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How to Clean a Conspiracy Theorist's Apartment Illustration by Michel Hellman.

How to Clean a Conspiracy Theorist's Apartment

She didn't sound like a serial killer on the phone.

SHE DIDN’T SOUND LIKE a serial killer on the phone. She hired me, off Craigslist, to clean her home near the southeast corner of Jeanne-Mance Park. I needed quick cash, so I chose to ignore the flashes of Miss Havisham as she led me through her grimy sunroom. Paint was peeling. Small cobwebs were forming. Dust covered everything. I asked her where I should put my coat.

“You’ll have to forgive me,” she said. “I’ve been working through a lot of childhood memories recently, of when I used to belong to a Vatican satanic cult.”

“Right. Of course,” I said, breathing in cat piss. “So ... should I just put my coat on this chair?”

I followed her through the house, trying to ignore the signs that a B-movie might later be made about my tragic demise here. It’s funny what you’ll convince yourself is “safe ...

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