively grab the cricket bat that we have near the door. We are both unsettled but not overly freaked out. We discuss how our supposed security building has for months now been rather unsecure, with anyone able to access all outside doors without having to be buzzed in. As we chat, I decide to have another look through the peep hole. I am confronted with the full fish-eyed face of the curly haired creep. Adrenaline shoots through my veins. My arm swings back and brings the bat crashing to the door. BANG! “Get the fuck out of here now!” I have gone fully primal – a caveman protecting his family with his big stick. “Whoa – that was a bit full on.” “I mean it. Leave or I’m calling the cops. Actually – I’m calling them right now.” And, for the first time ever, I call 000. I am impressed with the efficiency of the process and in very little time, a patrol car is on its way. My wife texts one of the neighbours on our floor and warns her that there’s a creep on the loose. The neighbour replies that she thinks he’s left the building. She can hear a man outside ranting. He’s equating all apartment dwellers to a word similar to ‘runts’. I decide to call the police back and give them an update. They say that they’ll search the area for him. As my heart rate slows, I vow to contact the building’s agent first thing in the morning and get a locksmith out to secure the block. And as I finally relinquish the bat, I look over to my son’s room and shake my head. That kid can sleep through anything.