The Baby-Sitter by Davis Grubb

The Baby-Sitter is the first selection to be from an author collection instead of a magazine. It originally appeared in Davis Grubb’s second collection titled The Siege of 318: Thirteen Mystical Stories. Davis Grubb had much of his work adapted to film, his stories appeared on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Night Gallery, as the feature film Fool’s Parade, and the classic noir film The Night of the Hunter.

The Baby-Sitter tells the story of a babysitter hired to watch an infant and a set of of six year old twins overnight. She is notified by both of the parents that there is a gun in the house and to be careful of it. That night at 2am she goes downstairs to find one of the twins sitting in a chair holding the M-16.

This is the first story in the collection that elicited a physical response in me. I started to feel so much anxiety I wanted to put the book down. I found the warning about the gun at the beginning of the story to be very on the nose, but other than that it felt like a very taut story. Grubb knows how to ratchet up the stakes with a baby upstairs, an increasingly upset child, his brother who wants to hold the gun, and a safety that may or may not be on. These are all in addition to a tension inducing update as to where the barrel is pointing. As the tension rises the babysitter has to keep switching tactics until the terrifying conclusion. Living in the United States with our insane gun laws has made me very scared of excessive firepower and guns being in the wrong hands. This story played into my fears perfectly.

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