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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Open House, Shut Down

I mentioned a while back that I sent over a submission this year to the Mona Schreiber Prize folks. Their top three essays were announced this week. My entry, sadly, was not among them.

Still, in the ongoing spirit of turning my abject failures into your glorious entertainment — or at least into my slightly-less-abject blog posts — I’ll share my not-so-much-winning entry with you here.

Hey, it’s either that or I bash the holidays again. Or talk about my dog’s poop. Or blat out another sketch script. Let’s face it — you should thank me for this.

Anyway, enjoy. And head over to see the actual winners of the Mona Schreiber Prize, while you’re at it. You might learn something. Or at least grab a crumb of that ‘entertainment’ we were talking about earlier. Can’t hurt nothin’, right?


Bob and Lisa — hi! I’m so glad you made it to the open house. I just know you’re going to love this place; let me give you the tour.

“You really get a feel for the sophisticated style of the last couple who lived here — it’s like Bram Stoker meets Hello Kitty in Malibu Barbie’s ski chalet.”

We’ll start here in the foyer, featuring this breathtaking pink gothic fireplace. You really get a feel for the sophisticated style of the last couple who lived here — it’s like Bram Stoker meets Hello Kitty in Malibu Barbie’s ski chalet. I know — stunning, right?

And here’s a formal dining room, with the exquisite wainscoting along the south wall. Now, I see you looking up and I know what you’re thinking. Let me put your minds at ease — those stains on the ceiling are definitely NOT water damage. They’re just burns — wispy, superficial little burn marks that you could totally paint right over, if you like. The previous owners enjoyed a nice open bonfire in this room, from time to time. Which also explains the charred floorboards. And the missing wainscoting on the east, west and north walls. Easily restorable. Barely a trifle.

You’ll find the kitchen is state-of-the-art, with all the modern amenities — including this floating island here in the center. Though technically, it’s not ‘floating’, exactly. Instead, it’s surrounded by this convenient in-floor moat. It was apparently installed to keep the pets away from the dinner scraps. I forget exactly what they were breeding — something about ‘thoraxes’, but it’s all Greek to me. Anyway, we’ve sprayed for pests. And pets. And swarms of… things. Not a problem.

Also, note that where most kitchens might have an under-counter dishwasher, this one comes equipped with a pull-out bidet. Which is about the most convenient thing ever, if you think about it in the right light. You’ll also appreciate the walk-in meat locker and the dry-curing alcove, which can double as a warm and inviting breakfast nook, if that’s more your speed. Really, really warm. You can fry your eggs right at the table, ha ha!

The house features one-and-a-half baths in total. There’s a full bath over here, a one-sixth-bath off the master bedroom, another two-ninths-bath in the crawlspace behind the fireplace, the kitchen bidet, and a towel rack on the roof over the bonfire room. The fixtures are matching stainless steel, of course, and quite lovely.

That brings us to the bedroom where the family — sorry, I said ‘couple’ earlier; it was more like a ‘family’ — slept. It’s very roomy, as you can see. They put in the queen-sized quicksand pit over here, and they hung their clothes, I assume, on these butchers’ hooks dangling attractively from the ceiling — one per ‘family’ member, so a total of fourteen. They really give the room a sense of depth, don’t you think?

Did I say ‘family’? They were really more of a ‘troupe’. Or maybe a ‘clique’. Not a ‘gang’ or a ‘cult’, like some of the local gossips and newspapers and police reports sometimes whisper. People can be so nosy and judgmental, you know? Not that you’ll have to worry about the neighbors here. The mine field in the yard takes care of that. Remind me to get you the map, in case you venture out to see the patio. Or the mailbox. Oh, and did you park in the driveway? Oh, dear.

What else can I tell you? You’ll have to provide your own basement, which I’m sure you can pick up at any local hardware store. But they left a few of the shingles on the roof, which should come in handy. Frankly, I can’t imagine a better fit for you two. It’s perfect, I’m sure you’ll agree.

And that brings us back to the foyer, where — what? You say you heard something? Oh, you mean the voice? No, it’s not saying ‘GET OUUUUUT!’ I think it’s actually saying ‘GOOD HOUUUUUSE! GOOD HOUUUUUSE!’ It’s like your own full-time housewarming party — how charming is that, right?

No, I’m sure that’s not blood running down the wall. Probably the bidet just backed up a little. After someone filled it with ketchup, maybe. That’ll scrub right out, no worries.

Wait — where are you going? Lisa, Bob — come on. Don’t be scared of a little ‘fixer-upper’ project. Well, can you at least sign the attendance sheet while you’re fleeing?

What’s that? The pen’s out of ink? Completely dry? Aw, dammit. Everything was going so well, too. Now the open house is RUINED!

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