Saturday, November 7, 2009

When Nobody's Home: Fifteen Baby-Sitting Tales of Terror (Part One)

Book Description:

Are you afraid to baby-sit? Meet Sasha. She's terrified to spend the night in someone else's house. But now she's taken a job baby-sitting for seven year old twins who are about to have a horrifying accident... Are you a snooping baby-sitter like June? She never thinks twice about going through other people's stuff. But now June's uncovered a story with a deadly ending. It's about a snooping baby-sitter and it's about to come true... Here is a collection of fifteen terrifying stories. Stories about baby-sitting and the awful things that happen when nobody's home...

My Description:

#1 - New Sitter

On Monday morning, Mom and Dad tell their kids that the old hag who usually baby-sits them won't be coming over this Friday night.

What a loss.

The kids think that this is all a joke and their usual baby-sitter will show up dressed as someone else. Because that makes so much sense. When Friday rolls around, they're surprised to see a different baby-sitter after all. The parents leave and the kiddies size up their new guard: she's wearing all black and a pair of steel-tipped boots and has her long hair hanging in her face like that creepy chick from The Ring.

Ring girl silently makes her way over to the fireplace where she karate chops some kindling to start a fire. The kids are amazed at her mad kung-fu skills and she tells them "You saw something of a discipline so strict that I am forbidden to even utter its name. It requires that one spend years watching the masters and thinking, before you attempt anything with your own body. My name is Hane and I am a housemate of your big sister at UC Berkeley. Your sister thinks I am something of an expert on baby-sitting." I doubt it. She lays down on the couch and says she needs a little nap. That's an "expert" for you. While she snoozes, the kids choose to read a folder full of baby-sitter stories that Hane(s) just happened to bring along...

Conclusion? Hane makes me think of underwear.

#2 - The Snooping Sitter

June is eating an apple and snooping around the house of the people she's sitting for. Nice. She sits down at a desk and begins sifting through papers. She stops when she reaches a page that has the words "Have you heard the one about the snooping baby-sitter?" at the top. It's a little story that ends with the stupid sitter getting her head cut off by a guillotine. A guillotine she found in the closet. Where the hell is she? Medieval France? Anyway, June doesn't view this story as a bad omen or anything and it sure doesn't prevent her from snooping through every room in the house including the bathroom: "The bathroom came next with its storehouse of secrets: medications and evidence of private practices." Private practices? I'm not even going there. She probably digs through the trashcans, too. GAG.

June's next stop is the mommy's closet. Her wardrobe is dull and outdated so June quickly loses interest (God forbid). She makes her way to the hall closet where she gets what we all knew was coming to her: "From the corner of her eye, she saw the blade as it fell, not a shining blade at all. The story lied; this one was all rusty, dark with dried blood."

Conclusion? Who the hell keeps a guillotine in their closet?!?

#3 - Doglicks

Yes, that's really the title; I double checked. Anyway, Sasha is a girl who absolutely loathes even the thought of baby-sitting so naturally it makes perfect sense that she should be in a book all about baby-sitters. *sigh* She turns down job after job because she's terrified of being alone in someone else's house. Actually, she doesn't like being in other people's houses period, especially after sunset. WHY? Has she only been in the homes of murderers (i.e. Chez Leatherface) etc. thus traumatizing her for life? Oh well. It doesn't matter anyway because Sasha has finally agreed to a baby-sitting job because the family has a golden retriever and she loves dogs. (Ok, I just figured out exactly what this story is about which sucks--I've already heard this one about 538375657 times.)

Friday evening arrives and Sasha is surprised to find that baby-sitting isn't all that bad. The Thompson twins are good kids and after watching a few movies with them, she puts them to bed. She decides to go to bed, too (she's staying the weekend) and heads for the guest room. Any time she feels nervous, she throws her hand over the side of the bed so the dog will lick it, comforting her before getting back to grooming his private parts. Ew.

Saturday afternoon consists of nothing but the twins playing in the rain with the dog. They come home, take warm showers, and listen to Sasha curse the heavens because the shower won't stop dripping. They all spend the rest of the evening listening to music and playing games. Even though everything is cool, Sasha can't wait for the weekend to end because she's so nervous. Thankfully, she has the filthy mutt for company (seriously, after a day in the rain and mud, that thing has gotta be stinking up the place). After the twins go to bed, Sasha attempts to sleep, but the dripping noise is keeping her awake. For some reason, this too makes her nervous (doctor, get this girl some Ativan STAT) but after Butt Mutt licks her fingers, she feels better and falls asleep.

The next morning before getting out of bed, Sasha lets the dog lick her hand a few more times. She realizes that the dripping hasn't stopped so she heads for the bathroom. She remembers leaving the door open so when she sees it closed, she assumes one of the twins is inside. NOOO! She knocks before opening the door, but there was really no reason to: "She saw, hanging in the shower, the bodies of the Thompson twins, the body of their large reassuring dog, and more." You've got brass ones, Judith Gorog. The kids AND the dog?!?! Oh, and this quaint message scrawled in blood on the bathroom tiles: "Know, Sasha! Not only a dog can lick your hand in the night."

Conclusion? Even though I've heard versions of this many times before, it never gets old. Sasha sucks, though. Who gets creeped out by a leaky faucet?!

#4 - A Small Child and A Large Sitter

Would you like fries with that? No? Fine, let's get on with this GEM. Caroline Louise Emily Beth (that's a mouthful) is a frail 7 year old and her new baby-sitter is a fat chick who rides up on a big black bicycle (she'll upgrade to a Harley in a few years). These two are both freaks. Caroline acts like a robot and Big Bertha (we never learn her real name) is a cave woman who grunts one word at a time. She offers to play a few board games with Caroline, but Caroline decides to play alone with Legos instead. Caroline doesn't get to play long before Bertha says it's time for bed. Caroline asks if she can finish building something, but Bertha says hell no: "In my country, we strap into their beds at night those wicked, stubborn, nasty little girls who refuse to go to bed at the time they are ordered!" Go back to Narnia and leave the child alone! Caroline is hardly wicked or stubborn. In fact, she's freakishly polite and well-behaved. Bertha is such a sack of crap.

Caroline goes to bed and Bertha settles on the couch to watch re-runs of Dick Van Dyke. Caroline doesn't fall asleep, though. Instead, she creeps out of her room, grabs a glass, and goes outside to fill it with slimy yellow slugs. She creeps into the living room to place them one by one in the sleeping sitter's hair. A few are places on the handlebars of Bertha's bike and the very last one goes in her left ear. Caroline goes back to bed with a smile and never sees Bertha again.

Conclusion? I love REVENGE! Those slugs got a shitty deal, though.

#5 - Lupe and the Forgetful Family

Lupe is worn out, man--she's been working three jobs over the summer. So she's not that happy when her friend asks her to baby-sit for the forgetful people. The friend was supposed to, but she "accidentally" booked another job for the same night and begged Lupe to cover for her. Lupe takes the job and we find out what the family neglected to tell her: they recently got a 9 foot python (yeah, that's what you want around your kids) that likes to take naps while wrapped around a human being and loves peaches. A snake eating peaches. Whatever you say. The little kid she's sitting for left the door open to the room the python normally stays in so who knows where the thing is hiding. The boy carries a bowl full of peaches around the whole house searching for the snake. Lupe finds this strange, but doesn't say anything. Why would she? After all, no-one mentioned the giant snake slithering in the corners! *sigh* I don't see how these fools forgot about a damn python. In a while, she puts the boy to bed and falls asleep in front of the TV with a peach in her hand. She wakes to find the python wrapped around her, eating the peach.

Conclusion? Dullsville. Although if I woke up with a big ass snake wrapped around me, I'd be peeing my pants.

#6 - Poppy

Poppy recently quit school (stay in school, kids) and is now searching for a job. She finally finds someone who needs a sitter desperately--Mr. Banner's wife passed away not long ago and he needs someone to watch his four small children. So on Monday afternoon, Poppy finds herself at the Banner home. Let me just say right now that the children are never mentioned again. Seriously. Poppy is an incredibly shitty baby-sitter who does nothing the entire time but watch TV. She only gets up to make herself a peanut butter sandwich and get a drink of water (she notices every sink in the house smells like urine. GROSS). The house is a total disaster area, but Poppy sure as hell won't clean it because Mr. Banner is too much of a tightwad to give her more money. So he decides to date her and ask her to marry him, his logic being that if she is his wife, he won't have to pay her at all. My skin is crawling. Seriously, this is sick. And the bastard actually manages to convince Poppy to marry him!

As I mentioned before, Dad is a total tightwad in addition to being a worthless pervert. He isn't gonna shell out a dime for Poppy's wedding ring. Instead, he's gonna dig up his dead wife and take HER wedding ring. Are you serious? This guy is a piece of work. He and Poppy drive up to the cemetery one night, dig up the grave, and find that they can't get the ring off the woman's cold dead finger. Eventually, they use their shovel to chop the finger off and as they're admiring the ring, the corpse comes alive and says "Lovely, isn't it?" Then she drags the two creeps down into the netherworld.

Conclusion? The ending was good, but not good enough to make up for all the disgusting shit that took place before it.

#7 - Life as a 900 Number

Say WHAT? Me thinks someone forgot that this is a book for KIDS. You're disturbing me, Judith. Anyway, Bloke (yes, the poor child's parents named him BLOKE.) is a problem child: "He was sweaty, crafty, an outrageous liar, and he very much needed to be baby-sat." What the hell does being sweaty have to do with anything? I'm a little sweaty right now. Does that mean I'm a devious delinquent? Anyway, it's difficult for Bloke's parents to get a sitter because he's such trouble. One of his favorite things to do while he his parents are away is call 900 numbers, rack up the charges, and blame the baby-sitter for it which is why they have no baby-sitter to call when they really need one--they've sent most of them away because they think they're all perverts. The foolish parents never once believed it was Bloke making the calls because they refuse to buy that their kid is a little freaky.

The parents finally find a guy (a male sitter. SHOCK!) who is willing to watch Bloke while they hob nob at the opera. After they leave, Bloke bombards the guy with questions before jogging upstairs to make his 900 calls. He comes down for dinner and goes back up after dinner while the sitter studies. "Upstairs, Bloke carried his parents' telephone into his room. There he dialed the last number on his list, the number that promised to satisfy any desire, any compulsion." That is just wrong on so many levels. It gets worse: "Bloke's veins burst into flame, his muscles contorted in agony. Bloke could not release the receiver. His cry for help strangled before it reached his lips." What. The. Hell. Later, his parents find him dead, his hand still clutching the phone...the phone that is still connected to the 900 number racking up charges...

Conclusion? I'm completely speechless.

Well, that was sufficiently surreal and painful, among other things. To be continued...

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