The Dictators’ Guide to Good Housekeeping



by Mr. Mobutu

You need good fertilizer and a lot of it. Get some people to spread

down, enough for a whole field. Get their children to fill in the edges.

Over that, you bring in the dirt for a hard-packed covering, but you

must keep it smooth. It takes awhile to bring in enough dirt, so all you

hear is the silence of the field and not the things growing, underneath.



Caring for Pets

by Mr. Botha

The dogs will bark while they’re chained and there is nothing you can

do about that. I feed them enough to keep them hungry and their teeth

sharp. Look for the heft of the thigh, the shiny flank. You can breed

loyalty just like you can breed killing. Give them permission to do

nothing except your command. Otherwise they may be found dead,

no matter how fond of them you thought you had become.



A Clean House

by Mr. Milosovic

You should be able to smell your own fingers and smile. I have three

binders of evidence, despite the locked truck they pulled from the lake.

Make sure you dispose of all your garbage. In the waking daylight,

you must be able to show you have scraped away what is contaminated –

even if you’re not tidy, at least have pride in your work.




Appliances in Good Order

by Mr. Pinochet

Sometimes you have to do the job yourself, and for those unexpected or

even planned events, good tools make all the difference. You don’t want

to have to rip the doors off the oven or wrench the dishwasher’s ball

bearings loose. You want to move so slowly you can feel the grease

in the air, see the metal entrails on the floor before you even raise your hand.

Make sure you keep the manual close. Some parts are difficult to put back.


Originally published in Potomac.