As E! News reports, a disgruntled nanny recently escaped from the Gosselin Circus in order to warn our mere mortal selves of the dark grimoire whose existence threatens the very fabric of our universe.
"We always had to refer to the manual because it listed her pet peeves..."
Among those peeves listed in this modern day Necronomicon? Gravity, sound, the existence of shoes and the proliferation of dust—in the cultural imagination once mostly composed of human skin, much like the pages of this so-called "manual"—in the home. You know, those very rare contingencies that probably won't even come up. She's no stickler!
"You couldn't put anything on the ground. You had to put shoes in a certain spot. You couldn't close doors loudly. You could only vacuum during certain times of the day if she was home."
But what happened during these long days, of things hovering inches and sometimes yards in the air like eerie phantasms? Of shoes migrating from location to location, wandering without a sense of place, like tiny Serena van der Woodsens. Of doors caught forever in the no-place state of being, like Schrödinger's optimistic/defeatist water glass, both open and closed, never becoming, never completing closedness. Of vacuum cleaners lurching nervously around each corner, wondering if mistress might pop into the room with a single upraised, rageful finger.
And what of the chapter titled "Punishment," in this twitching, shuddering Book Of Shadows?
"When the boys were in trouble, they were made to go outside, in their giant yard, and pull weeds."
Oh, the weeds in the Giant Yard. Never knowing when the sky would go dark and the ground begin to shake underfoot. "Fee Fi Fo Fum! I smell the blood of a long line of insane control freaks!" he would sometimes say, before learning to understand the value of sharing via barely concealed Christian allegory. "I smell the Drakkar Noir of a biological father in Peter Pan free fall!"
But all was not so strictly gendered in the Monster Manual: Once, the voracious book of justice demanded that the children build a gingerbread house and then guard it from themselves. Having partaken of the gingerbread of good and evil, knowing only shame (but not the taste of gingerbread) until their soon to be former nanny took pity on them, for the first and last time in their lives.
"They had to stare at it every night during dinner," she said. "I finally just let the kids eat it."
For this infraction we are not told the consequence; one imagines either because it is difficult to read and to bear, or difficult to comprehend, to understand. We may not, in our human language, understand what fiery-sword justice might be meted out for letting the children eat things. But we do know when that shit could be expected to stop:
"At nine o'clock, everything was done... Even if I was halfway through dishes, at 9 p.m. you had to stop. She told me her day ended at 9 p.m, no matter what was going on."
We stood like statues. We did not blink at certain times, or in certain locations. Dishes hung sharply in the air, like unrung bells. A hush across all Gosseland. We would put the children to bed beforehand, watching what is creepily called their "favorite thing to watch," but is clearly the only thing they know of: Old episodes of Jon And Kate Plus 8.
And of them all, what chilling eldritch arts might be introduced on the rare occasion that Ed Hardy-sporting deadbeat dad, Jon "And Kate Minus Kate" Gosselin, might ring?
"You are Kate, so always listen in on the phone calls," the nanny remembers Kate saying, recalling the occasions on which she would lose time, returning to herself only hours later to find her body exhausted and suddenly empty, the taste of bile lingering behind: We hung there in the air—shoes in a certain spot, nothing touching the floor—hearing her close the door, very fucking softly, behind her.
We had been Kate, once again.