What about a "does one thing" light switch? Actually got started on the idea this morning reading the Sunday funnies and worked it out when i should've been praying in church. Twenty-five minutes, 680 words, no bull.
It’s tough enough to sell a house in this market without kids messing it up. I’d had my real estate license almost ten years when the Kanjorsics’s house came on the market. Bank took it over and wanted to dump it quick after the family disappeared and defaulted on the mortgage. Figured they’d skipped out to that European place they came from.
Had several families tour the three-bedroom two-and-a-half bath split level with basement, but no offers. I felt lucky when the Hendersons came in with two kids in tow.
“Corporate relocation,” Kevin Henderson told me. He smiled a lot, looking forward to coming to Mendham with its good schools and all. And his wife added, “Kevin’s company is helping us—financially, which would be tough otherwise.”
They toured the place and didn’t even ask why the price was so attractive. The Missus just fell in love with all the closet space. Kids were thrilled to get new bedrooms. Mr. Henderson—I called him Kev to show how friendly we were in Mendham—was happy with a dry basement and clean furnace. Seemed knowledgeable, too, about all the fixtures, thermostats, water filtration system and so forth. Knew more about them than I did.
“What’s that switch for?” he asked, pointing to a light switch in the kitchen near the basement door.
I tried it and nothing happened. “Guess it’s switch for a basement light. Probably one of those extras the last owner put in and never used."
They closed in one month—fastest sale I’d ever made.Then I got a call two weeks later.
“It’s about that light switch,” Kev said. “Can you come over?”
I didn’t mind taking time to go make sure they were happy. Might be more corporate people coming in if I was super nice.
“It’s the switch,” he repeated when he got me over to the basement door. “My daughter said a neighbor kid told her it’s a demon switch. What d’you make of it?”
“I told you,” the little girl said. Kids pout a lot when their folks don’t believe them, so I tried to jolly here up a bit.
“What’s that about demons, young lady? We don’t allow them in Mendham.”
“It means I have to turn it on at night so the demons don’t come out.”
Lovely child. Wished I’d’ve had a little girl like that.
“Brianna,” Kevin said sternly, “there’s no such thing, and anyway there are lots of nice policemen to keep any bad guys away.”
“Don’t you know?” This kid wasn’t going to give up, and she pulled her kid brother in front of her. “Richie hasn’t come to your room at night to demand a drink of water or that he can’t sleep or wants another song.”
“Yes, dear,” Mrs. Henderson said coming in the kitchen. “He feels happy and secure here”
“Well,” Brianna said, “it’s ’cause I turn on the switch at night and keep the demons away. That way he can sleep at night.”
We all had a laugh at that and Kevin offered me a beer before I went back to the office.
I was having a coffee at Delia’s Café the next day when Mort Kaiser, the deputy sat down next to me at the counter.
“Remember the foreclosure you sold?" he asked. "Over on Maple Street?”
I nodded. “So?”
“So Mr. Henderson’s gone missing. Wife’s going crazy. She’s in the hospital under sedation. Kids are in the care of Youth and Family Services.”
“He found a girlfriend and gone to Costa Rica?” I laughed.
“Dunno about that,” Morty said. “Seems she was babbling about him locking the little girl in her room so she couldn’t turn some light switch.”
We were silent for a minute, and then I asked Morty, “What do you know about the Kanjorsics?”
“Immigrants. He was an engineer. Came from Serbia or somewhere. I asked him once about a sticker on the windshield of his Ford. It said something like ‘Lord, protect this car and its occupants from demons.’ I gave him a funny look and he told me, ‘Well, I’ve never had trouble with demons since I put up the sticker.’”
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