I woke up from a very pleasant dream at about 4:30AM. There was no need to go back to sleep right away. I read for a while.
Around 5:20 I became aware of a rattling, scratching, tapping sort of noise from somewhere toward the front of the Rolling Steel Tent. I couldn't identify it, partly because my hearing isn't that great—which also makes it hard to determine the direction of sounds. Was it a critter in the wastebasket? A rat in the engine compartment making a home for the winter? Was it gnawing on wires or hoses? Was it something entirely different?
I felt vulnerable half dressed, so I pulled on my pants and shoes, grabbed a flashlight and looked around inside.
But the sound was definitely coming from the dash, or the engine compartment, or on the hood.
Maybe starting the engine would scare away whatever was making the noise.
Okay, time to look outside. I hoped it wasn't a coyote or feral dog.
In the meantime, the noise stopped. For a few moments.
Then it returned.
Right now, it's stopped.
Oh, wait, maybe it's one of Santa's elves trying to leave me an early gift.
Not likely. I haven't been a good boy.