"Dai Claudio, vieni !" Maria yelled.
The August night sky was unusually clear, notwithstanding the warm air. My father and I lean't on the railings on the terrace overlooking the beach. I could just make out my two sons and their friends fooling around on the beach sun loungers.I straightened up and shook my hand to get the ants off.
Alexia and her two American friends grabbed a lilo from under Pupetto Beach Bar and ran into the water.
Their New York accents carried perfectly up to our house. There was no babble on the beach nor sounds of motorboats to smother it. I could even hear the chink of the glasses in the restaurant below.
Milly, our small dog, sniffed disinterestedly around the terrace and then came and lay at our feet.
I could pick out my sons and their friends because the beach had been lit up from the restaurant. There were three lilos in the dark water and three people per lilo. I knew that they'd ordered a pizza to eat on the beach and seeing that my boys hadn't come up at all from their afternoon swim, that they still had a swimming costume on. The two Americans were leaving the next day, so it was a sort of going away party together with the Positanesi.
"Are you spying on them ?" asked my father.
"Course not! Can I help it if they chose this moment to have a swim?" I replied.
Milly suddenly got up and started sniffing around the edges of the terrace again. I imagined that there must be a gecko in her favourite haunts as she was taking long sniffs in the usual places.
"Lasciali stare (Leave them be)" said my father. I presumed that he was talking about my sons rather than the geckos.
Milly started getting more and more excited, running from one area of the terrace to another. She finally stopped at the corner which overlooked our garden below. She started whimpering a little.
"What is it Milly?" I asked gently.
Her fur was on end and she was on alert, fixating the tops of the mandarine trees which were at terrace level.
As soon as I asked, she began running down the steps which brought to the garden.
"She probably saw a cat." said my father.
I could hear her barking frantically below. Milly is a dog who never barks.
"Milly, come" I ordered.
She raced up the stairs immediately, returning to her post in the corner of the terrace. She took long deep sniffs into the tree tops then barked and yelped simultaneously. Obviously there was something there.
She suddenly looked up into the pergola overhead, barking and yelping as if her life depended on it.
I could hear a rustling in the wisteria leaves above me. I ran to turn on the terrace light which I had been avoiding so as not to attract mosquitoes.
My father and I looked up. Just as I had suspected.
It was the old rat-in-a-tree trick.