The Housing Crisis of Spooky Season

Michael grabbed a handful of Halloween candy from the bowl on the realtor’s desk while she was out of the room. He popped a tootsie roll in his mouth just in time because the realtor walked in saying, “I think I’ve got just the thing for you.” 

Spooked by the sudden entrance, Michael shot the tootsie roll into the realtor’s fish tank. It torpedoed right to the bottom. 

The realtor, a woman in a power suit, reached out to shake hands, with a puzzled look on her face. “Mr. Scott, I’m Carol, the realtor whose been assigned to you. Did you . . . just spit a tootsie roll in my fish tank?”

Michael, hunched over, stared at the tootsie roll lying at the bottom. “You know, tootsie rolls are very nutritious for goldfish.”

“Why’d you spit it in the fish tank, Mr. Scott?” 

“Please call me Michael. And you know, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” 

Carol sat down in her office chair and directed Michael to take the seat across from her. “I’m sure you know that it’s a seller’s market right now, which unfortunately means that the options are maybe not what you had in mind, but—”

“I just love the way you’ve decorated your office. The way you’re honoring monsters.”

Carol purses her lips. “Do you want to see the houses I came up with?”

“Oh yes! Just a moment. DWIGHT!”

A man dressed as the Joker rose from behind the fish tank as Carol screamed. “Hello Carol . . . If that’s your real name.”

Bewildered, Carol asked Michael, “Who is this?”

Michael put his arm around Dwight’s shoulder. “This . . . is your worst nightmare.”

Carol bowed her head and mumbled, “It’s starting to feel that way.”

Dwight took a seat next to Michael, stared Carol down and said, “Is it only female realtors in the building?”


Turning to Michael, Dwight whispered, “Why did you get a female when you could have gotten someone else?”

“They don’t let you pick. She was assigned to me.”

Exasperated, Carol yelled, “I can hear you! Do you want to look at houses, or not?”

Michael sat up straight in his chair. “Yes, I want to look at houses.”

“Great. As I was saying, the options are not great this time of year and some of the living situations would take some getting use to. The first house is called Monster House.”

Michael smiled. “I mean, I love a house with a catchy name. And a whole folklore around it.”

“Well, I wouldn’t call it folklore. The house is alive and it might try to eat you.” 

Michael clapped his hands together. “What else do you have for me?”

“How do you feel about a cottage?”

“Ooo that sounds very quaint.”

Carol smiled. “Here’s a picture of the listing. The Sanderson House.”

Dwight leaned in to look. “Are those boards across the windows?”


Michael asked, “Bad neighborhood? I really don’t like crime. And punishment.”

“No, nothing like that. It’s just that three witch sisters used to live there and there’s this candle in there that can bring them back to life . . . according to legend. They try to keep virgins out of the house.”

Michael smiled from ear to ear. “Well I’d be the perfect person to live there then.”

Carol closed Michael’s commentary down as quickly as possible. “This one is definitely a bit of a fixer-upper. It was built in 1691. And it’s in Salem.” 

Catching on, Dwight said, “Oh . . . Salem witches lived in the house. You don’t want that one Michael. It’s surely cursed.”

Exhaling as loud as humanly possible Michael asked to see the next one. Carol pushed the printout of the listing across the table. It was a white mansion on expansive property.

Michael looked excited. “ A whole mansion? All to myself?”

Carol answered, “If you call living alongside 999 ghosts, alone . . . sure.”

Dwight yelled, “What is this? My friend came to you searching for a humble abode and all you give him are . . . monstrosities for houses. Quite literally in one case. Who let you be a realtor?”

Michael said, “Sit down, Dwight. You have anything else?”


“Where’d the printouts of the listings go?”

“I gave it to you—”

Michael started chuckling. And then crying because he was laughing so hard. 

Carol asked, “What’s so funny?”

“That’s what she said.” He continued laughing for a solid five minutes. Carol left the room. When he composed himself he asked Dwight where she had gone.

“She left.”

“She did? Well, whatever. I have to say she did not do a very good job of talking up these properties.” 

Michael walked to the fish tank, reached his arm to the bottom, pulled out the tootsie roll, and chewed on his favorite candy.

Elizabeth Bates is a Best of the Net and Pushcart-nominated writer living in Washington state with her family. She is the author of poetry chapbook, Mosaics & Mirages. Twitter: @ElizabethKBates

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