Simple Pleasures

Hidden Treasures

"Hello! The Johnsons, right? Yes, you must be Bob. And Ellen. Welcome! I’m Phil, and I’ll be showing you two the today. Right this way to the front door. Ellen, please watch your step on the bricks here.”

Through the front door the three stepped into the front hall which opened into a living room on the right and a staircase to the left. A photogenic family plastered the walls. A man and a woman still young enough to feel weird about being called middle aged. Two sons and a daughter--sometimes toddlers, sometimes kids, sometimes teenagers, smiling less with age--at the focal point of every picture.

“What a cute family,” Ellen remarked. Bob was already scanning the living room for a suitable furniture rearrangement.

“I’m sorry, Bob. It’s not my rule, but the owners asked me to insist on keeping shoes and coats in the closet,” Phil said weakly, reaching out with one and a half arms. Bob grumbled what Phil decided was an apology and complied, and Phil hung his coat next to Ellen’s. Phil saw Bob begin to crane his neck up the staircase.

“I’ll take you up the stairs in a bit. Tons of space. 4 bedrooms and 3 baths. It’s wonderful. Shall we go to the kitchen first? Right through the hall here.” Phil gave his spiel about stainless steel and a large family-size table and all the “brand new brand named’s.” When Bob was back from the bathroom and even Ellen, checking the time on her phone, seemed tired of appliance talk, Phil pointed to a door.

“And that leads to the basement, which we can see now if you like. I think you’ll like this, Bob. It’s a real man cave.” Phil gauged Bob’s smirk and Ellen’s lack of eye-rolling as approval and led the way.

Three school portraits, vertically hung, watched the tourists walk down the stairs from the opposite wall at the bottom. First Ellen and Bob reached eye level with a scratchy-faced young man with a military haircut and a signed New York Giants jersey. His shoulders reached far beyond the width of the frame. His eyes seemed tiny. Second they made eye contact with a boy wearing glasses and a Think-Geek t-shirt. He was smiling. They reached the basement floor and looked down to see the final portrait, a girl with hair almost as short as her brothers’. By her eyes it was clear that her smile was forced.

“Oh I love the wood panelling. What do you think, Bob?”


“Hmm. Those two boys like this room I assume?” Ellen sneered at the dusty piles of boxes and disks crowded around a flat screen HDTV. She checked the bottoms of her socks to see what junk was accumulating.

“Yes ma’am. The current residents use this basement area as a game room. The carpet and panelling on the walls keep it cozy, and there’s plenty of space down here for whatever you might like to use it for.” Phil knew he was losing her. He quickly shut a closet door before she could see inside: board games from Candyland to Catan, old little league sports equipment, and a mess of other junk. The was also an old duster on the top shelf, faded from overuse. Phil wished he had thought to use it before the Johnsons arrived.

“Well, that’s the basement. I can see the cogs turning in your minds coming up with different ways to use this space. I like it!” Phil knew that in reality the cogs were coming up with a shopping list of cleaning products in one mind and a hundred things Bob would rather be doing in the other. “Let’s head back up. We can peek in the bedrooms and then I’ll show you the yard and the garage.

“Now that we are back outside, let’s take a look at the garage next. It’s a two car garage with automatic doors; I want you guys to see what kind of space this will offer.”

The beige walls focused everyone’s attention to the red luxury car, which glimmered even in the dim garage lighting. It sits right in the center of the garage and stares at the potential buyers as they inspect the garage.

“As you can see, the garage is connected to the house through the thin wooden door in the back; you won’t have to step outside in the winter to get to your car. Here are more pictures of the previous owners. As you can see they like hanging pictures of themselves.

“Sorry about all of the random tools and clutter everywhere.” He says as he notices the wife staring at the boxes piled along the

The realtor notices the husband almost drooling over the car in the center of the garage. “Unfortunately, they are coming back to take that as well. They had to move everything essential out first and will come back for that, quite quickly I’m assuming.”

Looking at her husband with wide eyes, the wife says calmly “this is a really nice house and I think we need to put some thought into it.” They look at each other and smile, “thank you for the tour, it was wonderful! We need to discuss some things and then we’ll get back to you,” she says to the salesman. “I hope you all had a good time. The kids had a great time in this house, I hope you all will have the same experience.”