Dogghouse

I am moving out of Snoop Dogg’s house. He hasn’t said anything while I am throwing my clothes in a bunch of garbage bags, he just stands looking down and smoking a joint the size of a chipolata. I am packing fast and rough because Slappy the dummy from Goosebumps is around somewhere. A tiny version of my little sister goads me as I pack. I decide to leave my furniture.

Snoop Dogg doesn’t like leaving the lights on so the house is dark and cold. Brown seventies wallpaper, brown furniture and sheets hanging off everything like dirty cobwebs. There is an icy knot between my shoulder blades. I am hunched and shaky. Snoop offers me the joint and I frown at him because he knows I am trying to quit.

I have piled up my garbage bags in the front room. The room is mostly frosted glass. It feels colder in that room, like I should remember something bad that happened in there. My pile of possessions looks like what it is, a bunch of trash I have forgotten to get rid of along the way.

I lift a bag and Slappy is under it, sprawled in the trash. His mouth is an open grin as if he just told a punchline. His eyes stare over my shoulder, begging me to turn around. I freeze half out of fear and half out of fury. He laughs at me in the way that only something that is silent can.

I ball the hand that is holding the garbage bag into a fist. I turn and take the joint from Snoop Dogg and drag from it. Snoop looks apologetic in a way that makes me want to hit him. My tiny little sister cackles. I don’t take any other bags.

I walk quickly through the lounge room, my footsteps shaking the walls. Slappy skitters out of the front room and under one of the sheets. I keep my eyes on where Slappy is hiding as I walk. The sheet slips down a fraction, revealing one eye and half a grin. I can still hear my little sister cackling. Snoop is gone. I break into a run.

The front stairs are slippery from dew and I slide down them but don’t lose my balance. My heart is pounding when I hit the bottom. The air is cold and fresh outside. Like the opposite of a cigarette. A white kingswood ute idles in the driveway, steam rising from the bonnet. I throw my one bag in the tray and climb in.

The door to the bottom garage is open. I never went in there and never will. I can’t see in because it is too dark. Snoop stands at the opening, smoking and looking down, flanked by Slappy and my little sister. My little sister says awful things in an awful voice at me as the ute backs out of the driveway. Slappy throws shit that smacks loudly onto the bonnet. Snoop doesn’t make eye contact. He doesn’t wave and neither do I.

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