Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Please Do Not Put the Used Syringes in the Recycle Bin

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Caroline, it’s so sweet of you to take care of our plants and keep our house while we’re overseas. Chris and I are grateful to you for making the time commitment. I’m just leaving this note to make sure you have all the information you need.

I guess we’ll start with alarm system. I told you the code, but in fact all the code does is give you about 15 seconds to get through the front hallway to the kitchen, where you have to punch in the code again on the keypad behind the toaster oven (next to the fridge). If you don’t make it in time, the kitchen doorways are sealed by an iron portcullis that drops very quickly from the ceiling, and noxious fumes start coming from the air conditioning vents. So please, please make sure to get the code punched in swiftly. I’d have included instructions about taking care of the dog, but poor Fifi set off the alarm accidentally a few weeks ago and got impaled on the portcullis.

When you leave, please reset the alarm on your way out by punching in the code again, first from the kitchen and again from the front hallway. You’ll have to enter the code on the hallway within thirty seconds of doing so in the kitchen, or trap doors open on the entire ground floor. The trap doors lead to an oubliette that we don’t really use except to store old copies of National Geographic that won’t fit in the bathroom, and we don’t tend to go down there more than once or twice a year. So just be careful.

Next: the plants. Most of the plants are taken care of by an automatic irrigation system; the only ones to worry about are the three bonsai trees in the study and the Audrey II in the living room. The bonsai trees just need some trimming every now and then to keep their shapes; you probably won’t need to do anything, since we just trimmed them yesterday. But the Audrey II needs either a couple of live mice or half a pint of human blood, every other day. We tend to use mice: just place them in a paper bag at the opening to the plant’s main pod, and the Audrey II will devour them quickly. If you get squeamish and don’t want to handle mice, feel free to use blood; we have some needles, tubes and bags in the master bathroom that you may feel free to use. And you’re welcome to lie down on the bed, but make sure any stains are properly laundered.

We have a tank of exotic fish in the study, most of which are also fed automatically at the right intervals, but the piranha in the other tank needs fresh meat every few days. We keep some leftover pieces of meat on the door of the fridge; two or three of those should do. If any of the pieces you select still have fur or accessories, such as ribbons, on them, please remove them before placing the meat in the tank. If you run out of meat – though you shouldn’t unless Glenn gets unusually hungry and doesn’t leave anything over – you can find more pieces of Fifi in the freezer; you’ll just have to soak them in lukewarm water in the sink for about ten minutes before you drop them in the tank.

We had the place fumigated just before we left, so don’t be surprised to find dead roaches or other little beasties. You can just sweep them up and dump them in the trash. We might also have forgotten to check the second-floor guest room beforehand, and neither of us can recall actually saying goodbye to our last houseguest, so it’s possible you’ll find a body in there if you decide to look. That’s entirely up to you, of course, but if you elect not to check, please keep the guest room door closed just in case. If you do find a body, that would obviously give you more options when it comes to feeding Glenn. And please examine the body’s possessions so you can leave us a note telling us who it was.

Trash collection is on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and we didn’t have time to empty the trash cans around the house before we left, so please take care of that for us when you get a chance. The bins are on the south side of the house, right near the shed with the vials of rare communicable diseases. There’s probably trash from the shed in the bins, so you’ll want to don a mask before removing the lids to add anything. Cliff, our friend who lives in the shed, sometimes likes to curl up in one of the bins to read his German medical journals from the early 1940s, so please knock on each one to alert him before you wheel the bins to the curb for collection.

That should do it, I think. There’s no need to answer the phone or open the mail; we’ve received so many ransom notes that we don’t bother treating them urgently anymore. After all, they want our money, so they can sit and stew until we get around to answering. And we’ve called to suspend delivery of the paper until we get back, so don’t go looking for our copy of Der Stürmer. If it does get delivered, just slide it under Cliff’s door; he usually enjoys it after we finish with it.

Again, thank you so much, Caroline! We’ll give you a call when we get back. Perhaps we can have you over for a home-cooked dinner.


Written by Thag

June 21, 2011 at 11:22 pm

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