PodCastle Miniature 010: The Desires of Houses

By Haddayr Copley-Woods
Read by Rachel Swirsky
First appeared in Strange Horizons (full text online)

The floor is sulking. She almost always wears shoes in the basement, and the cement lies all day in agony listening to the first floor’s boards sighing loudly in ecstasy at the touch of her bare heels.

All it can hope for in its slow, cold way is that the woman will scoop the cat boxes, squatting on her heels, after she starts a load of laundry. Today oh joy oh joy she does. The floor is practically writhing at the smell of her (she always showers after the scooping, so her scent is thick)—the tangy rich odor. The cement feels (or maybe it’s just wishful thinking) just a bit of her damp warmth.

But then she is sweeping the floor, oblivious as always to the swooning house around her, ruining the floor’s pleasure with the horrible scented litter she sweeps up and tosses back in the box.

She yanks open the dryer, who feels violated and then guilty for enjoying it, dumps the hot, panting shirts and shorts into a basket, and heads back upstairs, carefully turning off the lights to avoid the lecture about electricity the man will give her later if she doesn’t. Even minutes later, the cords are still shaking in the darkness.

Rated R. Contains desire.

Please visit the thread on this story in our forums.

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22 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Alina said,

    September 5, 2008 @ 11:59 pm

    It’s really well written, but I would have like a small disclaimer beforehand to the sexual nature of this podcast.

  2. 2

    Old Man Parker said,

    September 6, 2008 @ 10:09 pm

    Good lord, that was terrible!

  3. 3

    J said,

    September 8, 2008 @ 5:17 am


  4. 4

    phignewton said,

    September 8, 2008 @ 1:50 pm

    yes… profoundly disturbing, as far as dislaimers.. i think ‘desire’ covers it.

  5. 5

    scatterbrain said,

    September 8, 2008 @ 2:22 pm

    Great! Now I think my computer wants to blow me!

  6. 6

    Audita Sum said,

    September 8, 2008 @ 9:48 pm

    At first I thought it was really flowery and obnoxious, but after a while, I thought it was pretty funny. The talking dirty to the bathtub bit made me lawl.

  7. 7

    Laramiepup said,

    September 9, 2008 @ 9:11 pm

    The thing that I love about this story is the way it is both thoroughly enticing (I love the bit about the dryer!) but also wistful and quite sad.

  8. 8

    MG Ellington said,

    September 9, 2008 @ 9:17 pm

    This has long been my favorite short story. It is clever, well-written, and imaginative. Every word is important. The desire conveyed is tangible. Thank you for bringing it to life in sound.

  9. 9

    Bennett Gordon said,

    September 9, 2008 @ 10:14 pm

    That is a fantastic story: funny, surprising, and well-written. Thanks for sharing!

  10. 10

    rebecca said,

    September 10, 2008 @ 11:07 am

    Awesome story, Haddayr. I love that all this desire is happening around this woman who is feeling so unloveable at the time… Thanks for sharing!

  11. 11

    Jesse the K said,

    September 10, 2008 @ 11:29 am

    Excellent reading of a lovely story. I’ll never lack something to ponder while doing housework.

  12. 12

    Jessy said,

    September 10, 2008 @ 11:35 am

    I love love love this.

  13. 13

    Amaster said,

    September 11, 2008 @ 2:35 am

    This made me wonder what the residence hall I’m staying in at college thinks about the students living in it.

  14. 14

    thomasowenm said,

    September 14, 2008 @ 8:05 am


  15. 15

    Carolyn Bahm said,

    September 16, 2008 @ 4:31 pm

    This was SO creative — one of the most original short-shorts I’ve heard in a long time! I loved how over the top this was with all the steamy references, and I laughed out loud several times.


  16. 16

    jundar said,

    September 17, 2008 @ 3:20 pm

    Made me laugh out involuntarily whilst riding the train and thinking about my house at home… loved it, and yeah, great reading too. Thanks Rachel!

  17. 17

    Hyperion said,

    September 19, 2008 @ 2:06 am

    I read the other comments before penning mine, and I said a few words of blessing to those poor obviously unsatisfied partners of all the Ick-Sayers above.

    I cannot imagine someone modern enough to listen to a podcast on a Fantasy website would not like this story. It was totally awesome, and makes me very jealous of Mr. Haddayr Copley-Woods.

    Well done!

  18. 18

    Spork said,

    September 22, 2008 @ 6:42 pm

    This was stupid, juvenile, purile, and so bad that I didn’t even have the patience to endure an entire flash piece. Did I mention that it was stupid?

    Nicely read, though the audio quality of the introduction needed work. But really…this was really freakin’ dumb.

  19. 19

    Kate said,

    September 27, 2008 @ 11:23 am

    The reader was OK, I didn’t get the music at the beginning though…Also, a better story with more substance instead of such a short filler piece would have been better.

  20. 20

    Ogion The Ski-napper said,

    October 7, 2008 @ 6:05 am

    Ooooooooooh! After listening to this I needed to take a cold shower. But then I started to wonder what the shower would think about that.

  21. 21

    The Fix | From the Podosphere: September 2008 said,

    October 16, 2008 @ 8:34 am

    […] “The Desires of Houses” by Haddayr Copley-Woods is read by Rachel Swirsky. It’s a voluptuous rendition of sensuality in which we are shown fetishism from the viewpoint of the fetish itself. Though short, it’s conclusive, and a glimpse of an unlikely aspect of experience. Who knows what further aspects lurk in unexpected locations? […]

  22. 22

    Fred said,

    February 10, 2009 @ 11:51 am

    Wow! This was great. I’ve been encouraging my various sweeties to listen to PodCastle and I think I’ll just send them straight to this one first! (I hope our house is happy with us.)

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