Hark! I hear barking! The sound of dogs! It is an unclean sound, for dogs are unclean, as are such beasts as pigs and lobsters, according to my well-thought-out worldview. I was taught early to shun dogs and pigs and lobsters, to flee from their presence if they did not first flee from mine. Without the fleeing, theirs or mine, I would become contaminated by their uncleanness, and need to wash and wash and wash with water and soap and borax and purifiers until my flesh was raw and all trace of dog, pig, lobster was wholly eradicated, even down to the tiniest speck of filth. For filth it is, so I know, for it is written. I first fled from a dog, or it may have been a pig, or a lobster, when I was so tiny I barely remember, and have pieced together the events as best I can by repeated and indefatigable questioning of Bog Horvath, the family wizard. I fled and plunged into a pond, screaming, and soap and borax and purifiers were tossed in to me by the Cleansing Monkey from its booth anent the pond. I trod water and rubbed and scrubbed and eventually clambered out of the pond and ran home, there to burn a corn dolly and make a paste of the ash and to smear the paste upon my forehead and remain so marked until the setting of the sun, as it is written. That was so long, long ago, and in the years since there have been many other ponds and Cleansing Monkey booths and corn dollies burned to ash, for the world is filled to bursting with dogs and pigs and lobsters. They cannot always be avoided, in the run of a day. Bog Horvath, the family wizard, explained to me that the unclean must coexist with the clean, to teach us. If dogs and pigs and lobsters were obliterated from the face of the planet, or even, laughably, deemed to be clean, as they are by some among the damned, then the litanies we learn would lose all sense, and that surely cannot be. I know, when I see the stain upon my forehead in a looking glass, that I am righteous, at least until nightfall, and that any further dog or pig or lobster come roaming into my Zone Of Cleanth that day will be repelled, as if by great force, for so it is written. Bog Horvath, the family wizard, has been most helpful in clarifying the status of apes and monkeys. Some are clean, as obviously are the Cleansing Monkeys in their booths by ponds and meres and lakes, but others are unclean, creatures of filth to be shunned. When I was still a child, my ma and pa had not properly grasped what Bog Horvath, the family wizard, was teaching, and they brought into the house, as a pet, an unclean ape, I cannot remember what kind exactly. It was not sufficient, then, just to burn a corn dolly. The house itself had to burn, with the ape and my ma and pa inside it, while Bog Horvath, the family wizard, and I stood outside on the path, beside the clump of vetch and the lupins, watching the purifying flames roar. When all was ash, he took me away with him to the Mad Rasta, or school, where he taught me, through a combination of magick incantations, brain probes, and a pointy stick, how to cherish all that is clean, and to despise all that is unclean, and to know which is which. That is why, today, grown aged and tall, with my huge untidy beard and thrice-bleached tunic, when I hark to the barking of approaching dogs, I fear them not, nor the grunting of approaching pigs nor the clacking of approaching lobsters. I wait until they are close enough to be seen. If they are large and fierce and terrific, I flee. If tinier, and timid, I stand my ground, and, as I was taught many moons ago by Bog Horvath, the family wizard, and as it is written, I cow them, the dogs or pigs or lobsters, by jumping up and down, as if equipped with a trampoline, and I flail my arms in the air like a wild thing, and I scream my head off. And then they flee from me, these filthy unclean beasts, be they dogs or pigs or lobsters, or certain apes and monkeys. That is the righteous way. You will not see the damned behave so. That is why they are damned, to flames and perdition, and to be eternally poked at with the pointy stick of the Supreme, the Magnificent Bog.