Here you are in your house, where you sleep and live. You are bored and have nothing to do.
There is a knock at the door.
It’s your across-the-street neighbor, Mrs. Plesh.
“PLESH!” she screams. You shake her hand.
“Listen,” she says. “My family and I are going on vacation for the weekend. Yep, that’s right: vacation, in this economy.”
Your eyes widen, incredulous.
“I was wondering if you could house-sit for us while we’re gone,” she says. “Everyone else on the block already said no, including the sex criminal. I would pay you $15. Think you can help us out?”
Fievel is a cunning mouse from a motion picture, you learn. This is the first you have heard of him.
The knocking at the door has stopped.
“How about $13?”
“Wonderful! I knew you’d be up for it. If you could, just stop by every now and then to get the mail, let the dog out, and water the houseplants. Help yourself to anything in the kitchen, and feel free to try on any of my husband’s roomy polo shirts and admire yourself in front of the mirror. Oh, and one more thing: Do not under any circumstances go into the basement—there’s something evil down there that I should go to jail for, and I wouldn’t want anyone to find it.”
She smiles and hands you the house key.
You close the door and sit on the ground and look at your hands.
Five hours pass.
You get up from the ground, figuring it’s probably about time to go do your house-sitting duties.
You walk across the street to the Pleshes’ house. You are excited to go in and do a good job so that you can earn money. You plan to use the money to buy a cushion, as you have heard good things.
Here you are inside the Pleshes’ house. Out of the corner of your eye, you see that Mrs. Plesh has taped a note for you next to the door.
It is very exciting to be alone in someone else’s private house. You can do or touch anything you want. But first, it might be good to let the dog out. Dogs need to be let outside several times a day so that they can run and play and alleviate their penis.
“No. If you think of any more questions, please come ask. We will be at the ocean.”
You find the dog sleeping on the floor. According to his food bowl, his name is Plesh.
Rather than intimidating him, your feat of strength has whipped Plesh up into a fury, and he is now making threatening dog sounds. Surely, he will kill you.
Plesh backs away and whimpers when he sees this second feat of strength. He understands now that you are equals.
Plesh grants you the privilege of letting him out to shit.
Plesh receives your odor and sees that you are good. He presents his stretchy belly skin to you as a gesture of respect.
Now you are equals. Plesh grants you the privilege of letting him out to shit.
You let Plesh out into the backyard, which is fenced in.
You go into the bathroom and sit on the toilet. Solidarity happens. As it does, you feel a strange warmth spread through your chest.
Return to me, Plesh’s heart says to yours.
Your heart blushes twice in response, and Plesh knows what you have said: I am already with you. I have been with you since the beginning of time.
You flush the toilet, and it is good.
You have violated my sanctuary, Plesh says to your heart through his heart. You came to me like a brute, but now you whimper like a coward. If I were a merciful pup, I would eat you to put you out of your misery. But I show no mercy, and you will now leave this place as a fraud, craven and without dignity. No man, woman, or child will ever respect you, and you will live out your days in loneliness and fear. This is my curse. Now, go from me and never return.
You leave the Pleshes’ house, exposed for who you really are. You are afraid and alone. A clown. A cow-hearted bitch-boy who is bad at house-sitting. You will never make anyone proud.
You return to the backyard to let Plesh inside, but Plesh isn’t there. You look everywhere—hither, yon—and the loud-breathing animal is nowhere to be found. He has escaped somehow.
You must find him, otherwise Mrs. Plesh won’t give you any money and you’ll lose your house-sitting privileges forever.
“IT’S SATURDAY NIGHT LIIIIIVE, FEATURING NASIM PEDRADDD,” you shout, noticing some slight reverb. “WITH MUSICAL GUEST BEN FOLDS FIIIIIIVE!”
The acoustics are fine.
Yes, okay. The dog will wait.
Where would you like to snoop?
Plesh is performing feces.
You walk into the Plesh son’s bedroom, where you find the Plesh son.
“Hello,” he says.
“Beats me!” he says.
Snooping in the boy’s room was a bad idea. You should probably go let the dog out now. His bladder won’t hold forever.
Or you could snoop around some more.
The boy has nothing else to say, and neither do you.
The Master Bedroom. The inner sanctum of marriage. The secret barn in every house where adults can share their groins and neither children nor God can legally watch.
Mr. and Mrs. Plesh love coming here to enjoy each other’s hidden flaps, and now you have trespassed on their special fuck station. You are clapping because of how naughty it makes you feel.
Boom, disheveled. What a wild time you are having in your neighbors’ house.
Suddenly, you hear loud shrieking from downstairs, followed by whimpers.
You follow the sound of the whimpers and discover that they’re coming from the family dog, Plesh, an obese critter of minimal utility. He looks scared and embarrassed.
Ashamed, the sentient pot roast gestures with his head at something just to your right.
Wrong. This is not where Plesh told you to look.
Oh, no! It looks like Plesh has leaked his rotten bisque all over the floor! This would never have happened if you had let him out when you were supposed to.
You are a bad house-sitter. Please call Mrs. Plesh and tender your resignation.
You call Mrs. Plesh and break the terrible news about how you let her dog commit an indoor crime with his penis on her nice floors.
“Nooo,” she cries, her vacation now ruined. “PLESH!”
You tender your resignation and hang up the phone. Before you leave, you put Plesh inside a garbage bag and tie the end shut so that if he does any more pissing in your absence, he won’t make a mess. Then you leave the house and turn yourself in to jail.
“Throw the book at me,” you tell the secretary at jail. “I am the worst house-sitter who ever lived.”
“Now this is a-clothes!” you exclaim, almost getting the line right. What a wild time you are having in your neighbors’ house.
Suddenly, you hear loud shrieking from downstairs, followed by whimpers.
You happen upon Mrs. Plesh’s brassieres, but are alarmed to find this note in her underwear drawer. You are a pervert, and she has anticipated it.
Maybe you should take this as a sign to stop snooping around and start taking care of your house-sitting duties. The dog probably really, really needs to be let out at this point.
Or you could just keep snooping.
Whatever you say. That dog’s gonna need to go out at some point, though.
Where would you like to snoop?
Here you are in the kitchen. This doesn’t really count as snooping, though, because Mrs. Plesh already said you could help yourself to whatever you wanted.
You look under the sink and find this. It is moaning the tune of “Amazing Grace.”
The monster eats a variety of forks, spoons, and other cutlery straight from your hand, and it seems thankful for the meal. But then you try to feed it a roll of paper towels and it goes batshit. It swats the paper towels out of your hand and snaps its powerful jaws down on your arm, severing it at the elbow.
This hurts a lot, and you decide that you don’t want to house-sit anymore. You go home and work on a difficult puzzle instead.
There’s a whole pantry filled with tasty snacks. What do you want to eat?
Mmmm. This is the saltiest soup you have ever had. It’s really hitting the spot.
Now that you’ve had a snack, you should really probably go let the dog out.
You start looking around for another snack, but as soon as you do, you hear loud shrieking from across the house, followed by whimpers.
Mmmm. This is the softest, wettest meat you have ever had. Your tongue is alive with the sour flavor.
Now that you’ve had a snack, you should probably go let the dog out. He probably really, really needs to use the bathroom.
Mmmm. Once you manage to chew through the tubes’ thick, translucent skin, they yield a divinely sour paste that ruptures lusciously over every nook and cranny of your mouth and teeth. This is your favorite meal you’ve ever tasted.
Now that you’ve had a little something to eat, it’d be a good idea to go let the dog out. He probably really, really needs to use the bathroom.
You are glad to no longer be looking at the gloomy monster.
Now what do you want to do?
Where would you like to snoop now?
Mrs. Plesh warned you earlier not to go into the basement, and she even left this note for you on the basement door as a reminder. Maybe it’d be best if you turn around while you still can.
As you open the basement door, a powerful gust sucks you forward. You’re thrown through a pitch-black void, hurtling helplessly through midair for what seems like hours. Suddenly, you come to a violent halt and find yourself hovering just inches from a horrifying wall of writhing human arms.
Hushed and in eerie staccato, the arms chant in unison:
“THE BASEMENT IS THE ROOM THAT’S UNDERNEATH THE GROUND AND UNDERNEATH THE GROUND YOU MUST STAY.
THE BASEMENT IS THE ROOM THAT’S UNDERNEATH THE GROUND AND UNDERNEATH THE GROUND YOU MUST PLAY.”
An unsettling voice, identical in pitch and tone to that of legendary singer-songwriter Neil Young, pierces through the solemn mantra:
“HAS SOMEBODY COME TO PLAY WITH ME?”
You remain silent, unsure what to do.
“I SAID, HAS SOMEBODY COME TO PLAY WITH ME?”
Good call. Where would you like to snoop now?
As soon as you speak, the writhing curtain of arms divides down the center and peels away, leaving nothing but a dark, purplish cloud of smoke. The smoke lingers briefly, then dissipates, and you are suddenly face-to-face with a young girl in a wheelchair.
“PLESH!” the Neil Young–voiced girl howls. Her voice is the loudest thing you’ve ever heard. You fall to your knees, clutching your ears.
“Cover your eyes, count to Plesh,
And when you’re done counting, I shall double in flesh.”
Now there are two kids. The second girl’s voice is identical to Elvis’ voice. They sing:
“Play with us and you will not die,
But if you run, the end is nigh.”
The kid on the right rolls a red ball to you.
You yell his name, but Plesh does not come back. Try something else.
Plesh heard you yell his name two times and then he came back.
You try to do the thing from earlier where you communicate with Plesh through your heart, but it doesn’t work. You realize you were just making it up in your head before.
Try something else.