To rehouse means the un-housing has already been done. House stripped from extremities like damp and bloody bandages. And now, we sit in the chairs opposite to the desk, exposed.

The worker in the rapid rehousing office informs us, typing perfunctory, fake fingernail missing from her third finger, that she and her two dachshunds were also rehoused, rapidly.

“My dachshunds are well-behaved, bundled babies, I feed them only chicken meat and peeled carrots, but still they’re all pudge— it’s something in the breed.” She explains how she used to carry them both up and down the stairs five times a day so they could shit and muck in her front yard.

“Soon enough though,” she says, “they had no yard, because my apartment was sold under my shoes to a single family buyer, and no apartments around here accept two dogs.”

“But look,” she continues, “I had two dogs, not one. And both were fat, but not so fat so as to consume the other and merge into one dog!”

“AND besides,” she adds, slowing down on her typing to make her point, “Nobody’d ask the local welfare wench to whack one of her children for a roof over her head, so why should I?”

We stare, and she continues to type into our intake form. Focusing on her task, she asks us where we were living now. We say, “The past.”

She tries to rephrase her question, “Where are you staying now?”  We say, “We are staying low.”

She wants us to say that we have nowhere to live, but we won’t say it. “Technically,” I think, “we have our bodies to live in,” but I don’t say this out loud, we all know that they are not enough, that we need heat outside our veins, and a roof for rain, and pillows, we need pillows. We are silent until she nods to herself and then hits the space bar four times to signify our lack.

Our quiet does not quell her and in between her other questions, she informs us blankly that, “They may never call you. It’s a long shot, everyone is looking for a rental these days and it is never a poor man’s market, as I’m sure you know— but hey, my fat babies and I, we lucked out. It did get hard, bench-in-an-April-downpour hard, floor-of-a-second-cousin’s hard, DSS-supplied-roach-infested-room hard. But now I’ve got a small place on the East Side, it’s not the Hilton, but it’s on the first floor and even has a washer hook-up.”

“And,” she assures, “I’ve got a good feeling for the both of you, a good feeling, a two-bedroom-and-windows-that-keep-the-flies-out kind of feeling,” she nods agreeing with herself, her fingernails cackling loud onto the keys, except for the one with its tip bitten down to nub, that one lands on each letter with no sound at all.