At the Motel With The Mitchells

BY : Wendell Urth
Category: Comics > Dennis the Menace
Dragon prints: 1464
Disclaimer: I do not own Dennis The Menace, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Chapter 4: Babysitting

I was kind of surprised when I got home from school one afternoon. My cousin Marie’s car was in the driveway. She was in our kitchen with Mom drinking iced tea. Mom had been angry at her for ignoring me since the divorce. I could tell she was still a little angry, but not as much as she had been. Clearly, they had called a truce until I had gotten home.

Marie told mom that she was going to start college a few month’s early and her schedule watching Dennis for Mrs. Mitchell would have to change. Evidently, she was making a lot of money to watch “The Menace” and didn’t want to lose the job, but couldn’t completely cover her schedule.

She wondered if I could watch Dennis for a few hours during the week after school and maybe every other Saturday for the rest of the term? Mrs. Mitchell was really generous. She knew that I had done some babysitting before and never had a problem.

I lit up and would have jumped on it right away, but Mom had some objections about homework, stuff, etc. I started to object, but she shot me one of those looks. Marie came to my defense, she had been babysitting Dennis for months with the understanding that her homework had to come first, and she was an A student. Dennis really wasn’t as wild as people thought. I carefully brought up that since I had broken my hand (it was pretty good now), that I wouldn’t be playing baseball after school anyway.

Mom was mostly convinced, but wanted to talk to Mrs. Mitchell first. Mrs. Mitchell looked a lot different than she had last time I saw her in the park. She looked amazing when we met with her to work out the arrangements. She had this light throaty laugh that sent shivers down my spine. She was so friendly to my mom that Mom agreed to letting my cover for Marie almost immediately. I was proud that mom trusted me.

I don’t think she noticed that I had trouble looking Mrs. Mitchell. The boner was back but I think I was pretty good at hiding it… or was I?

Dennis came zooming into the kitchen, he was excited to be seeing me and thrilled to have me as a part time baby sitter. While our moms talked, I went up to his room to see his “stuff”. Kind of things that boys liked, broken models, Cowboy Bob & sports posters. “Stuff”.

His big ugly smelly dog was there, he sniffed at me suspiciously then jumped on me and licked my face. “Yuck!”

I spoke to Marie later to firm up the schedule and go over the ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’ts’ about Dennis. More ‘Don’ts’ than ‘Do’s’… Lots of ‘Don’ts” Most of them were not to turn my back on him for a minute! Mostly I thought the problem might be that she was a girl babysitting him. Anyway, I assured her I had it under control.

“Oh boy!”

The first week or so went pretty well, mostly minor disasters, Dennis breaking stuff. Cuts & scrapes (on both of us). Nothing really too serious. I had fun with the kid, playing ball (careful of my hand which was healing), chasing him around the yard, tripping over his big stupid dog (did he smell!). Sometimes we went to the park. He got stuck in a tree about 20 feet up while climbing overalls snagged on a branch. I was buying him an ice cream at the time. Marie was right about not turning your back! Fortunately, I managed to get him loose without too many problems. He didn’t even cry. A few days later he did the same thing again. Just to see if he could get loose on his own this time. He couldn’t.

I saw a lot more of Marie, she seemed kind of distracted when she came out of the Mitchell house. I guess it was the pressure of getting into college early. We mostly spoke about the latest “outrages” Dennis had gotten up to.

Obviously, I saw a lot more of Mrs. Mitchell, she was always very nice to me and I guess I was less nervous talking to her. I was still concentrating on keeping my boner under control. I thought I was doing a pretty good job. She paid me what she owed every week (never late) and extra when I helped her with errands (mostly keeping Dennis out of trouble while she shopped). I would have done it for free, but she insisted. I not only had money for the phone, I was saving a little extra too. She kissed me on the forehead a couple of times. When most adults do that to a you, you roll your eyes. I didn’t. Sent chills down my spine. Nice chills.

Boy, was she pretty! And smelled nice all the time. I was in love. Peaches.

I never saw Mr. Mitchell, though he was sometimes home in the afternoon. I could usually tell because the study door was locked and there was this smell… like sweetly burning leaves. I was told he smoked a pipe. That was already becoming pretty unusual. I didn’t know of any other dads who smoked pipes… except on old TV shows. I wondered if he was on drugs. I’m still not sure.

It was my third week of babysitting Dennis. I was in a pretty good mood; I had just gotten a really nice cell phone and I was being super careful with it.

Dennis loved “wrasslin” as he called it. Mostly trying to jump on me and knock me to the floor, roll around. It’s something all kids do, boys do, anyway. I’d let him pretend to get the better of me before I’d do my monster growl (he loved that) and I’d wrap him up in knots! We’d do it in his bedroom where any damage wouldn’t be too noticeable. I was careful of my hand (he got tears in his eyes when he thought he had hurt me once, but I assured him it was OK). I hated it when his dog decided to join the melee, got to draw the line somewhere!

I always was careful to put my new phone in a place where we wouldn’t damage it.

Anyway, it was a Friday. Marie was just leaving the house when I came up on my bike. She had a kind of goofy look on her face. She didn’t tell me why, I didn’t ask. I was still a little resentful of her. Kids hold grudges a long time. Something must have happened. Her blouse looked kind of funny. I realized that she had buttoned it wrong, not by one button hole, but by two! I didn’t say anything.


I went in. Dennis & I ran around some, did some wrasslin and I hoped I tired him out. I needed to work on a book report on something I had mostly skimmed through.

One of Dennis’ friends came over, Gina. I liked Gina a lot. She had a lot of personality and was pretty good at keeping Dennis under control. I couldn’t stand his other friend Margaret who I thought was a kind of a bully and know-it-all and Dennis didn’t seem to care for her either. But she was there more often than Gina. Anyway, I got them involved in drawing project in Dennis’ room while I studied downstairs.

Time went by. I realized that I hadn’t heard anything from the two for a while. It bothered me.

I went upstairs, there were some sounds, mostly Dennis grunting. I didn’t associate that sound with crayons! I opened the door.

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