Across the Street

The Green HouseBelow is the second of the 2 short stories I came upon when looking for inspiration recently, that I wrote and entered into a city living competition back when we resided at our old apartment where the tiny balcony upon which we spent much of our free time overlooked neighbouring terrace houses, notable of which was the green house. As with most of the short stories I write, they’re based on actual events.

I thought I’d share them this week as they inspired the beginnings of a series of blog posts about housemates.

Short Story 2 – Proposal for New TV Series: Across the Street

Summary: 10 part series. Before Big Brother and Backyard Blitz, there were iconic Australian TV and radio classics such as Neighbours, Sylvania Waters and Blue Hills. Set in a terrace house in an inner city street, this new program mixes and reinvents those styles and utilises the everyday and the door-step to entertain. The architects of this series have swapped formula for an eclectic mix of audio-visual: there are no regular screening times or duration, episodes may be repeated without notice and it’s up to the audience to put it all together, guessing at plot and what is happening behind the scenes. IT’S VOYEURISTIC AND ADDICTIVE.

Episode 1: Saturday, 5pm-11pm: Lights blaze. Music drifts over bottles and glasses clinking. Convivial twilight chatter dissolves into shouting swearing darkness. Voices raised in alcoholic merriment morph into voices raised in anger. Telephone ringing, loud conversation, then muted. Sharp crashes, bangs, sudden silence.

Episode 2: Sunday, 10am-11.30am. Incessant strident dogs’ barking is infiltrated by loud but mostly indecipherable domestic conversation, the subject of which seems to be the same dogs. Sounds of heavy objects hitting something immoveable. Voices amplified, shriller barking. Door slamming muffles all sounds.

Episode 3: Wednesday, 1pm-2pm. Stooped man in faded bathrobe emerges with plastic bag and scoop. In bright sunlight his expression is dazed and dejected, changing to angered as barking small dogs agitated by his efforts run frenetically around his legs, hobbling him until he gives up and turns back to the house. Shouts see him about-face and retreat to the garage.

Episode 4: Sunday, 10am-5.30pm. Dark car pulls up to curb. Tall man, impeccably attired emerges from passenger seat. Elegant red-haired woman alights from driver’s side. Footpath kisses. Enter house intertwined. Sundown re-emergence for footpath and driver’s door embraces before she drives away.

Episode 5: Thursday, 6am-7am. Dark car parks under tree down street. Tall man in exercise clothes emerges from house. Red-haired woman waiting, alights from waiting car, launches across road to not-so-pleasantly-surprised man. Hushed shouting on footpath, gesticulating arms, heads shaking, regretful nodding. Woman stumbles to dark car. Man surges into jog.

Episode 6: Saturday, 10am-11am. Wild-haired woman ministering to defaced house exterior with bucket, broom and curses. Robotic utterances from inside house. Stooped man in faded bathrobe emerges. Woman agitatedly shouts and points and throws bucket and broom and storms into house. Blank-faced man retreats to garage.

Episode 7: Tuesday 4pm-7pm. Monotone monologue, clinking glass, occasional subdued deep response. Slurred accusations and complaints. Lights, TV blaring.

Episode 8: Wednesday 1am-2.30am. Dead of night screaming. Sirens. Lights flashing. Doors slamming. Weary desperate scared-faced man supine on stretcher. Taut-faced wild-haired woman in doorway. Police car waiting.

Episode 9: Thursday 6-8pm. Blue & white stripe tape festoons garage door. White van. Sheet covered body on stretcher. Investigating, note-taking uniforms throng courtyard and footpath.

Episode 10: Sunday 5pm-7pm. Concrete silence. Rubbish bins overflowing with evidence of misery. Haggard wild-haired woman emerges from house with super-size suitcase. Taxi at curb departs. Evening arrives, greeted by lights on, no-one home.

19 thoughts on “Across the Street

    1. Oh yes, and some days we wished we could turn the TV off, change channels or at least vote for an outcome. Much quieter, except for the trains, where we are now but we still miss that neighborhood. It’s like home.


  1. I would so enjoy a series like this and long for the days of reality-free television programming. I can almost hear friends and me talking about each installment, reliving that night’s episode and wondering where the next would take us. What fun!


    1. Thank you. I miss the ‘good old days’ on that street (and also good old TV series, although there’s an occasional gem, it’s outweighed by the other). We still indulge in a little speculating programming on our new street but there’s been nothing to stir the creative juices 🙂


  2. Great thought, a series where we have to make up our own mind about what happened instead of having every twist and turn spelled out repeatedly after every ad break just in case we were too stupid and needed help understanding.
    I indulge in the ‘what the hell’s going on over there’ game too. We don’t have many neighbours but the one whose husband seems to have left, leaving his brother (who rarely goes out of doors) with the wife has excited many a discussion…. 😀


    1. That’s an excellent speculative neighbourly scenario…
      We had a strange woman greet us effusively while we were sittng outside a local cafe… after she’d gone and we both confessed to not having a clue who she was, we realised she lived in the apartment building across from us, and spent a lot of time looking out… I wonder what she speculates about us.


      1. Oooh, the watchers watched!
        I often wonder what that particular neighbour thinks of us as they never talk or say hi over the fence like everyone else. Just imagine the invented stories swirling about every neighbourhood, so much more interesting than the stuff on tv I’m sure!


  3. Now you see, that’s one thing I miss about not living in the city anymore. My best memory is the night I called the police to a ‘burglary’ in the house opposite (I’d seen the family leave for a night out). Turned out the crouching, torch-holding figure was their elderly next door neighbour looking for her missing cat! :-0 Really enjoyed this, Ella – it’s intriguing and would definitely be addictive viewing.


    1. Too funny 🙂 I would have called the police as well. I miss that neighborhood. Where we are now is friendly enough but much more anonymous, and not near as entertaining unless you enjoy watching trains, and even what novelty that holds wears off.


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