"The places in your house you never visit"

    I would have gone to the attic but the ghoul was in a bad mood and didn’t want company. Too bad. There’s nothing up there except the air conditioning unit, which he got sick of years ago. Maybe he didn’t want company because he was so used to not having any. Who knows? All he ever did was howl anyway.

    The crawl space under the kitchen was a better adventure: no ghoul, plenty of junk to look at. Perfect. We’d lived in this house for almost seven years but I hardly ever came down here. I figured it was time.

    It was pretty funny to recreate the move-in mentality. We’ll just put the extra cans of paint in here, in case we ever need them later. Oh, and the extra linoleum tiles for the basement floor, too. Meanwhile, three years had gone by before my mother had gotten sick of the beige paint and the brown tile and poof! they turned pomegranate red and forest green, respectively. I sat in the crawlspace looking at the cans filled to the brim with useless beige, Benjamin Moore, lead-free (sheesh!) paint. I looked at them and chuckled. I could hear the tat-a-tat of my mother’s feet padding around the kitchen floor, the underside of which was less than a foot above my head. If you concentrate, sometimes you can figure out what she’s listening to.

    There was plenty more in here. For example, my five-year-old self would’ve wanted to build a fort out of all the boxes. They were strewn here, there, and everywhere across the dusty concrete floor. Apparently the movers hadn’t even bothered crawling in with the boxes. They must’ve just hoisted them to the door and slid them in one by one as far as friction would allow. Fragile, the wrinkled cardboard said. Handle with care. Or not at all. That’s probably how all my Little League trophies got busted. Nice going, fellas.

    I looked around at the walls and saw (with a certain satisfaction, I might add) that there was at least one part of the house that did have some insulation. Stay out of my room during the winter. You’d be better off down here. Trust me.

    My great-grandmother’s disassembled bed frame sprawled in the farthest corner like a pile of woodchips. I remembered when it was assembled and in use back in the day. There was a carved, wooden pineapple at the top of each corner. When I was a little kid, one of my uncles had told me they were real; a few years later I’d finally learned that pineapples didn’t actually taste like the hospice nurse’s latex gloves. Now the luau had been over for almost fifteen years. I looked at the bed frame fondly. There was another box sitting next to it that I could only assume contained my great-grandmother. I wouldn’t open that if I were you.

    All these treasures were visible by the yellow light of the single bulb, which was screwed audaciously and without a fixture into one of the rafters directly overhead. I wouldn’t say it was good reading light, per se, but I would say that it made my girlfriend’s cleavage even more appealing than usual, as if that were even possible.


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