|Sydney Road, Coburg|
They heard footsteps on the roof, they said. But how do you know these things, I'm thinking, how do you compare? Hearing footsteps on your roof is not like someone walking on your head; there is no weight, no pressing down of a foot until your neck starts to give. This is just an echo, an invisible pebble rattling above your head. Well, it was sort of a light tap, they said, not a heavy sound but a soft tread that was steady and sure and followed a path up the walls and across the roof. The walls? Now you hear walking on the walls? Because to me – and don't get me wrong – it be could be a bird or a cat when you think of that beak and those nasty claws, or any other sort of animal that likes to sneak around in the night and stain your walls with their shit. But we have proof, they said. And promptly walked out of the room. But while I stood there – listening to doors opening and closing, to the sounds of their returning footsteps on the carpet in the hallway – I thought of toes, lots of toes. Of course, with toenails neatly clipped and maybe socks or maybe not, but still toes, just toes inside shoes and squashed against each other as each foot in its shoe left its mark on the wall: a clean print against the brick. Proof. When they walked into the room, one of them was carrying a box, and from this they took a pin cushion, a pair of pinking shears and 5 steel pins which were placed – carefully, wordlessly – on the table before me. She just stared at me (which is really unnerving when you consider those eyebrows), while he kept nodding like some tall, lumpy poodle until he spoke. Now do you believe us?