~^~!@ Don't Kill Him, Even if He Asks! v. 2.019 @!~^~
by Mike Meginnis & Tim Dicks
m: You are a fourteen year old girl named Anna. You babysit the children of strangers often. You got the call from this family yesterday: they asked you if you were an honest woman. What did you tell them?
t: I make honest attempts to be honest.
m: They didn't laugh or otherwise acknowledge what you said but they didn't hang up either. They asked you what your rate was and you told them; they said they had a son. They asked you did you take care of boys sometimes.
m: They asked you were you familiar with the anatomies of typical boys.
m: They scheduled the night. They said that they might be home late. They picked you up in their white minivan with white wood paneling and all the way to their house they played an audio version of the Cosby Show. They took you on the tour. They were a handsome couple though you often could not tell who was Jim and who was Susan, and they were sometimes confused on this point themselves, perhaps because of their matching red blazers. (They were realtors. They had sold each other the home.) They told you you had full refrigerator privileges.
t: go to kitchen; open refrigerator
m: It is fully stocked with eggs, bacon, a frosty loaf of wheat bread with foggy plastic wrap, a handle of middle-grade whiskey, orange juice, milk, some cookies piled on a paper plate, lunch meats, mayonnaise, mustard, and etc. There is also a note on the freezer.
t: read note
m: The note says: Remember! Even if he asks, don't kill him! :)
t: take note
m: You have the note.
t: examine kitchen
m: The kitchen is nice. It has gleaming granite counter tops, a knife block full of polished knives, an empty sink, an empty dog dish (you have not seen a dog), and a fully-equipped spice rack. There is a pyramid of canned vegetables on one counter. There are photos on the fridge. The room is a little cold. Exits are south and east.
t: open oven
m: The oven is off. There is a glass pan with a pre-made lasagna inside. There is a post-it note on the lasagna: 400 degrees, three hours
t: bake lasagna; take can of vegetables; go east
m: You turn the oven to four hundred degrees and set the timer; you take a can of corn; you go east, into the dining room. There is a long wooden table with thick finish and a large metal bowl in its center. In the bowl there is a little pink water like chicken water. The chairs are all missing from the table. The china is locked up, and so is the wet bar. Exits are west and east.
t: go east
m: You go east into a hallway. There are pictures of the parents in their blazers on the walls. There is the house's front door, which is east. The living room is west, and another hallway southwest.
t: go southwest
m: This hallway contains one picture of the couple, one coat rack, one row of identical shoes, one bathroom door (left open), one stairwell leading up, one door beneath the stairwell, and one exit northwest.
t: touch wall
m: The wall is so cold it almost hurts. There is a post-it note on the wall: DON'T TOUCH THE WALLS.
t: go to bathroom; turn on shower
m: You are in the bathroom; Do what on the shower?
t: turn knob
m: You close the bathroom door.
t: turn shower knob
m: The shower begins to spray cold water. Your arm gets very wet!
t: open door; go to hallway
m: You are in the hallway. There is the stairwell leading up, the door beneath the stairwell, and exits northwest and northeast.
t: go up
m: You hover roughly three inches above the ground for a full four minutes. The air begins to feel thin.
t: climb stairwell
m: You are upstairs in the upstairs hallway, still hovering roughly three inches above the ground. There is a post-it note on the wall in front of you that explains the door to your west is the master bedroom, "TO WHICH YOU HAVE FULL PRIVILEGES," and the door to your east is the child's room. "DON'T KILL HIM, PLEASE."
t: go down; go east
m: You climb down off of the air and onto the floor, which now feels very warm. You try to open the child's room but the door is locked. There is a post-it note on the door but the post-it note is blank. A little boy's voice, from inside: "...Hello?"
t: Say Hello, I am here to watch you.
m: "You can't see me."
t: Say I can show you a neat trick if you open the door.
m: "What's the password?"t: Say Full privileges
m: The door unlocks itself. The little boy makes a startled sound; you hear little feet run across the room to a far corner. The blank post-it note says, "FULL PRIVILEGES."
t: Open door
m: You open the door. Inside you see a small pair of legs in Fantastic Four pajama pants standing with their toes in the northeast corner. In the northwest corner there is a race car bed and in the bed there is a little boy mostly hidden by his covers.
t: say Don't do anything weird because my boyfriend is downstairs in the shower
m: The legs jump. The little boy startles. "YOU HAVE A BOYFRIEND?"
t: say I have three and you can pretend you're one if you're good and don't be weird.
m: He says, "I won't be weird but I am unclear as to whether I would be the third boyfriend or a fourth, additional boyfriend." The legs start walking toward the door.
t: examine legs
m: They are the legs of a little boy who has been cut in half. You can't tell who did it just from looking but you have your suspicions. (I don't know what they are. You haven't told me.) You can see inside the guts of the legs when you look down on them. There are some bones as well but mostly guts, which look digestive. The legs' feet are small and bare. They are in Captain America pajamas with American Flag striped cuffs.
t: take legs
m: You pick them up by the ankles. They hang from your hands and struggle, dripping variously colored juices on the carpet. On the sole of the left foot is a post-it note that says, "This is for the left shoe." The little boy doesn't look happy about what you are doing but nor does he look very surprised.
t: give legs to boy
m: The boy pushes his blanket aside, showing you the point where, just above where his pelvis would begin, the legs have been removed from him. He says, "They will take me away if you let them," but he lets you place the legs on the bed.
t: say Where will the legs take you?
m: He says, "It's a surprise." The legs kneel on one knee and then push themselves up, begin to jump on the bed.
t: say Legs, take him.
m: The legs are jumping on the bed. "They don't have ears," says the little boy, quite sensibly. He looks smug.
t: watch boy; flaunt attached legs
m: The little boy's smug expression curdles. The legs begin to walk on his torso like he is a bean bag.
t: go west
m: You are in the hallway. Exits are east, west, and a stairwell.
t: go west
m: You are in the master bedroom. The walk-in closet is nothing but red blazers. There is a dresser also stuffed to bursting with the same. (Their cuffs and shoulder pads stick out here and there, where the drawers have not quite shut.) There are no sheets on the mattress or anything else. You can see the shape of a person outlined in sweat marks. There is a half bathroom. There is a desk with a desktop computer. There is a window looking out on the back yard. There is a phone. There is a television and a VCR. There is a bookshelf filled with tapes labeled according to a specific and incomprehensible system. (Or it is Spanish on the labels in black sharpie.) (You do not know Spanish; you have been cheating in that class.) (You have fantasies of being in another country where you do not speak the language that the men speak, which is why you take the class, and carefully forget every word you learn, every letter of the alphabet, every foreign name.) (So that you can go on a trip, someday, and people will think you are prepared.)
t: take blazer; wear blazer
m: You are wearing a fine red blazer. You are a realtor.
t: go east
m: You are in the hall. You are a realtor. Realty knowledge floods your mind. You know the difference between a cottage and a casita. You know the difference between a mansion and a McMansion.
t: go east, speaking nonsense spanish
m: You are in the child's bedroom trilling your Rs and lisping your sibilants like a maniac. You know about siding. You know about bricks. You know which neighborhoods are the black neighborhoods. You know the daily rate for a billboard outside the Outback Steakhouse.
t: examine boy
m: His legs are standing on his head and neck. He bears it with grim stoicism.
t: say The smell of your open wounds is lowering the resale value of this property.
m: "You sound like Jim and/or Susan."
t: say Can you control your legs?
m: "Sometimes for a little while if you put me on them but not very well."
t: put legs on boy
m: You put the legs on the boy. He sighs pointedly. They stand still for a moment, wiggling just a little bit from side to side as if testing out a new pair of shoes. In the middle of each wiggle the boy seems perfectly attached but when the wiggle changes directions the boy tilts a little and you can see the seam.
t: pick up boy; put down boy
m: When you pick him up he looks confused. When you put him down he looks like he might cry.
t: give blazer to boy
m: You can't remove the blazer. Its threads have woven themselves into your skin. You are a realtor. (You wonder why they had so many blazers if this is how it works.) (You imagine them, against your will, naked except for the blazers, standing side by side in a mirror, surprised to discover who is the boy and who is not the boy.)
t: take boy
m: You pull the boy off of his legs. He is in your arms. The legs do a small freedom jig.
t: go west
m: You go into the hall. The legs follow you. The boy says, "Which boyfriend am I now?"
t: say Your name is Renaldo and you are an olive presser.
m: "When you carry Renaldo's torso out of his room does it mean you are going to take him home?"
t: descend stairwell
m: You can't do that here! "Am I your first boyfriend or your second or your third or your fourth?"
t: say You are the first who I left after the olive pressing accident that separated you from your legs. But now I am back because I heard that a babysitter was planning to separate you from your arms as well.
m: The legs fall down the stairs. The boy says, "I am unhappy that your boyfriend is downstairs in the shower."
t: say Can you move around without your legs?
m: The little boy gives you a pained expression that seems to confirm that he more or less can.
t: drop boy
m: The boy falls down the stairs. He refuses to give you the pleasure of screaming.
t: laugh; descend stairwell
m: Do what on the stairwell?
t: go downstairs
m: You go down the stairs. The ground level of the house is flooded. The shower is still running. The water is up past your knees. The little boy floats on his back -- the legs, toes-down. Discolored water seeps from where they were severed.
t: go up
m: You are floating about three inches above the slowly rising water -- you have to crouch a little not to scrape your head on the ceiling. The air feels quite thin all the way up here.
t: take boy
m: You hold the boy with you above the water. You note that you can hear the water draining into the door beneath the stairs. The oven timer is about to go off. You have a sense about these things.
t: examine door
m: Which door?
t: examine door beneath stairs
m: The door beneath the stairs is a white door. But less white than that sounds. Black, if anything. The little boy is coughing. He says he wants down.
t: open door beneath stairs
m: Water rushes loudly through the door as you open it. The water carries the legs down into the basement. The little boy says "OH NO." There is a post-it note on the other side of the door that says "DO NOT OPEN ME."
t: go downstairs
m: You float down the stairs, just over the water. The little boy struggles all the way down. The oven timer is chiming. You go down the stairs for some time. You see fish in the water beneath you. They are salmon.
m: The salmon grow large in the waterfall that rushes down the stairs. The air is wet and hot. The water washes dirt from the walls and becomes swirled with mud but there is so much water. The little boy is begging you to stop. You see a distant light beneath you.
t: go downstairs
m: You are in the basement. There is a drain that drinks all the water. Salmon the size of the child pile on the drain and try to breathe and drown in air. The legs are in the fish pile, they look like a half-buried boy, they are kicking and flailing and kicking. There is a log on a little conveyer belt, and on the log there are buckles, and at the one end of the conveyer belt there is a giant buzzsaw, and there is a switch attached to all this by some wire, and this is all necessary realty equipment so you are unsurprised to find it here in this way. The little boy stops moving in your arms.
t: say Did it hurt?
m: The little boy says there's only one way to find out.
t: lie on conveyer belt
m: You sit down on the conveyer belt and say untruths into the little boy's ear. What are they?
t: Everything will become clear just after I have decided not to be afraid and just before the blade bites.
m: The little boy nods solemnly.
t: activate conveyer belt
m: You pull the switch. The little boy sits on the ground, on his open wound, very near to the blade, and watches you do this. He asks you, "Can I be next?"
t: say I'm not allowed to kill you.
m: You can't say that here.
t: say You have already done it and you can only do it once.
m: He reminds you of the scene in Walt Disney's Fantasia where Mickey chops the magic brooms in half so many times. The blade is buzzing very loud: you are facing away, you cannot see how close it is.
t: say I'll think about what you'll do next while I ride this conveyer belt.
m: Along what axis does it cut you?
t: the cut is parallel to the boy's cut
m: You lose your legs. They are wearing your favorite blue jeans. You are a torso wearing your blazer. How does it feel?
t: fuzzy and exciting but with the promise of oncoming regret
m: Your cell phone rings. The ring tone is your second boyfriend's ring tone. (What ring tone did you give him? Do you answer the phone?)
t: the sound of a pencil sharpening; yes
m: Your second boyfriend says, "Baby? Is it you or a realtor?"
t: say The part of me you're trying to speak with is now separate from this part of me.
m: "Then can you put me on the line with Miss Daisy?"
t: toss phone to boy
m: The boy catches the phone. "Hello?" (What does your boyfriend say?)
t: Are you her new boyfriend?
m: "I am her first boyfriend from the olive press."
t: go upstairs
m: You struggle to drag yourself upstairs. It takes you about ten minutes of effort to get to the bottom step. In this time the boy and your second boyfriend get to know each other, develop private jokes and an easy, intimate way of speaking to each other.
t: go to kitchen
m: Much, much later, you are in the kitchen. The water is all gone. The oven is leaking smoke from all its seams. The lasagna smells pretty good.
t: take lasagna
m: You have the lasagna.
t: eat lasagna
Bio: Tim Dicks enters dungeon, searches chest, uses shimmering potion, explodes. He mishandles more loot here.