Jack the undercover detective walked into the newly opened Soulful Estate Agency. There had been reports of missing people. People that had last been seen at the agency.
“How may I help you?” asked the man.
“I’m interested in buying one of those starter pack homes you advertised on TV,” said Jack.
“Which one would that be?” asked the man.
“The one with three rooms and the sea view,” said Jack. It was a big advertising campaign surely the man working here knew what was going on.
“Oh, how exciting,” said the man. “You are our very first customer.” The man ducked down and brought up a big cardboard box and slid it across towards Jack. “That will be $50,000 will you be paying by cash or credit card?”
“What are trying to pull?” asked Jack staring at the box.
“Look pal do you want it or not?”
“Want what? This is not the house you have advertised.”
“Oh, you don’t know…” said the man, Jack noticed that there was a name tag on the man’s shirt it said Manny.
“Don’t know what Manny?” asked Jack.
“You just go over to your allocated plot, dig a hole, throw the box in and water it. It’s a patented house in a box design.”
“My name might be Jack but I’m not falling for that scam.”
“What scam?” asked Manny “Sorcerers… sorry I mean scientists have spent over ten years developing this new technology and besides there’s a money back guarantee.”
“Sorcerers?” Very suspicious behavior indeed.
“Apologies, I’m a huge geek, but I promise you, there is no easier way to buy the house of your dreams.”
“All right, all right,” said Jack passing over his credit card. “I’ll take it.” It was a Police Department card. They could get their funds back once the investigation was over.
“A fine choice sir,” said Manny. “Would you like one of our expert techwizards to help you with the setup?”
“No, but I would like you to accompany me.”
“I’m afraid I have a meeting in a few minutes. Can I meet you at the site?”
“Sure, but don’t take long.”
His undercover identity’s new home turned out to be a nice little plot of land on the end of a beach road. It was in pristine condition and had a fantastic sea view.
Thinking there would be no chance that it would ever work Jack paced out the center of the yard and dug a hole. Once it was deep enough he unceremoniously dumped the box in and then filled it up with water, he borrowed from a neighbor. He covered it up and stood back and waited for the process to begin. The pamphlet said he had to wait a couple of minutes before it got working. Soon enough a giant plant began to grow out of the ground at an alarming rate. It was big and green and began to transform into a house shape. Pretty soon there was a modest but elegantly designed three-roomed wooden house standing before him. Jack was amazed that it had actually worked.
Cautiously he made his way into the new dwelling. It was bare inside. The whole thing was just wondrous to him, but something was wrong, the walls, they were moving, closing in on him. He ran to the door, but it was barred shut. Jack screamed. He knew that he was done for.
A green sedan pulled up to the now vacant again plot.
“How many is that now?” asked Manny.
“17,” replied a man in a immaculate business suit. Manny hated when his supervisor tagged along for the collection, the sulfur smell was a pain to get out of the upholstery.
Manny sighed. “Only 987 to go.”
*I found this story last night. Wrote it in 2005. Was cringe worthy reading, took quite a lot of chopping and changing, but hopefully I've salvaged it and made it readable.