the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

The Housing Market

(the following is written after watching a commercial for a horror movie on TV. I was taking Nyquil)

A young couple is being shown a three bedroom home in Long Island by a realtor.

YOUNG WOMAN: I love it. The kitchen is so cozy. And look, Ben, a breakfast nook.

YOUNG MAN: (to realtor) Are you sure the price is only $150,000. In such a nice neighborhood? Is this a foreclosure?

REALTOR: Oh, no. Absolutely not.

YOUNG WOMAN: It’s the economy, Ben. Housing prices have been going down.

YOUNG MAN: But $150,000?

REALTOR: There are some other factors.

YOUNG MAN: I knew it! It sounded too good to be true. Is there a problem withe the plumbing, because…

REALTOR: No, no, no…I didn’t mean that. It just that before it was renovated in 1965, this house used to be a funeral parlor.

YOUNG MAN: Oh, that’s fine. Isn’t it honey?

YOUNG WOMAN: Absolutely. That’s why the living room is so large. That must be where all the coffins were stored!

REALTOR: Exactly. It’s a beautiful room. Difficult to find wood paneling like that. The first family that lived here after the renovation, the Kensingtons, used to have gala Christmas celebrations in here, with sparkling lights and eggnog, and a beautiful tree.

YOUNG WOMAN: How lovely!

REALTOR: Sadly, the entire family was massacred by a roving band of escaped mental patients.

YOUNG MAN: Hmmm, that doesn’t sound very good…

REALTOR: Oh, don’t worry. The mental patients were captured and returned to the institution.

YOUNG WOMAN: You see, Sweetie. You worry over nothing! (to realtor) Can we see the bedrooms?

REALTOR: Of course.

They climb the creaky stairs to the master bedroom.

REALTOR: Don’t mind the blood stains on the walls. They’ll be cleaned off by next week.

YOUNG MAN: What happened? Why are there so many blood stains?

REALTOR: Well, this is going to sound silly, and rather unimportant, but many years ago, a group of women were burned at the stake as witches on this exact spot, and past owners sometimes complained of ghosts and evil spirts. But I don’t believe in ghosts or evil spirits, do you?

YOUNG WOMAN: Of course not. we’re professionals. We’re both web designers!

YOUNG MAN: You still haven’t explained the blood stains on the walls…

REALTOR: Oh, it’s the last owner. A young guy. A college kid with wealthy parents. He shared the place with some roommates. Lots of girls and drinking and sex, until each was killed in some grisly manner. It was a very odd coincidence.

YOUNG MAN: The owner was killed too?

REALTOR: Oh no, he committed suicide by impaling himself on the kitchen chandelier.

YOUNG MAN: That sounds a little uh, drama queen-ish.

REALTOR: Eh, you know, college kids. Sowing their wild oats. I was pretty wild myself back in Alabama State before I settled down with the little lady. Go Crimsons!

YOUNG MAN: (turning to his wife) Honey, are you sure this is the right house for us?

REALTOR: (pulling an envelope from his pocket) Oh yeah, the last owner left this envelope for “The Next Owner: Must Open Immediately.” But is it really necessary to read the letter? I think this place is perfect for the two of you. Why be bothered by anything right now that will ruin the moment?

YOUNG WOMAN: He’s right, Ben. I love it. So much room. We can have wonderful dinner parties in here with the Axelrods! We can celebrate Rob Axelrod’s early release from prison for that manslaughter charge!

YOUNG MAN: OK, then I guess we are interested!

REALTOR: And the envelope?

YOUNG MAN: Who needs to read it?! Rip it up! Let’s start fresh!

The Young Couple kisses as the realtor starts the paperwork.


  1. always home and uncool

    But is it in a good school district?

  2. Caron

    We really need better safeguards for those kitchen chandeliers. For people with power over gravity, they are so often the means by which they end their lives.

  3. Sunny

    Sound more like: Rip it up! Let’s mortify flesh!
    Nice commercial, though

  4. better safe than sorry

    i thought this was going somewhere else, as in the “envelope” for the oscars.

  5. Laura

    Some people will do anything for real estate in NYC.

  6. SciFi Dad

    For the record, it’s the Alabama Crimson Tide, and the Alabama State Hornets.

    Therefore, I conclude that the realtor is not who he claims to be, and is in fact a transvestite axe murderer. The letter inside was an invitation to an orgy.

  7. Rhea

    NO JOKE! These are the kinds real estate transactions we are going to be seeing more of. In my neighborhood there is a former funeral home that is now condos. Funny, the place sees a lot of turnover with new For Sale signs out front every few months.

  8. Finn

    What was this commercial you saw?

    And SciFi Dad stole my comment about the Tide. And it would be “Roll Tide!” not “Go Crimsons!”.

  9. churlita

    hmmmm. It sounds like a nice place. My grandmother was a mortician and my dad’s family all lived above the funeral home. That part wouldn’t bother me a bit.

  10. Janna

    You forgot the part where the house is built on sacred burial grounds, but don’t worry, they relocated all of the bodies.

  11. AnnieH

    Whatever you do–Don’t. Go. Down. The. Basement. Especially with the short white nighty on and no shoes. That never bodes well for anyone.

  12. lindsey

    sounds more like a lost episode! have been enjoying your blog!

  13. dan

    the “crimson tide” always sounded to me like the school took a bloodbath as its mascot. then again, my school mascot was named after a non-violent religious sect known for uncontrollable tremors. No joke.

    And I rented that house last summer. You know what I did.

  14. Colleen - Mommy Always Wins

    Whew. That means there’s hope for selling OUR house.

    Thanks. I needed that!

  15. teahouseblossom what was in the envelope?

  16. John

    Web designers aren’t professionals. We’re quasi professionals. Smart enough to be marginally thought of as “white collar,” and dumb enough to buy a house like this.

    You’re a crack-up Neilochka. : )

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