I wake up chuckling at something absurd in my dream. I'm highly amused as I move toward the bathroom for a middle-of-the-night pee (one of the disadvantages of getting older - I can't remember the last time I slept through the night). As I'm sitting there (yes, in the middle of the night, I'll cop to sitting down to pee - it's either that or turn on the light and blind myself - there's no hope of hitting the bowl otherwise), I find that while I'm still chuckling, I can't remember anything about the dream except that it was pretty funny.
The cat comes in and brushes up against my leg, letting me know that he's on patrol - his purring tells me that everything is okay. I scratch his back and rub his neck for a few minutes, then get up and wander back to bed, where I find that everything has changed.
Where once there was an efficient arrangement of three dog and two human bodies - a completed jigsaw puzzle to which there are perhaps three or four reasonable solutions - my departure has encouraged blatant opportunism. The two big dogs are now sharing my previous space and my pillow, and it appears that Mary has grabbed several extra inches of room as well. The little dog is not visible - he never is, under the covers and tucked up tight against his mommy.
There is now no apparent room for another person in this bed, and the two big dogs are pretending to be sound asleep - maybe tonight they can pull this off. Threats and orders are whispered to no avail, and I'm unwilling to disturb the silence with the "voice of supreme command" - it's better than even odds that wouldn't have any effect either. So I begin lifting and heaving large bags of inert dog flesh back into a semblance of the former order. Finally I have cleared enough cramped space in which to lie down, threading my body through and around various dog and human parts. This is followed by a period of re-negotiation. The dogs, I'm sure, are wide awake, but still pretending they're not, and are pressing for every advantage, every possible extra inch, stubbornly trying to keep some part of what they have claimed. I press back.
Finally I prevail, having recovered enough space to get back to sleep. Both dogs sigh deeply - they've given up and are now truly asleep again. The cat, who has been watching the whole show from the far corner of the bed, wanders off to do whatever it is he does all night long. I lie there for a few minutes listening to the night sounds through the open balcony door, and then I'm gone too.