Last week the gremlins were really active. Each night when I got home the house was messier than the last. I could ignore the piles of clothes on the floor and the newspapers spread all over the living room, but the dirty dishes were starting to smell. By Friday I had had enough. I had to do something so I filled the sink with hot soapy water and pushed a bag of cat food off a chair to sit and think. Staring at the sampler on the wall usually helped me focus but this time the dusty frame was distracting. While I was trying to think, Brutus wandered into the kitchen and rubbed his chin against the cat food bag, purring in anticipation. He sat down by his bowl, but I didn’t get up.
“You’re part of the problem. What self-respecting cat lets gremlins play in his domain?”
He just purred louder. When he was finally convinced that he wasn’t going to get any food he left the room and I got up too. I had a book of potions somewhere in this mess. I found it under a pile of shoes in my bedroom and sat down on the unmade bed. I thumbed through the book until I found one entitled “To make the invisible visible.” That wasn’t quite right because I had always been able to see things other people couldn’t, but these gremlins were pretty good at hiding. I’d seen one once out of the corner of my eye, but it had disappeared when I turned my head. I decided to try it. If I could see them I could order them out of the house.
It was a pretty simple potion. I didn’t have to look for things like eye of newt or wait for midnight under a full moon. My silver bowl was in the glass case my mother had left me and I found all the other ingredients in the pantry. After I stirred it with a spoon I pulled out of the soapy water, I stared at it for a minute. Usually I hold my nose while I drink potions so I can’t taste them. But this was one didn’t smell bad so I took a deep breath and took a big gulp. It was so bitter I spit it out into the sink started coughing. My eyes started watering and needless to say I didn’t see any gremlins. So I took a good book to bed and hoped I’d think of something else in the morning.
About midnight I rolled over to turn off the light and saw something move in the corner where I had thrown my backpack. I couldn’t really see anything but started talking immediately before it could disappear.
“What are you doing in my house? I’m tired of the mess you keep making. I want all you gremlins to get out.”
Whatever it was stayed in the corner while I ranted, and I almost felt stupid, like I was talking to my backpack. But then I heard a loud thump and a faint vibration. I crawled across the bed to try to hear better.
“Not gremlin. Brownie. Tired of mess? How do you think I feel? A dozen brownies couldn’t pick up after you. You want me out of your house? Happy to oblige. Goodbye.”
“Wait,” I called. “I’m sorry I called you a gremlin. Just because I can see things doesn’t mean I know what they are. What do you mean you pick up after me? I’m not the problem.”
While I tried to see who had been talking, Brutus came out of the corner and jumped on the bed.
“Well, what did you see, Useless? Did you scare him away?”
“Oh well.” I scooped him up and headed for the kitchen. “Let’s have a bowl of ice cream, if I can find a clean bowl.”
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