Episode the Fifteenth: Little Dot Cleans Her Room

By: Mr. E. S. Stranger

If you have followed Little Dot’s adventures this far, you may recall that Dot, fearing attacks by sinister microbes, had cleaned and sterilized her room. The effect was short-lived.

In addition to the many things Dot had collected over the years, which were now densely stacked, Dot had several boxes of supplies for her campaign against the germs. Some of her supplies occupied a pocket of extra space Zoyla had given her, but the others crowded her room. The trash she had removed was quickly replaced.

Her companions were growing increasingly uneasy in her little den. Accidents were on the rise. One day, Toona wandered off to get a box of crayons and wasn’t seen again until that evening, when he emerged, dirty and dazed, into the light from between two columns of stuff. Funny Bunny asked him repeatedly what had happened, but he would only shake his head and stare as though into the distance. For safety, they began leaving trails of crumbs to mark paths. The frog taught them a series of calls they could use to locate one another in an emergency. Mostly, they tried to stick to a few areas known to be safe.

Dot began to lose track of her things. It started small: a sock, a pen, a merger document for D&Z Capital Group. This escalated, though. The worst of this was when, while moving things around to search for her copy of The Phantom Tollbooth (another excellent and relatively true story), she managed to cover up the door, window, and bed and so became temporarily disoriented. Fortunately, with the help of the constellations on her ceiling, she was able to find her way out.

The final straw, though, was the monster. Dot was never entirely sure where the thing had come from. One afternoon, as she sat at the kitchen table, munching on some celery and peanut butter, she heard a strange sound. She turned her head, and right away her eyes saw it. She froze. Staring at her, antennae twitching menacingly, was a cockroach as big as a small dog. For a few moments, they just stared at each other. Then Dot yelled, “Mom!” and got out of her chair, and the monster gave chase.

It chased her around the house, Dot shrieking. Jimi saw them and barked at the creature as it passed but withdrew when the creature came toward him. Just as Dot was sure she was about to be caught and eaten, WHOMP came a shoe. Her mom stood there, shoe in hand, watching the creature. It was stunned but not dead. When it started to move, WHOMP came the shoe again. This time, it was at least badly injured. It did nothing for several seconds. Then, weakly, it moved an antenna. WHOMP WHOMP WHOMP went the shoe, and the monster was no more. Dot’s mom disposed of it. Dot went to her room and looked at the piles of stuff.

“There could be anything in there,” she said.

That was all she needed. Inspiration surge within her. She immediately called a team meeting.

“Thank you all for attending this emergency session,” she said to her friends. “I think we’re all aware that the room has grown a little crowded.”

“I can’t see!” shouted Funny Bunny from behind a box. Toona picked him up and put Funny Bunny on his hand. “Ok, much better,” said the shoestring rabbit.

“Anyway,” said Dot, “it’s very crowded. Some I’ve decided it’s time to do some cleaning. And I don’t just mean the usual moving everything out, dumping some trash, and putting everything back again. This time, we get rid of the things we don’t need. Yes, Funny Bunny?”

The bunny put his arm down. “What if we need them later?”

“I don’t know,” said Dot. “I guess we’ll have to make some hard choices. Yes, Toona?”

Toona lowered his arm. “Where will we keep the things we get rid of?”

“Nowhere,” Dot answered. “We’re getting rid of them.”


Dot waited a moment. “Any other questions before we make our plans?”

Frog raised his hand. “Maybe Zoyla can help us. She does have a bag that holds anything.”

“Good point,” Dot said. “Let me call her.” She went to the window and opened it. “Zoyla!” she shouted.

Faintly, Zoyla’s voice came across the air. “Hello, you have reached the home of Zoyla, the Anvil-Dropping Fairy. Either I’m unavailable, or I really don’t want to talk to you. Either way, please leave a message, and I’ll decided what to do with it. Beep.”

“Zoyla, it’s Dot,” Dot said. “I was wondering if you wanted to come over to help with a project. Bye.”

Dot shut the window. Before she could remember what she wanted to say next, the window started buzzing. She opened it and shouted.


“Hey, Dot,” Zoyla’s voice said. “Sorry I missed your call. I didn’t get to the window in time. What’s up?”

“I’m cleaning my room,” Dot said, “and I could use your help getting rid of some things.”

“That’s perfect!” Zoyla answered. “I’ve been meaning to clean out my bag. We’ll make a day of it. I’ll bring some snunch and sninner foods.”

Immediately, there came a knock on the door to Dot’s room. Dot opened it, and Zoyla stood there with her bag. She walked in and set it down.

“Sorry to take so long,” she said. “I brought some celery and peanut butter and some pretzels and string cheese for when we break for snunch. Ok, so let’s get started. Where are we putting the things we’re getting rid of?”

“I was hoping your bag,” said Dot.

“Oh, no, that will never work,” said Zoyla, shaking her head. “I have no space in my bag. I mean I do, but it’s neutralized by…um, what’s the opposite of space? Stuff. The stuff has cancelled out the space.

“Oh,” said Dot. “And where were you going to put your stuff?”

“Your room,” Zoyla replied.

Dot gazed about the crowded room. “Oh. Well, that’s a problem. If only we had a solution.”

Zoyla snapped her fingers. “I might have one of those.” She reached into her bag and dug around a bit. “Battleship…unicorn…assorted alien artifacts…spare anvils…here! A solution.”

She pulled her hand out and had an idea. “We can temporarily put things in your other house.”

“My other house?” Dot asked. “Oh, right. The one you gave me. I forgot about it. It’s hard to keep track of what all I have. Yes, I think there’s some space over there. I don’t know about your larger things. Did you ever put Missouri back?”

“Um,” Zoyla said, “well, it did turn out to be useful a few episodes ago.”

“You don’t need to keep it in your bag,” Dot said. “You’ll have to put it back later. My house can only hold so many things. Ok, we’ll also need a dumpster and a way to get giveaways to someplace that will be able to use them.”

“Done and done,” said Zoyla. “I have waste disposal units in my bag, and I’ll have D&Z Thrift pick up the stuff that’s still good.”

“How many industries are we in at this point?” Dot asked.

Zoyla shrugged. “I’ll contact D&Z Holdings later and find out. Shall we begin? I’ll tag stuff in my bag for removal while you organize your room, and we’ll take everything over at once.”

Dot nodded, and they set about picking things to throw away or give away. This proved to be a more difficult task than they expected. After twenty minutes, Dot evaluated her progress. All she had picked to get rid of were some used tissues and napkins, a few electronic items that no longer worked, and an empty cardboard box. And as she looked at it, she thought about keeping the box. You never know when you’ll need a box.

“This is hard,” Dot said.

“I know,” Zoyla said. “I mean, sure, one submarine for me and one for you is probably enough, but what if we need to take one into the shop? Then we’ll have to share. And I could clean out some space but dumping the rainforest, but some people say it’s good to save it. They may have a point. And I have some old things in there, like my first anvil, but they have sentimental value.”

“You have your first anvil?” Dot asked. “I thought you dropped anvils on people.”

“I do,” said Zoyla, “but I don’t just leave them lying there. That would be wasteful, not to mention littering. I haven’t checked for expiration dates, though. Do anvils ever expire?”

Dot shrugged. “I’m not having an easy time, either. I could get rid of my beads, but making jewelry is cheaper than buying it. I have a lot of jewelry, but if I get rid of it, I’ll have to make more with beads, which I’ve pretty much lost interest in. And I keep meaning to work the pile of mixed-together all-white puzzles. Maybe I should start with something functional that I have too much of.”

“Like clothes?” Zoyla said.

“Yes,” Dot said. “I think I have some I’ll never wear. What about you?”

“I don’t know,” Zoyla replied. “Do you think I need my Macbeth set?”

“Why would you need it at all?” Dot asked.

Zoyla shrugged. “If I ever need to perform in Macbeth, I guess.”

“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Dot said.

Zoyla nodded. “I suppose I’d better let that British theatre troupe go, then. They were expensive to feed, anyway.”

Dot’s face lit up. “We should sort each other’s stuff! I’ll tell you what you need to get rid of, and you do the same for me.”

“Sounds great!” Zoyla replied. “Ok, I’ll go first. Civilization of stuffed bears: keep or toss?”

“Keep!” Toona shouted.

Zoyla whipped out a checklist and made a mark. “Ok, Dot, your turn.”

“Ok,” Dot said, looking around. “Um…spare shoelace collection.”

“Toss!” Funny Bunny shouted. “They creep me out.”

Dot put a red sticky note on the box of shoelaces. “Your turn, Zoyla.”

Zoyla scanned her list. “What about my collection of flying, acid-spitting water moccasins and rattlesnakes?”

They heard a faint noise from the stacks and looked to see what it was. Funny Bunny spotted the source and called out.

“The frog fainted!”

Dot turned back to Zoyla. “I think that was his way of saying ‘toss.’ I don’t know how you’ll get rid of them, though.”

“D&Z experimental animal control,” Zoyla replied, marking her list. “Ok, let’s continue. How often do you use your bed, really?”

They continued like this for a while, breaking briefly for snunch and again for a quick sninner. By early evening, they had identified hundreds of items to give away or throw away and were quite exhausted.

“Let’s stop for now,” Dot said. “I’m tired, and we haven’t moved anything into my house yet.”

“Uhhh!” Zoyla said in exhaustion, and she started to plop down on Dot’s bed only to discover mid-fall that the bed was nowhere to be found. She paused her fall. “Hey, what gives? Where’s your bed?”

Dot looked around. “You did hear me say not to toss it, right?”

“I didn’t move it. Oh, it’s under the boxes.”

They stared at the pile of boxes for several seconds wishing they could lie down.

“Time to take it out,” Dot said.

“Yep,” said Zoyla, and they began moving again. Zoyla got a big red wagon out of her bag. “We can put some of the stuff from the room in this.”

“Cool,” said Dot. “Do you have anything else that fits in the house that we can load stuff up on?”

“I think I have a sled and harnesses,” Zoyla said. Jimi was just then coming out of Dot’s mother’s room but thought better of it and went back in.

“No,” said Dot. “The wagon’s fine. I just need more motivation.”

“On it!” the frog said, reviving, and he burst into a lively song.

Together, Dot and Zoyla put a big pile of Dot’s things onto the wagon, and they started to take it out of the house. Toona and Funny Bunny weren’t strong enough to carry or pull anything, but at first they at least pretended to help; even this quickly became tiring, and they focused on riding along in the wagon as it went back and forth.

It was getting dark as they took the last load of stuff they had earmarked over to Dot’s own house across the street. Zoyla had found some impossibly roomy moving boxes in her bag and put the larger items there. They put everything on the curb to await pickup and gazed at what they had done.

Zoyla gazed thoughtfully. “You know, if I had remembered that I already owned two particle accelerators, I wouldn’t have bought the third. I do like the colors and flavors of its particles, though.” She looked over at Dot, who looked troubled. “What’s up, Dot?”

“I can’t leave all of these here,” Dot said. “I already see some things I want to take back in. Like that pair of shows there.”

“Which ones?”

“The brown ones.”

“Which ones?”

“The brown ones with the leather straps.”

“Which ones?”

“The ones that have open toes.”

“Which ones?”

“The…I have too many shoes. I’ll go in now.”

Dot turned and walked back into her old house. Zoyla followed. They went into Dot’s room. There was still a bit of clutter, but the bed, window, and closet were all visible from the door. Toona and Funny Bunny were busy exploring, measuring, and taking notes about the patches of floor that had been uncovered.

Zoyla plopped down on the bed. “What a day! I’m tired. Good night.”

“I’m tired, too,” said Dot. “There’s a lot to go, too. I hope I have the energy to keep going tomorrow.”

Zoyla was snoring. Her wings fluttered a bit as she slept. Dot looked over the room, sizing up what was left. Her eyes fell on an old Spiffyware catalog that had been buried under the recently-removed boxes.

“What’s this?” she said.

She leafed through the booklet. Her eyes lit up. Her exhaustion melted away.

“This is what I need,” she said. “I lost focus. My new place needs so much of this. I hope the stuff in this catalog is still being sold. I should get a new one. For now…I can start to make plans. I’ll need to price and categorize these and cross-reference them with my household wishlist. There are sets and combinations and overlapping use to consider…so much to do.”

She went to a box and pulled out a big empty chart. Then she grabbed a pen and she markers and turned to her friends. She was full of energy.

“Ok, let’s get started.”