Adventures in Paranormal Babysitting

No one will ever mistake me for Elisabeth Shue, but on occasion I will re-open the Modern Philosopher Babysitting/House Sitting Service for the right customer.  I get along fairly well with kids, and empty houses really don’t pose that much of a threat (unless it’s mine and it’s time to clean it!)

This being Maine, of course, any gig of this nature is bound to come with a twist.  As I’ve already established, my attic is occupied (aka haunted) by three generations of ghosts, who have been wrongfully classified as Zombies (why do I always feel the need to capitalize that word???) by the Federal Government.  If I’ve got that in my attic, you can only imagine (go ahead, give it a shot…) what my neighbors might have inside their homes.

I really like my neighbors.  They are great people, incredibly friendly, and always looking to help when this City Boy can’t figure out how to fix something.  I’m happy to do them a favor because they’re always helping me.  Too bad I didn’t start this blog over the summer because I could’ve regaled you (frightened you) with tales of our failed attempts to re-seed my front lawn (let’s just say there are things in Maine that will destroy grass forever: UFO anti-freeze, demon vomit, witch boogers, and cat pee are the ones that jump to mind).  I’m veering off on a tangent here, but my point is, my neighbors are the kind of people that helped me replant the front lawn.  So when they ask for a favor, I’m happy to do it.

Regardless of what might live in their house.

Whenever my neighbors ask me to house sit, I agree without hesitation.  Of course, after the first time I provided that service, I think they were afraid to ask me again.  It took them months before they even dared, but when they did, I answered in the affirmative.  But only after I made some changes to my homeowner’s insurance.

You see, my neighbors have a monster living under their bed.  Vlakawertiakgho, or Vlak as he prefers to be called (and thank goodness for that because that full name and my Brooklyn accent were NOT a good mix!), has been living on that piece of land long before it was ever settled by the white man.  He is quite civil, rarely craves human flesh any longer, and really enjoys playing cards (which can be handy when there’s a blizzard, the lights go out, and I’m the only thing in the house to eat and I need to keep Vlak distracted from how hungry he is!).

Vlak doesn’t do change well.  He cannot sleep if there’s no one in the bed above him (hence my neighbors’ needing a house sitter), but I’m not a big fan of sleeping in a strange bed when my very familiar, very comfy bed is just across the street.  Needless to say, that first weekend did not go well.

Over time, I have won the big, hairy, scary guy’s trust.  Sure, there was a lot of damage done to both the house and my psyche at first, but contractors took care of the first problem and a team of therapists is making excellent (so they say) progress on the second.  Vlak has found that he really enjoys the darkness under my bed, and will often ask if he can sleep over even when my neighbors are home.  There’s no way I can look into those three, huge, slightly crossed, orange eyes and say “No”.

Interestingly, the monster under my neighbors’ bed has really bonded with my cat.  Banky (what card carrying Modern Philosopher wouldn’t jump at the chance to name his cat after a character from the Kevin Smith universe???) is a cranky black cat, who really only likes me, long naps, and quiet.  Somehow, Banky has found a place in his little kitty heart for an eight foot tall, spiked-backed monster covered in blue and purple hair.  It’s actually kind of mesmerizing to watch them groom themselves together.

Vlak has taught me that change can be good, that I don’t always have to worry about things that go bump in the night (“bump, shuffle, shuffle”…now that’s an entirely different story), and that monster pee, though bad for my rugs, actually smells like Christmas.

So, Modern Philosophers, next time your neighbor asks you for a favor, do it.  You never know what you might learn (like some really cool, new card games) or how wonderful it might feel to just lend a helping hand.

After all, they are your neighbors, and there’s a good chance they are filming your every move and know where you keep the spare key.  Why risk upsetting them?

If you’re in Maine and ever need a house sitter, contact me here at the blog…



About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
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48 Responses to Adventures in Paranormal Babysitting

  1. Zombie should ALWAYS be capitalized, and when following Zombie with the word ‘always’ in the same sentence, apparently it must be in all caps. Banky! Love it. ^_^

  2. janine says:

    I’m a little bit afraid to go to bed tonight! 🙂 No wonder the cat freaks out in the middle of the night sometimes!

    • Why are you pretending to not know about the monster who lives under your bed? It’s okay to admit it here. It’s a safe place. My followers should get to know my sweet across the street neighbor. 😀

  3. Austin says:

    Reblogged this on The Return of the Modern Philosopher and commented:

    Another one from the archives. In this one, I talk about keeping an eye on the Monster that lives under my neighbors’ bed when they go on vacation. Apparently Monsters get lonely, too…

  4. PigLove says:

    Note to self – have mommy check under my toddler bed before she tucks me in tonight. XOXO – Bacon

  5. amb says:

    YAY for the Kevin Smith reference! 🙂

  6. Janine says:

    Feel free to take Vlak anytime!!! I liked the reference to videoing your every move and your spare key too. Good thing your other neighbors don’t read your blog!

    • Austin says:

      Vlak is your monster. I’m just happy to look after him for you while you’re on vacation. I’m well aware that my other neighbors don’t read my blog, hence those comments. Now get to work making Harry Potter our next hockey coach! 🙂

  7. List of X says:

    I used to sleep on the mattress put on the mattress base that had no bedposts or legs of any kind. So the monster had to move out.

    • Austin says:

      I think I’m going to address issues just like this one on the blog tonight. Thanks for helping to expand the idea I’ve been outlining in my head all day… 🙂

  8. Sonya says:

    Seriously, every time I come on your site I think wait a minute is this Elizabeth Shue? Thank you for clearing that up for me! HEHE well it’s that time of year again, when people send out the chain letter that is the blog award nomination(s) and since I got one and I love your stuff (and that weird ass alien under the bed) I have nominated you! Do a happy dance my friend I didn’t even make it to like 15 blogs because there are sooo few I believe deserve this chain-letter that I have decided to make more important than it is 🙂

  9. LucyJartz says:

    I can’t ever own a home with open back steps (monster’s love to hide under them). My current steps are solid concrete.

  10. “Pee that smells like christmas?” I’ve heard it all now!

  11. ksbeth says:

    the thing that scared me more than anything in the entire poltergeist film was far and away that horrible creepy clown toy that found it’s way under the bed.

  12. queenlorene says:

    Wow, got the downtrodden Under the Bed Monsters on the brain this week! I think you are feeling conflicted about your decision not to adopt one. That, or you just don’t want to clean your bathrooms. My neighbor doesn’t film me, they use binoculars. How do I know? They are my parents, and I see the things when I go over! 🙂 Weird how comments on two of your posts are cropping up in another….either I am simpleminded or obsessed with one thing right now.

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