Episode the Ninth: Little Dot Goes House Hunting

By: Mr. E. S. Stranger

When Dot wasn't counting her beads, or working puzzles, or having wildly comical yet family-friendly adventures around the block where she lived, she thought of houses. Big houses, small houses, new houses, old houses, quaint houses, houses in the city, houses in the countryside, houses with or without picket fences, houses with animals, houses with moats and dragons guarding them went through her mind as she dreamed, doodled, and looked at magazines.

Month after month, she bargain-hunted in the clippers and catalogues. When she found the perfect piece of furniture for this or that room, she would light up and begin writing information down, and at first Toona and Funny Bunny would join in and be very excited with her and ooh and aah at whatever the wonderful find was. Sooner or later Dot would pull out her handy-dandy spreadsheet and begin managing the complex array of rows and columns about item prices, projected financing scenarios, and permutations of furniture, dinnerware and Tupperware sets. At times, Dot would be scribbling and typing long after her companions had fallen asleep in exhaustion.

She kept a growing set of sketches and descriptions of her perfect house. She knew where the rooms would be, and where all the tables, chairs, cabinets, and knick-knacks would go. She knew what she would plant in the garden and how many chickens she might be able to raise, and she regularly updated the prices on everything.

One day, she decided if she wanted a house, she needed to take some action. She grabbed the paper and began reading the ads. She marked the home ads with a pen as she went, crossing out the ones she knew she didn't want and putting happy faces next to the good ones. Before long, she had a list of possibilities and was ready to begin making calls.

First, she called about what she thought was the best house on the list. "Hello," she said. "Yes, I'm looking to buy the house you listed...my name? It's Dot. What? How much do I have to put down on it? What do you mean? Oh..."

She turned to Toona and Funny Bunny. "She wants to know how much cash I have."

"I don't know," said Toona. "Twenty-two dollars," Funny Bunny replied. "Not...not that I count or anything."

Dot turned back to the phone. "I have twenty-two dollars right now...well, then, how much do you want? Really? Don't you think that five thousand dollars is awfully expensive? Oh. Well, I'm sorry you feel that way. Okay, bye."

She looked again at the house. "You know, now that I think about it, the lawn isn't quite the right shape. And look at that door...I wouldn't want it even if I did have enough. It's lucky for me she turned me down."

Toona nodded slowly. Funny Bunny pointed. "Try that one. It says zero down payment ok."

Dot dialed the number and waited. "Hello? Yes, I'm calling about the ad...yes, the house. It says you can take zero money down...no, I have a little, but it's not much...how much do I make? Um...my mom gives me five dollars per week, but if I do extra chores...not enough? You didn't really think about it that long. Yes, I know the house is listed as two hundred thousand dollars, but I promise to pay a little every week. Really? Fine."

Dot hung up and stared at the picture. "The paint's the wrong color."

Toona picked up the paper to look at it. "The paper's in black and white-"

Dot snatched the paper from him and looked through the ads again. "Here!" she exclaimed. "One hundred fifty thousand dollars or best offer."

She dialed the number. "Hello? Yes, I saw the ad about the house...it says you'll take a best offer. My best offer is twenty-two dollars plus five dollars a week...hello? Hello?" She dialed the number again. "Hi, it's me again. You know, it's really rude and immature to hang up on people." She blew a raspberry into the phone and hung up.

Toona and Funny Bunny could see she was upset and stayed quiet for a while. Finally, Funny Bunny began, "So..."

"I'll have to build," said Dot. "I'll build a small house for starters. There's room in the back yard."

She marched outside, and her friends followed her. She walked to the far side of the back yard, where there was a great empty area.

"My first home can go here," she said. "It's more practical, anyway, since I don't have to buy the land. Okay. Toona!"

"Yes, Dot?"

"We need concrete. You make it by mixing water with very small rocks and dust. Go start making it."

"Right away!" Toona answered, and he rushed off.

Next, Dot turned to Funny Bunny. "Funny Bunny!"


"Bring materials. Bricks are best, if you can find them."

"Roger!" Funny Bunny shouted as he ran off.

Dot proceeded to dig a huge rectangle for her house. As the day wore on, she grew more and more tired. Half an hour later, she had to stop and rest, and she was disappointed with her progress so far. Just then, water began to trickle into the holes she had made. She looked around to see Toona walk toward her along newly soaked ground.

"I couldn't get the faucet off," he said.

Dot looked up to see her brother the gorilla walk out and turn off the faucet. He shouted to her.

"Mom's gonna tan your hide if she sees you tearing up the back yard." He went back inside.

Dot looked at the small area she had cleared and the drenched yard. Toona saw that she was upset again.

"I'm sorry, Dot..."

Just then Funny Bunny approached, desperately tugging along a brick from the front walk. He pulled it to Dot's feet and collapsed on the ground.

"Hope...this...does...the trick," he wheezed.

Dot was still cross, but she picked up Toona and Funny Bunny and hugged them. Then she went inside. Her mother was making dinner.

"What were you doing out there?" her mother inquired.

"Trying to build a house."

"What were you doing that for?"

"Because I can't buy one."

"What do you need to buy a house for? You live in one already."

"Mom," Dot started, "you've got to be quick these days. If I start building equity now, I can realize my financial goals by the time I'm thirty!"

"Well, don't go tearing up the yard anymore."

Dot sighed. "I won't."

She sulked to her room again. Once there, she went to the drawer where she kept her drawing of the perfect house. When she pulled the piece of paper out, it had a sticker on it that said "Pending."

"What's this?" Dot asked.

"Oh, that," replied Funny Bunny. "Well, some people came by to look at it...they gave a really good offer...at least, it seemed good at the time..."

"My perfect house is not for sale," Dot said. She lay down on the bed. "At least I still have my dream home."

She lay there thinking about her dream home. Suddenly a couple showed up in her thoughts and began making bids on her dream home. She yelled at them to go away, and they did so reluctantly.

There was a tap on the window. Dot looked, and a buck-toothed grin greeted her. Dot jumped up.


She went to the window and opened it a bit.

"Hey!" said Zoyla. "Come out and play."

"What are you doing here?"

"I live next door."

"What? No...really?"

"Well, sometimes I live next door. Anyway, come out." She beckoned Dot forward.

"What, out the window?"

"Yeah!" Zoyla exclaimed incredulously. "Unless you'd rather go out the door."

"I would," said Dot.

"Oh. Okay, then. Meet you there."

Dot left her room and went out front. Zoyla was there and, sure enough, there was a purple house with green polka-dots next door. Dot was sure it wasn't there before.

"So," said Zoyla, "whatcha doing?"

"Looking for a house."

"Oh. There's one," said Zoyla, pointing.

"No, I mean a house for me to live in."

"There's one," said Zoyla, pointing to Dot's house.

"No, no, I mean one that would be mine, and I'd own it, and I'd do whatever I wanted with it."

"Oh," said Zoyla. "Well...I think I might have one in my bag."

"You carry a house in your bag?"

Zoyla looked impatient. "Where else would I carry it, Dot?"

She pulled out a giant house.

"It's gorgeous," said Dot, "but where will it go? There's no room between the houses on this block for a house like that."

Zoyla reached into her bag again and pulled out some distance. She set it between two houses and put the huge house there.

"Bingo," said Zoyla. "Shall we go in?"

"Sure," said Dot, excited.

They went in the house. Toona and Funny Bunny followed. It was fully furnished, with everything a house could need. Dot walked through the rooms, making calculations on how to remodel it. After a bit she decided she wanted to sit down.

"Wanna watch TV?" she asked Zoyla.

"You go ahead," Zoyla replied. "My home has to go."

"You mean you have to go home?"

Zoyla looked confused and left. Dot sat down with Toona and Funny Bunny on the couch and watched TV. They sat there for a while. Two shows later, Dot looked around.

"I'm bored. What do you want to do?"

"I dunno," said Toona. Funny Bunny shrugged his shoulders.

They watched another show. Dot yawned. Toona yawned. Funny Bunny yawned, starting Dot yawning again.

"That's it," Dot said. "Let's go over to my mom's place."

They all hopped up and walked back across the street. Zoyla's house was gone. When they got to Dot's old house, her brother was watching TV, and her mom was finishing up some cheesy tuna noodles. Dot breathed in the smell of dinner and sighed contentedly.

"Home," she said.