The House

There are noises outside my window. A single shovel scrapes against something which is not earth and does not wish to be moved. Tinny sounds of discarded objects are projected out as they strike the floor. Every now and then, there is a louder crash or thud, as something heavy hits the ground.

They are dismantling it.

A week ago they moved a large iron container onto the yard, and it is now half full of wood panels. They are taking a dimension away from this house and making it flat, stacking it up inside this metal container. One day a truck will come and take it away somewhere.

There are three men dressed in orange jumpsuits. They are all wearing gas masks, and they never say anything. When I look from my window I can see them pointing at things to each other. They are the beetles of the city, its lichens and molds and fungi. This house has died and they are here to eat it.

I think when I look at their gas masks that it must be a good way to keep the people out of your mouth and nose. After we die, we will have littered the world with tons of hair and discarded skin. Every week I take a broom and get rid of all the hair in my room, but I know that I miss most of it. I know my room is filling up with parts of me. These men do not eat humans, however. They eat houses. They would rather no-one had ever been in the house they are eating.

They have now stripped the house of most of its skin and now we can see its wooden muscles. The houses nearby look even more painted now, the blues and yellows are deeper and brighter. They are really trying.  Once the men in the orange suits have finished disconnecting the wood there will be nothing left. Who builds a house knowing that it will be eaten? Perhaps an empty lot would be even sadder, but still I do not feel like being around to see other men in jumpsuits come and build another.

And us? Who will eat what we leave behind of ourselves? There is too little of it anywhere and too much of it altogether. We die when we get tired of making things to throw away. We are our own beetles. The gas masks don’t really work.

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