Today I have the pleasure of bringing you a guest post by my lovely friend and fellow writer – Kathy George. Kathy and I first met at QUT while studying creative writing. We have since kept in touch and exchange writing from time to time. She blogs over at Dappled Dew and I’d encourage you to check out her blog and find some of her wonderful writing to read. Kathy’s piece ‘Other People’s Houses: Number 12 of Innumerable’ was inspired by a job she once had, going door-to-door checking the electoral roll and some of the things she saw! It’s a great piece, and one of the many things I admire about Kathy’s writing is her ability to evoke all the senses with lush, rich detail and observation of the world around us.
IT’S DARK, but the front door is flung wide and moths and bugs flit in the yellow light. The Queenslander has a high-pitched roof and a wide verandah. It reminds me of drawings I did when I was a little kid—the door dead center, two sash windows either side. A winding garden path. It’s a cookies-and-milk-kind of house.
I adjust my satchel, clutch my book and pen to my chest, and pick my way up the path. Pink petunias on the left. An expanse of dark dewy grass to the right. A jacaranda in full bloom. A child’s red tricycle askew on the carpet of dusky purple.
As I mount the steps I hear voices. It’s nearly nine but I have only four houses left, and I press on. The front door opens into a dimly-lit living room with polished wooden floors and an oriental rug. A leather sofa, its back to the door, faces a plasma TV screen, and I hear moaning. I don’t knock. I hover, because over the sofa I can see what’s showing on the TV. In some other house, in some other cream-carpeted room with a leather sofa, a woman with long legs wearing stilettos is spread-eagled across the sofa’s back. Her hands are clenched, her nipples riding the leather. Behind her—jammed up against her—is a man wearing cowboy boots and a hat, nothing else. He’s cracking a whip. She’s doing the moaning.
I notice, then, I’m not alone. On the sofa in front of me, are two heads. Moving heads. Kissing heads. One of the heads disappears and then I hear a third noise, an unmistakable wet sound.
In the other house the man and woman have changed positions. She’s lying on the sofa and he’s hard at it, missionary style. With all the exertion his hat falls off, displaying a bald spot which shines in the light. They have a TV too, and I strain my neck to see what’s showing. It could be Seinfeld, that episode I missed. But it isn’t.
I ease back into the verandah’s darkness and lean against the wall’s cool wooden slats. In the road a man is walking his dog. A golden retriever. Silky smooth coat under the streetlight. Nails tacking on tarmac.
At the letterbox I wipe my sweaty palms on my jeans. There isn’t a forgotten letter in the box to act as confirmation, but I balance the electoral book across my knee, locate the names with my torch again because I’ve lost my place, and tick them off. I make a note there’s been an addition to the family. I don’t have to, but Stuart likes it if I do. And then I cross the nature strip and head over to the next house.
Kathy George blogs on writing and reading and anything that captures her attention. She holds a degree in creative writing from QUT and in 2011 was the winner of the QUT Writing Prize for undergraduates. She’s been published in the Australian literary journals Rex and Stilts and two Margaret River Press anthologies, and in 2013 was placed second in the Launceston, Tasmania, Literary Award. She’s been a QWC/Hachette Manuscript Development Program participant, and has an agent, and a manuscript under consideration with a publisher. She is currently at QUT completing an MFA in Gothic Literature. Sometimes her writing is published under the name K W George.