The Realtor

How does one go about selling a haunted house? It was a tricky business, to be sure. But number 66 on 6th Street, though modern and unassuming in its three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths, was undeniably and invariably haunted.

The ceiling fan whispered, the toilet bowl screamed, the faucets blasted hot water on unprotected hands, and yes, on occasion, the walls bled. Not to mention the refrigerator doubled as a portal to Hell (or some such dimension) where one had to battle demons and swim across fiery lakes if he ever wanted to see the mayonnaise again.

The Hendersons had been duped into buying the house by a very wily realtor: a shameless man by the name of Steeves. Mr. Steeves had cleverly kept the couple in the dark as to the property's supernatural problems while extolling its virtues as a "great place to start a family!"

For the open house, the interior had been nicely furnished, and the warmth of scented candles wafted through the living room. Steeves was shameless, all right; no human can resist the lure of scented candles!

It all looked so perfect - so inviting. With a little help from Steeves as a narrator, the Hendersons were able to picture themselves making a home there.

Mrs. Henderson put herself at work in the kitchen, bustling around the durable, granite-topped island, never for a moment wondering if it would make a good safe haven should a sea of red-eyed rats come scrambling across the linoleum floor below. And the electric oven which she labeled functional and efficient, never in her wildest dreams could she picture it swallowing the repairman whole, leaving nothing but crispy remains.

Mr. Henderson, in all his visions, never once thought badly of the 30-inch TV. Never did he suspect that on dark, stormy nights the lights would flicker ever so slightly, and that his beloved Yankees game would fizzle out to a loud, snowy screen, and that on that screen a face would materialize, warning of his death in seven days. (The face always lied.) Nor could he possibly imagine the radio alarm clock going off at 6:66 - both day and night - playing the same song no matter what station it's set at, even when the goddamn thing's unplugged! It was Bob Seger's "Hollywood Nights". The Hendersons grew to loathe that song, but then, for reasons unknown, they began to like it again. In either case, it distracted them from the fact that 6:66 does not exist as a veritable time.

You would think that the Hendersons bore a grudge against the man who ruined their lives, or at least never wanted to see him again, but to the contrary: they were desperately seeking his services. Having tried "For Sale By Owner" with no luck, they realized they needed an expert conman - someone skilled in the art of deception - if they ever hoped to rid themselves of 66 6th Street. They needed Derek Steeves.

Steeves was a busy man, currently on commission in Florida. ("Those swamps don't sell themselves, you know!") The Hendersons decided that, if he couldn't come to them, then they would go to him. Besides, they could use a healthy vacation: a week of sun and sand, and a week away from manic appliances. However, to their deep chagrin, the house refused to let them leave. It locked its doors so that the key melted in the lock and then somehow managed to board up its own windows.

The Hendersons were trapped until further notice.

Days turned into weeks, and still no sign of submission. Mrs. Henderson swore she would hang herself if she found one more human finger in the garbage disposal, or one more tarantula in the Frosted Flakes. The house tempted her further by dangling a noose in her closet.

Mr. Henderson thankfully had his writing to keep him occupied. He pecked away at his typewriter nonstop. ("All work and no play makes Johnny a...damn it! Out of ink.")

Since they couldn't go grocery shopping, their meal options dwindled.

"Hey, hun, we got anymore baked beans?"

"I don't know, let me check." The housewife diligently rummaged through the cabinets. "Nope. Just some Ramen Noodles and...a severed head."

"That's Mister Severed Head to you!"

"Uhh...I guess I'll have the noodles, then."

Weeks turned into months, months turned into years, years turned into decades, decades turned into centuries, and centuries turned into millennia. Or at least that's what it felt like to the Hendersons, who were getting a little more than fed up with their obnoxiously haunted house.

"That's it! I just can't take it anymore!" bellowed Mrs. Henderson whilst ripping her hair out by the roots. "Why hasn't that jackass called back yet?"

"Steeves is a busy man, dear."

"Busy my ass! He's forgotten about us, that's what's what! We can't afford to wait around like this any longer. I'm losing my sanity, John. I'm losing my effing mind!"

"Well, what do you suggest we do about it? Hire an exorcist?" He had only meant it as a joke, but then he got that shiny look in his eye. "You know, that ain't a bad idea. Not bad at all..." He turned the prospect over in his mind a couple times, mapping out the next logical step. "I'll get the phonebook!"