Singular open house (plural open houses)
(mainly US) (Australia) A house which is for sale and is open for inspection or tour by interested parties. Most houses for sale on the market are open on weekends.
(US) A casual school event where the school invites parents or guardians to come and tour their child's school, classrooms, and allow them to meet their child's teachers.
Mrs. Denton smiled her signature bleached-blond, empty of intelligence, brain-dead smile. “An open house, Patricia.” Mrs. Foley, the English teacher, gritted her teeth. “Where we can gather with our students and their parents, and get to know each other.”
“Are you brain-dead!” she screeched. “I know you like these little meetings-“ So you can brainwash the parents and students simultaneously, you nit-wit fool- “but you seem to have forgotten that we have the Addams this year. The Addams!” Do you want them in your schools?”
“Whyever not, dear?”
Because they’re the Addamses. They eat food that bites back. They have a butler who’s dead. And a walking hand. And the children are positively satanic. She wanted to say all these things. She didn’t. After all, it wouldn’t make any difference. All that stuff would make not the slightest dent in her skull.
“Just… don’t blame me if this open house blows up in your face.”
“An Open House?”
This question was delivered in a tone far different from that which had been employed by the principal. In fact, Morticia Addams seemed quite thrilled with the idea.
“Oh, how lovely. We’ll be able to meet your teachers-“
“Terrify them,” Wednesday interjected with an evil grin.
“Discuss your grades,” she added, to which comment Wednesday frowned.
“Yell about them,” Pugsley suggested.
“Eat hot death, worm,” Wednesday growled, thinking about cauldrons of molten lead.
“Now, now, Wednesday. It’s nowhere near dinner time. Where was I…? Ah, yes. We’ll be able to meet your fellow students-“
“Murder them,” Wednesday and Pugsley chorused.
“Well, perhaps. But ask nicely first.”
“Maybe you could meet Wednesday’s new boyfriend,” Pugsley said with an evil grin.
“Shut it,” Wednesday hissed angrily, looking like an enraged vampire for a moment before her usual look of chilly calm returned to her face. “He’s just a friend. We haven’t even kissed, much less vivisected anyone together.”
“Yeah, but I saw you mummifying that rat together.”
“Well, we dissected it in class; why not give it a good burial?”
“Together? You held his hand!”
“To guide his scalpel, stupid. He was cutting too deep. I didn’t want him to slice the liver. I was saving it for Grandmama.”
“Went well coated in chocolate and cyanide,” she agreed.
“Yeah, right. You stared in his eyes. It was dopey.”
“You mean that time I stared in his eyes, and all the blood rushed out of his face and he nearly fainted? Yes, vey dopey.”
“Ah, sibling rivalry and young love,” Gomez sighed happily. “Brings back memories, eh, ‘tish?”
“Oui,” she agreed, smiling coquettishly.
“Morticia,” he purred, “you spoke French.”
“Mon Cher,”she murmured, falling into his arms.
“Cara Mia,” he groaned, before smothering her in kisses.
“Oy vey,” Wednesday muttered, disgusted. “Damned if I’m ever doing that.”
“Yeah,” Pugsley agreed. “Want to go find Uncle Fester and blow up a bullfrog?”
Galen Smith rocked back on his feet, a look of horror on his face. “Oh, my dear good sweet gods on their respective pogo sticks. That is…”
“Beyond words,” Wednesday agreed sourly. “Reminds me of Camp Chippiwa.”
“With the gay counselor and the blond bimboes?” he asked curiously.
“It shows their influence, doesn’t it?”
“Well, I was thinking Jackson Pollock in LSD, but your description is pretty good.”
“Thank you. Shall we meet my parents?”
He went pale.
“We could,” she added with surprising tact, “meet yours.”
He went even paler.
“Or, we could find some way to wipe the brainless smiles off of the bleach blond brain-dead bimboes who decorated this place.”
“Now, there’s a situation I could agree with.”
“I’ll get Pugsley to place the explosives.”
Morticia was sipping champagne with the principal, idly wishing that it was either blood or red wine. How the principal nattered on. For some reason, she had immediately separated her from her husband, speaking to her in a ‘just us girls’ tone that set her teeth to gritting. She idly examined her long nails, and wondered if the police would object to her eviscerating the annoying woman with them (in her youth, those nails had come in handy when performing biopsies). She sighed. They probably would be grateful, but laws were laws.
“As I was saying, Morti-“ Her nattering was interrupted by an absolutely appalling shriek that emanated from the PA system. It sounded like a banshee. Morticia thought it sounded quite soothing, but the principal apparently didn’t agree. The sound- a feedback squeal caused by the PA being activated, if she recalled what Pugsley told her about electronics- ended, and a very familiar voice took its place.
“Greetings, students and teachers; victims all.” At this point, a deep evil laugh was heard; Pugsley, most likely. There was a scuffle, and the words “Shut it, Chubby, and give the mike to your sister,” could be discerned, and then the voice that had insulted Pugsley muttered, “My turn anyway. Ahem. As much as I despise cliché’s, I believe that a quotation from Dante Alighieri would not go amiss. ‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.’”
This, it would seem, was a signal to whoever was manning the explosives. Multicolored flares exploded behind the stage, causing the paper streamers that covered the gym to catch fire.
“First,” the PA mused, “Fire.”
The ground shook, the tiles cracked, and a hand reached out of the broken floor to grab at the principal’s skirt. “EEEEEK,” she squealed, putting a good five e’s in it. She frantically tried to pull away, but only succeeded in pulling Thing along with her.
All around, guests were frantically trying to flee the hordes of Thing’s relatives, who were crawling up out of the ground and diving up skirts and down shirts and into trousers and punch-bowls. Wednesday, Morticia decided, had really outdone herself. Of course, she had the aid of her brother, and this mysterious boyfriend-who-was-nothing-of-the-sort; still, it was impressive. How sad that the majority of the guests did not appreciate it properly. Only the family was looking on with calm; Gomez smoking his cigarette, Grandmama cackling with evil humor, and Fester rubbing his hands together in a gesture of maniacal glee.
“Then, Earth,” Wednesday said, continuing the quote.
“What comes next, anyway?”
True to her word (the word of an Addams always being good, if a little slippery), the walls, damaged by the earthquake, gave in, water gushing from the broken pipes. The family, to avoid damage to their expensive clothing, clambered up onto the table, and watched the proceedings.
“And finally, Air.”
And, lo and behold, the air was filled with bats. Big bats, little bats, black bats, brown bats, fruit bats, vampire bats, even the rare Blueberry-Eater of Down-East Maine.
Those few, poor souls who had remained, screamed even louder than before, the blonds’ hands going to their hair to defend it from the ravages of the bats. Not that it did much to keep the bat guano, which came down in large amounts, from ruining their hair, but that’s beside the point.’
On the heels of the bats, there was an even greater surprise. Owls. We won’t torment you with a recitation of the various types of owls, and you wouldn’t believe us anyway, but suffice it to say that there were many of them.
Needless to say, the mess that they made was even more horrible than the bats, but at least the owls left quickly. For some reason, they had apparently chosen to saturation-bomb the area with letters, which were written on beautiful ivory parchment.
Wednesday, Pugsley, and Galen picked their way delicately over the guano and pellets. That is to say, Wednesday and Galen picked, and Pugsley stomped with relish. Galen stooped, plucking a clean letter from the top of the pile. “Huh,” he muttered.
“Look at this, Wednesday. It’s addressed to ‘Wednesday Addams, Pugsley Addams, and Galen Smith; Auditorium, Miskatonic High, Somewhere naturally Unplottable.’ What the heck does that mean?”
“Who cares?” she replied coolly. “Read the letter, and it might make sense.”
“Be a laugh even if it doesn’t,” Pugsley agreed.
The letter, it turned out, read:
HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
Headmistress: Minerva McGonagall (Order of Merlin, First Class)
Dear Prospective Students,
Your rather inventive use of wandless magic has been noted by the American Mages Council, and, rather than punish you for your breach of the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Magicking and the International Statute Of Secrecy, they have requested and required that the three of you attend a proper school of the Magickal Arts within the next term. While it has been a tradition of the Addams family to be homeschooled in their unique branch of magic, it is the opinion of the American government that this tradition ought, sadly, to be laid aside if it endangers the secrecy of the Wizarding World. As such, you are required to attend a School of the Arts before the next term. Now, there are several excellent schools in the Americas which you should, of course, look into; however, as I have some clout in the Wizenagomot and other boring government associations, our school has been allowed to write you first. Hogwarts, as you may know, is one of the premier wizarding schools on the face of the planet (if you would excuse the pride of an old man). I believe that your (that is, the Addams’s) grandmother, Eudora Frump, attended Hogwarts. I seem, actually, to remember her when she was a first year, melting a cauldron… but I digress.
Hogwarts would be pleased to have all three of you in our halls, and we await your owl with eagerness.
Deaputy Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
“Hogwarts,” Morticia said happily. “Oh, how pleasant. Your cousin Severus teaches Potions there.”
“Will he teach us how to brew poisons?” Wednesday asked enthusiastically.
“If you ask him nicely, certainly.”
“So,” Gomez growled, ignoring their conversation to focus on Galen. “You’re the boy Wednesday mentioned, are you?”
Galen didn’t cringe, but rather settled into a subtly different stance, balancing his weight in preparation for flight or… more flight. “That would be me.”
“Mummifying rats together, eh?”
“Ah, young love. Me boy, after a presentation like that, how could we do anything but like you?” Gomez seemed to measure him. “Hmm. Bit too early to draw up the betrothal contracts, but I suppose that can wait.”
“Betrothal?” Galen squeaked.
“He’s just playing with you,” Wednesday said coolly. “It’s a family tradition.”
“Oh, good. After all, she hasn’t even asked me causally, much less proposed on bended knee.” He let a fake pout cross his face. “And I want an engagement ring, too.” After a glance at Wednesday’s face, he added, “I’m joking, too.”
“About Hogwarts,” Morticia murmured diplomatically. “We would be overjoyed to send you, Wednesday, Pugsley. Grandmama is always talking about the good old days and Hogwarts. The dungeons. The ghosts. The Forbidden Forest. If, of course, you want to go.”
“Of course we want to go,” she replied. “How else could we conquer the world, if we don’t have proper training?”
“There’s me girl,” Gomez applauded.
“And how about you, Galen?” Morticia asked kindly. “Do you think your parents would allow you to go to Hogwarts?”
Galen looked embarrassed. “Well, they are kind of… religious.” He blushed. “In a normal, if fanatical, way. Baptists. I think they’ll blow a gasket.”
Wednesday laid a comforting hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry,” she said, drawing a scalpel out of her pocket. “We’ll take care of them for you.”