Operating Instructions for Mother’s Wardrobe

Remove key before entering
Place key in pocket
Enter and close door
Do not step into empty shoes as these may dance disobediently once on
Do not eat the mothballs scattered on the floor
Crouch into the dark space between mother’s coats
Remain perfectly still until the coats begin to whisper
Do not enter their conversation at any cost
Try to remember something from their conversation, especially if it puzzles you
Do not give them the key that is in your pocket, no matter what they tell you
Do not answer them back if they ask for it
When opening the door again, check the coats for any of your stray hairs
Under no circumstances leave any stray hairs behind
On leaving, lock the door
No one must know the secret of the wardrobe except you
Tell no one what you heard

—John W. Sexton