When I opened the door I was immediately greeted,
“Welcome,” and “Aren’t you so incredibly welcome!”
Since I didn’t know yet, I responded,
“Where am I?”
And a woman of middle-age, wearing around her neck like a scarf
some sort of husband, answered:
“This is Jacob,” she said,
“I am Margot.”
And so I entered with that.
In the hallway hung ten or twenty jackets.
I hung mine on the only vacant hook!
I was also already dragged away by my other
It was Margot who dragged it into the house and shouting,
“Come, I must show you around.”
And around we took
a turn into the living room where she laughed and said,
“We call this the living room.”
And then in the kitchen she pointed at the sink.
“If you turn on the tap water, the toilet flushes.”
“But don’t flush the toilet because
if you do
we’ll lose the dinner table.” Her arms in the air like an elk
as she moved on.
The next room, which was a bedroom,
in it a crib. (This twisted my mood)
Margot walked up to the crib and lifted a little bundle and saying,
“This is John, who has been here the longest.”
“How do you mean, longest?” I asked.
And she answered, “well,”
“Little John was already here when Jacob and I
And from my height I looked at the baby and saw it was actually
a doll. With glass eyes like dolls have them. I shied back.
Margot, in seeing I had seen what I had, put the bundle in the crib.
“When we found this place, John was taller
and much more like a John you’d imagine,” she said.
“Just as we are giving you the tour, he gave it to us.
But don’t bother with John, now. Let him lie there.
And don’t take him into the kitchen. We wouldn’t want
to do that, would we?”
Later at dinner I asked, “What place is this?”
Margot looked at me like I was very unique.
“Aren’t you so sweet?” she said.
And then she said, “My little one,
I cannot tell you where we are.
But I can tell you, this house is not this house.
Although whatever it is ought to be similar
to this house. Luckily!
Or it ought to be at least more dissimilar to all other things
than what it is to this house. Why else, this?”
And so I said I, “sorry, I don’t understand.
Does this mean I am dead?”
“Not dead!” Margot said.
“But the best thing is not to overthink it.”
“Two rules, more or less.
Don’t flush the toilet and
Don’t bring John into the kitchen.”
Her husband, still wrapped around her neck, agreed.
“John used to overthink it. He was the most inquisitive of us and
incredibly tormented.” he said.
“But don’t look so paranoid.
John turned into a doll most likely because
he used the fireplace while the stove was on.
So you should probably know about that as well.
Third rule, don’t use the fireplace while the stove is on.”
Carl-David Parson is a writer of mixed mediums. He has moved the way from Sweden to New York, to attend Columbia University. There he works, late into the night, on an MFA in Poetry.