Guide to Moral Living in Examples: Cellar Door

Kevin refused to go near, through or have anything to do with the cellar door in his house. In fact, he hated the principle of cellars. They were dark, dank, buried places. The sort of place that a potato might enjoy, and Kevin hated potatoes.

When he'd been house hunting, he told his agent that he would not consider a house with a cellar. His agent respected those wishes, until one day Kevin received a phone call.

"Kevin, I found a great place. It is at the lower end of your price range, it has loads of room, and a fantastic yard."

"Terrific!" Kevin had said.

"Only one downside," the agent said, "it has a basement."

"Nope," Kevin had replied.

After much begging, pleading, cajoling and reduction of rates, the real estate agent showed the property to Kevin. The only reason that he'd changed his mind about the basement was because there was nothing in it. The water heater, the washer and dryer, a utility sink, they were all upstairs. He'd bought the place. He'd personally drywalled over the door to the basement, and hired an earth mover to push dirt against the windows to the basement. Kevin told all of his friends that he'd bought a slab house.

Then, at a wonderful party, somebody began knocking on the drywall.

"Stop that," Kevin said to Harriet, who stood near the place where he'd drywalled over the door.

"Stop what?" Harriet asked. Kevin saw that she held a wine glass in one hand and a plate of carrots in the other.

The knock came again, more insistent.

Harriet turned to look at the drywall.

"What is that? Do you have mice?"

"No mice in here," Kevin said, "that's something that happens to houses with cellars."

The drywall cracked and the old door pushed through it. A ghost emerged from the basement.

"Bugger all, who're you?" asked the ghost.

Harriet screamed and sloshed her glass of wine on the ghost. It created a blob of goo on the ghost's face and revealed that the ghost was a man covered in drywall dust.

"A basement man! Kill him!" Kevin said, and stabbed the man with a kitchen knife.

"Why are you in my house?" the man said. He looked down at the stab wound, and then back up at Kevin. He punched Kevin in the nose. Kevin staggered backwards and clutched at his face. Blood streamed down the front of his shirt.

"You're in my house!" Kevin said.

"This is my house! I bought it and I was buried here, you son of a bitch, and now you bring all of these...tasty...delicious...blood-filled..." the man said, trailing off and biting Harriet on the neck. Her eyes rolled back in her head, and then when the man pulled away, Harriet's teeth had become unnecessarily pointy.

"As I was saying, this is in every way my house. I even have a coffin in the cellar," the vampire said.

"Go fuck yourself and your cellar," Kevin said. "That's why I drywalled over it. The cellar shouldn't even be considered part of a house. That's like the worms crawling around in the dirt saying that they own the place."

"Funny, I've felt the same way about the upper portions of the house."

"I have an idea," said Kevin.

"As do I," the vampire replied.

Kevin kicked a leg out from the table nearby and threw it into the vampire's heart.

"Hiss!" the vampire said, not hissing at all, before turning into a pile of ash.

"Now, who's handy with drywall?" Kevin asked.

"Or with exorcisms?" said the ghost of the vampire that had materialized over his corpse ash. "Nobody? Good. Because I am going to haunt the shit out of this squatter right here, and now that I'm a ghost, I don't have to stay in the cellar."

The Moral: the mark of a successful system of cohabitation is one that does not involve jagged pieces of furniture.

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