ay thought it ironic that the agent obscured the photograph of the view with the SOLD sticker. It would have been the house’s main selling point. She had a similar view herself and wouldn’t put a price on it.

May was watching the labour next door from her front verandah, a narrow and progressively sagging addition to her home made back in the eighties when Mick was still around. Half of it looked in bad need of a coat of paint. 

The other half was covered by creeping jasmine so you couldn’t tell if it needed painting or not, which was as good a reason as any for her not to cut the bush back.

She took a sip of lemonade and watched as the agent stood back, hands on hips, admiring his handiwork. She could only guess at what might be going through his mind. A healthy dose of cynicism inherited from a long dead father made her suspect profit was probably as good a guess as any. He looked over to where May was sitting and waved. To her annoyance he started heading her way.

Her iron gate creaked, as it was prone to do. It was one of her watch dogs. The other was even louder if it needed to be.

‘Shut it behind you or the dog’ll get out.’

He waved again. ‘Right-o.’

The man had deep sweat circles in the armpits of his collared shirt and his shoes were glazed with a fine layer of dust. May had never seen him before, though he walked with confident familiarity along her cracked concrete path to the stairs up to her verandah. He propped himself on the handrail. The dog beside her growled the sound of distant thunder. She laid a reassuring hand on its side.

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First published in One Book Many Brisbanes: An anthology of Brisbane stories, 2006