The Man Who Called from Inside the House

Yeah, I was the one who told her
the call came from inside the house and
that she’d better check on the children.
I was playing both roles while hiding
under one of the beds with a phone
and a voice-changer thing. The kids,
we bribed with candy, made them
lie still, a few little dabs of sauce—
pizza sauce—on their pajamas
and on their faces. And then
what was supposed to happen is
that I was supposed to jump out
with two extra-large pizzas, plus
a certificate for free pizza for life.
She was the big winner, see—
it was all a special promotion,
a way to try to get some attention.
You have to go viral these days,
they call it, to get anyone to notice.
But the whole thing backfired.
She saw the kids and the sauce,
and she didn’t wait around for
anything to be explained, or
anything to be given to her.
She ran out that front door,
and I don’t think anyone ever
saw her again. After a while,
the kids and I shrugged, ate
both the pizzas. We were all
hungry, and it seemed like
the best thing to do then,
under the circumstances.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs

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