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“Come on Alex, hurry up!”

You smile at your friend, Sophie, as she struggles with to walk up the cobblestone path with a large bucket and unwieldy mop. She stops and turns back to you, drops the bucket, and puts her hand on her hips. “This is going to be some job,” she frowns, gesturing to the house.

Your eyes sweep over the mansion. At least 20 dark-paned windows stare back at you. At least windows are Sophie’s job, you think. Then sighing, you say to Sophie, “Yeah, I wonder how many square feet of floor I’m going to have to vacuum.” Then you continue to trudge, dragging your favorite vacuum behind you and readjusting the knapsack of cleaning supplies on your shoulder.

You and Sophie are college students who clean houses for extra money. You got into it after a friend offered you guys $20 to clean his apartment after seeing how spotless the two of you kept yours. It’s been quite lucrative, earning enough money for rent and pocket change, and you pretty much get to pick your hours. Customers are plentiful since you placed a free ad in the college paper. People seem to be calling the house all the time. Housewives that need a helping hand, new graduates needing their place cleaned before they move out, even some pretty crazy after-party cleanups. You name it, you and Sophie have cleaned it. Except maybe this…

“This has got to be the biggest house we have ever been called to!” Sophie muses. “Did the guy on the phone…say anything about pay?”

“No,” you say. “But I’m gonna let him know that we’re not doing it for under $300. Maybe even more if the inside is as bad as the outside.” You glance disapprovingly at the overgrown walk and abandoned gardens.

“Yeah, I sure as hell hope he doesn’t think we do yard work too…” Sophie mutters.

The two of you approach the huge double oak paneled doors. Sophie reaches out to use the knocker.. But snaps her hand back….

“Ugh!” she exclaims. Fumbling in her knapsack, she fishes out a Swiffer cloth and removes the layers of cobwebs from the knocker before knocking. The knocker resonates through the porch. “Make that $600, “ she laughs. “I have a bad feeling about this… did we bring enough Swiffers??”

Just then, the door slowly opens. A small face peeks out from the cool darkness. “What do you want?” the pale-faced girl says accusingly.

“We’re the cleaners that were called for, “ Sophie huffs. “This IS 331 Oakmount Drive, right?”

“Yes, oh, yes.” the young woman exclaims breathlessly. “Oh, please do come in. I’m quite sorry.”

Enter the mansion.