Once upon a time, not so long ago, in a bustling Eastern bloc city called Sofia, there lived a small family named the Amerikanskis. The Amerikanskis were small in number. Papa Amerikanski worked for an internet company. Mama Amerikanka (a girl, hence the name change) mostly lived the life of a retiree, save for a few odd jobs here and there. And Baby Vladi, the Amerikanski hound, wandered the streets and snatched up forbidden foods.

It came to be that the Amerikanskis had to return to America for a couple of months to take care of “official business”. During their stay at home, they decided to leave Baby Vladi, the Amerikanski hound, in the United States so he would not have to suffer the injustice of being quarantined, a punishment all hounds who have lived abroad for 11 months or longer must face. From then on, Baby Vladi was known as B.Vladi, the Invisible Hound, or B.Vladi IH for short.

After a pleasant two month stay, the Amerikanskis returned to their temporary homeland. Their travel time was surprisingly short and smooth with minimal layovers in airports and no major flub ups from United Airlines. Upon arriving at their little flat at 11:30 at night, the Amerikanskis felt an odd aura as they opened their door. Things seemed…out of place.

The Amerikanskis walked into the dining/living room area.


Papa Amerikanski: Someone’s been sitting on my square foot of the couch.
Mama Amerikanka: Someone’s been sitting on my square foot of the couch.
B. Vladi IH (who still talks even though he is an ocean away): Someone’s been using my square foot of the floor…and LOOK!!…there are ashes from a cigarette STILL here.

Then the Amerikanskis took two steps to the kitchen.


Papa Americanski:
Someone’s been filling our trash can.
Mama Amerikanka: Someone’s been using our cooking oils and spices, leaving them all out on the counters.
B.Vladi IH: Someone’s been drinking nasty glasses of cold Nescafe…and LOOK!!!….there is a glass with the lip prints on it STILL here.

Slowly, the Amerikanskis crept three more steps into the bedroom/bathroom area of the house.


Papa Amerikanski:
Someone’s been using the towels.
Mama Amerikanka: Someone’s been using ALL my shampoo I left here so I wouldn’t waste the pounds in my luggage on toiletries.
B.Vladi IH: Someone’s been using the sheets…and LOOK!!…some are actually washed, dried and folded ready for our use, but the others are STILL in the washing machine. Ewwww!

And so the Amerikanskis set about solving the Mystery of the Flat.

Papa Amerikanski: Hmmm…well I left the clooch (key) with my partner in case he needed a respite from work and family.
Mama Amerikanka: Hmmm….well I think he left the clooch for someone else to have a respite as well.
B.Vladi IH: Well duh, people! That much is clear. There have been raging parties and secret rendevous in this place. Am I the only one that gets that? Sheesh. Sometimes these humans, I swear….lacking in deductive reasoning.

As B.Vladi IH lounged in his ascot and cravat, the Amerikanskis set about ridding the flat of these foreign smells and nasty habits. It took about two days of cleaning, scrubbing, laundering and grocery shopping. But in no time the place was theirs once again.

Papa Amerikanski: I have to talk to the guys at the office about this. I don’t mind if they use the place while we are gone, but they need to learn how to leave it in the same shape it was before.
Mama Amerikanka: Big, Papa, those guys are like 19 years old. Puh-leeze. Do you think they are going to learn the lesson? Just let it go. At least the place got used while we paid rent to NOT live in it. Consider it a fringe bennie from the job.
B.Vladi IH: (silence) (I mean, come on people, the dog is in America. Clearly we can’t hear what he has to say!!)

And so the Amerikanskis busted out their surfer dude calendar and began marking giant red exes to count the days until they were to return to the homeland. They lived happily ever after for the remaining 85 days in Bulgaria.