Hey there, neighbor! Beautiful afternoon, am I right? Couldn’t picture a more perfect day, so I thought it’d be a great chance to catch up on a little home improvement. By the way, thanks again for letting me borrow your hedge trimmer last weekend — you probably already noticed that I got a little overzealous there with those azalea bushes, ha ha!

Oh, this? Nothing major, really. Just smearing some lamb’s blood over the ol’ front door here.

Why? Well, neighbor, one can never be too careful these days. You don’t buckle up every morning expecting to get in a car wreck, do you? Of course not. You do it on the off chance some maniac, high out of his gourd on bath salts, slams into your new Jetta over there. Nice color, by the way. You said, “No,” to that additional undercoating, right? Smart man. That’s how they get you. Very sneaky. Much like Death itself.

Hey, could you do me a favor and hold this here metal vat while I climb down the ladder? Thank you kindly. Careful not to splash any on your clothes. This bucket of blood will stain something fierce!

Call me a Nervous Nelly, but I just want cover all my bases, y’know? I mean, have you seen the headlines? Every day it’s something else, and well, it got me to thinking — heck, ten years ago I would have bet my firstborn that a proto-fascist administration with Russian sympathies could never con its way into the White House. But now, here we are, and Jeremy just made All-Star lacrosse.

I think even you’ll admit the cold shadow of vengeance looms over us all lately. Would you really be all that surprised if a personification of the Lord’s justice passed through each cul-de-sac here in the Evergreen Gardens Homesteaders Association, claiming firstborns left and right? Waldorf or Montessori kid, makes no difference to Him. So yeah, I’m going on ahead and coating my front door with an extra layer of this here precious, precious blood from the first dead lamb that I got my hands on.

Care for some lemonade? Linda just made a fresh pitcher-full. Between you and me, I always add a little extra sugar when no one’s looking. Ain’t good for the diabetes, but what do you reckon kills you faster: hyperglycemia, or divine punishment physically manifest on the whole of the land? Linda, dear, could you bring us a couple glasses of lemonade? And another paint brush for our neighbor here! You don’t mind chipping in for just a second, do you? Much as I hate to admit it, you’re a good six inches taller than me, and a reach like that has gotta be second only to Jeremy’s. The prodigal son himself is off volunteering at the nursing home — such a sweet boy — and I wanna make sure the Reaper knows this house takes its collective sin very seriously.

That’s it, really coat that sucker in the sacrificial blood of atonement. Now, I’m no Bible-thumper, as they say. But there comes a time in every man’s life when he must step up to the spiritual plate for his family. A man’s home is your castle, as the saying goes, and this castle aims to keep its line of succession as is. You think our youngest in there, Keith, has what it takes to make All-Star anything? I know he’s five years Jeremy’s younger, but hell, he could at least learn how to catch a damn football, or something. Linda coddles him too much, honestly. I’m always telling her that. If anyone needs to lay off the sweets, it’s him. Maybe if Jeremy’s and Keith’s ages were swapped, I wouldn’t be holding this dripping bucket of sacrificial gore, know what I mean? Ha ha!

Anyway.

Yeah, that oughta do it. Let’s see any heavenly specter try to get past this ancient blood magic, am I right? I really do appreciate the help, bud. And hey, looks like there’s enough left here for another entryway, should you want it. You sure? Well, let me know if you change your mind before the Reckoning. It’s the least you can do to protect you and yours. Like seatbelts in a Jetta, I’m telling you.

Look, I know we’ve had our political disagreements in the past, what with me sticking with my protest vote and all. But I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong, and this whole “collusion with a foreign enemy at the highest echelons of our once sacred democracy that may good and well usher in a new plague of woe upon the unprepared?” Well, neighbor, egg on my face. So, I’m no hero. Just a man trying to do my part now to ensure this remains the Land of the Free for our most prized natural resource: the next generation.

Plus, I mean, with all the Jeremy’s in the world gone, who’ll look after us in our golden years? Chub tubs like Keith? Are you kidding me?