Xander had called and left a message on her machine, asking for a favor. It usually meant he needed her to escort him to some stupid awards thing where she would definitely run the risk of getting green slime on her expensive dress. He was an old friend, one who she’d known since childhood sandbox days. Sometimes, she thought maybe Xander never left the sandbox behind.
His message wasn’t about an event he needed her to attend, but asking her to hang out at his house and feed his fish for a few days while he was out of town on business. Buffy laughed out loud, as she dialed his cell to accept his invitation. Staying at a gorgeous house on the beach for free, where was the downside? She chatted with him for a few minutes before he got called away to another meeting. She went to pack a bag, giggling at another beach trip. God, I love the beach. Wonder if the ice cream man runs through Malibu?
Xander had somehow managed to get a job at this children’s TV network after college, enabling his Peter Pan syndrome of “I wont ever grow up”. You know, the one with the orange logo and green slime. His house, although posh and modern on the beach in Malibu, looked like a daycare center for the insane. Toys of every shape and color littered his floor, every piece of art in the house was cartoon-related, and even his furniture looked like something Dr. Seuss would have drawn.
As she drove up to the gate and keyed in the security code, she marveled at how normal Xander’s house looked from the outside. That is unless you looked really close. There were all kinds of cartoon-y things everywhere. The stepping stones leading to the house were shaped like Mickey Mouse heads which lead to a door with a bronze Scooby Doo door knocker. Buffy knew where Xander kept the spare key outside his house, and rolled her eyes as she located the small Smurf statue in the flowerbed. It was hollow and had a little flap on its behind that hid a secret compartment and within that, the key. When he’d found that jewel on a business trip you’d have thought he’d solved the mysteries of the universe based on his excitement. Buffy remembered a line from the movie ‘The End’ that always reminded her of Xander’s house, looking like Walt Disney threw up.
Turning the key in the lock, she opened the door to what can only be described as “Pee Wee’s Playhouse” on acid. It was worse than she remembered. He’d run a train track all around the living room, suspended from the ceiling which disappeared into the next room. I have got to find him a woman… and a different place to bring her.
Rolling her eyes as she walked down the hall, following the train that went into every room. The guestroom was not only decorated with scary clowns, but it was filled with boxes of more kid stuff Xander had ordered off the Internet, so master bedroom it was.
The master bedroom must be what all young boys dream of. Or mental patients… The walls were painted to look like clouds, and the carpet was patterned to look like small towns and cities, with roads to drive your Hot Wheels along. If that wasn’t enough, there was his bed. A king-size waterbed designed to look like a giant helicopter, complete with a giant propeller that you could turn on with a remote. Good Lord, Xander, what in the Hell were you thinking? Shouldn’t the waterbed have been a boat?
After she unpacked, Buffy went to relax in the living room and watch a bit of television. Stopping in the kitchen, she wanted to grab a drink and a snack before she got comfortable. His fridge was full of cheese sticks, Gatorade, and juice boxes. The pantry shelves were lined with Sponge Bob mac and cheese, little bags of Doritos, and some snack cakes. No wonder Xander looks like he’s gained some weight! Settling on a cheese stick and a Gatorade, she found herself sitting on a HUGE purple couch, holding a Kid-Friendly orange remote control. It had 3 buttons on it: ON/OFF, CHANNEL UP, and CHANNEL DOWN. Shaking her head, and leaning back on a Rugrats cartoon pillow, she powered up the telly.
Cartoon music blared through the surround sound, as she stared at the stupid remote with no volume control. Changing the channel didn’t help either. They were all kid channels. Every, single, one. Am I trapped in a fun house? Buffy pressed the power button, turning everything off.
“Xander, do you really live this way?” Buffy closed her eyes and tried to block it all out.
In the almost silence (except for the train a’ comin’ ‘round the bend), Buffy realized she was feeling a little warm. Not sure if it was caused by her frustration level rising to new heights, she went to check the thermostat.
Yes, the thermostat was childish too. A red Teletubbie with the temp proudly displayed on his tummy TV screen. It read 78F. Too hot. After a few tries, she figured out how to adjust it, only to find it was set at 72F already. Hmmm, let me set it at 68F and see what happens.
Deciding to escape the madness, Buffy elected to try the balcony overlooking the ocean. Maybe even get a little sun. Buffy went to get her bikini on. Maybe the ocean breeze and fresh air will soothe my nerves, and give the house time to cool off.
The French doors led to a beautiful deck, cantilevered over a cliff, with the most amazing view of the Pacific Ocean. Kicking off her shoes, she chose the reclining Elmo chair out of the Sesame Street patio set Xander had purchased last year, and leaned back to take a short nap.
Buffy woke up to find herself well rested, but sunburned. “Damn it!” she cursed out loud. Collecting her things, she hoped that Xander had something for her burn inside.
The temperature still felt hot, but she was burned, so probably not an accurate reading. She would look at the Teletubbie as soon as she has something on this burn.
The bathroom was decorated with the missing nautical theme. Little boats and submarines lined the outer edge of the deep tub, next to a large bottle of Mr. Bubble. Inside the medicine cabinet, beside the Snoopy band-aids and the Superfriends toothpaste, she found a bottle of aloe. Thank God.
She decided against changing clothes, since they would only hurt and make her hotter, and slathered on the aloe. Shiny and sticky, she made her way down the hall to the Teletubbie who now said the inside temp was 83F. “That’s it! I’m calling a repairman. If I have to stay in this fun house of terror, then I’m at least gonna make it a comfortable temperature.”
Buffy trudged back into the kitchen for a phone book and a cold drink. She grabbed another Gatorade and poured it into a Care Bear collector’s glass she found in the cabinet, and opened the yellow pages to Air Conditioning repair. “Let’s see, AAA A/C repair, on call 24 hours a day. Sounds perfect.”
She dialed the phone and scheduled the man to come immediately. Care Bear glass in hand, she went back to bathroom for a towel to cover the couch. Don’t want to get aloe all over the purple couch..
Staring at the neon remote control, disgusted, the train “WOOWOO’d” its way through the living room once more.
“GAAAA! I have got to find a way to turn that thing off!”
Near tears, and slicked up with aloe, Buffy spread out the Snorks towel she’d grabbed, and turned on the TV. Apparently the channel it was on ran old TV shows at night, and she welcomed an episode of ‘Get Smart’ and waited for the repair guy.
Just as her show ended, she heard the doorbell. It played the theme to one of Xander’s all time favorite cartoons, Speed Racer.
Shuffling her sticky, bikini clad body to the door, she peeked through the peephole and saw the AC repairman waiting.
A cocky-looking young man with a cigarette hanging from his lips and a toolbox by his side. He’ll do, just fine. Hot and cocky and with tools, hmmm somehow seems familiar…
Buffy opened the door and let him in.