Two days in September, 2006.
John asked last Thursday if I wanted to store my leftover Chinese in his work refrigerator. He had his own, since he didn’t like his food in close proximity to that of others. Also, he didn’t trust people wouldn’t steal it. “If I put it there to tempt them, I’m helping to create the problem,” he said. I accepted his kind offer.
I opened his fridge and all that was in it was his own Styrofoam Chinese leftovers on the bottom and a half gallon water bottle sitting on top of it. Earlier he had mentioned the water: “Man, I got the greatest deal at the gas station this morning. Look at this. Big sonofabitch. Only a dollar. You can’t buy anything anymore for a dollar. When I saw this, I had to buy it. It’s from Iceland.”
I removed the bottle and placed my leftovers behind his before returning the bottle to its place. A few minutes later, John came into my office. “How did you find that back part of the fridge? I never saw that. I thought that thing was kind of shallow.” He paused and looked truly puzzled. “I wondered why the freezer was so small. Now I get it.”
His eyes lit up, inspired. “Shit, maybe you should come to my house. You’ll probably find a couple rooms I never knew were there. I don’t notice anything. Maybe there’s an appendage I didn’t know about.” He glanced down at his pants zipper. “If I had known that space was there I wouldn’t have had to change my underwear so many times a day.”
John came to me with an air of secrecy, seriousness. “I have to tell you something. I had a very, very strange experience.” He walked into my office and closed the door. I was thinking about leaving for lunch, but I could tell he was bothered.
“I went to that bathroom down the hall where no one ever is so I could get some privacy. There was a floater in the toilet. I flushed it, but it came back. Popped right up. I couldn’t wait any longer, though, so I sat down to do my business–poop.” I’m not sure why he had to add the word “poop,” but it seemed important to him that I get all the details.
“I get done, right, and flush. I was washing my hands at the sink, and I glanced back. That sonofabitch popped back up again. It was yellow and puffed up.” He filled his cheeks with air. “It wouldn’t go away. Mine was gone. This thing was back. Like that sonofabitch before me must have eaten packing peanuts or something.”
He looked at me intensely, like he had just returned from a cave full of enemy combatants. “I swear it was a ghost.”
“If someone else would have been there and had seen what I saw, they would have had to go home. Or put a whole roll of toilet paper on it to weigh it down. Hell, I thought about smashing the toilet. . .” He was beginning to sweat. “Who knows? It may have levitated out of the toilet by now and its floating around the hallway scaring people. Probably after me. It could sense that I was trying to drown it.”
I stared at John, not knowing exactly what to say. He didn’t seem to mind. He opened my door, looked back at me and said, “Thank you. I had to get that off my chest.
These Stories are not found in It Happened Yestermorrow: Stories Written Two Minutes Before Waking