Based on Actual Events
I’ve been having some fridge issues lately.
The compressor on it has been wheezing, struggling to rev up. It sounds like an old man with an oxygen tank walking up the stairs because the elevator broke, dragging a breath with each step, getting both feet on a stair before he goes to the next.
The freezer was working just fine, which is probably why I underestimated just how lazy the fridge had become.
I failed to realize that what I had sitting in my kitchen was essentially a two hundred pound ice machine.
The contents of the fridge were a box of baking soda, a bottle of lime juice, some salad dressing and a bowl of rice. This doesn’t include the crisper drawer.
Now, I’d long ago abandoned the societal norm that is grocery shopping, so this wasn’t necessarily an inconvenient occurrence. I have far more important things to do than spend an hour in a grocery store once a week. Star Trek is streaming on Netflix, that’s an hour of watching Kirk beat the hell out Godzilla’s cousin, Marvin the Transgender Gorn right there. I don’t have that kind of time to waste walking up and down aisles, comparing unit prices, double checking produce codes, dodging old Diabetic women in shopping cart-Rascals, telling old ladies to fuck off when they get mouthy with me because they were blocking a checkout lane with their cart reading OK! magazine. Look lady, you were in the wrong here, you had no reason to cop an attitude with me!
Normally, I’ll grab some soup or a wrap from a gas station on my way home from work. If I absolutely have to I’ll hit up a 24-hour supermarket, but usually it’s just me and the floor crew with most of the lights turned off. At least I assume that’s a 24-hour store, I mean, the doors are open, there’s that creepy woman with the glassy eyes and crazy hair working the self checkout counter. Maybe she just wandered in off the street, I don’t know, as long as I get my rice crackers and High Life, I don’t really care.
So I haven’t actually used the fridge in weeks, I haven’t needed to. I have a beer fridge I’ll throw some leftovers in if I have any. And therein lies the problem.
I didn’t open that fridge for weeks.
I can’t tell you what prompted me to suddenly open the door to my fridge, but rest assured I shall never do so again without first arming myself.
Everything seemed OK at first. The salad dressing and lime juice, while seemingly fine were both sealed safely within their bottles and into the trash they went. The box of baking soda that had been in there for six years soon followed; inactive, docile it vanished into the bowels of the garbage can.
The bowl of rice sat so unassuming in the back of the fridge covered with tinfoil. I ran out of SaranWrap three years ago and have yet to buy more. Perhaps, had this not been the case, what is to follow could have been avoided.
Everything seemed fine during the trek from the fridge to the trash can. The carefree journey may have made me complacent, and without considering the consequences I peeled back the tinfoil.
All appeared well at first glance, until one noticed some curious black splotches.
And then the smell.
Imagine if one had made some pea soup, wrapped it in cabbage, since cabbage just sounds like it smells terrible, stuffed it in a dead body and locked it in your trunk for a week in July, then chopped it up and mixed it with some rice.
That’s the smell that literally punched me in the nuts. It waited for a clean shot too. This was a tricksy nut-shot smell. It waited for me to peel back that foil, to see the black splotches that had taken root on my rice, and then—then!—as I leaned just that little bit closer, my head cocked in an, “I am such a dumb shit I’m going to lean towards this mysterious alien life,” kind of way—WHAM!
The smell struck.
I doubled over, my stomach contracting, seizing, screaming; the bile rose in my throat and my lungs lunged for any orifice through which to escape.
And the creature born of my asthmatic fridge (who for some reason I’ve named Captain Ron) made it appearance.
The bowl of rice shuddered in my hand, but busy as I was trying not to vomit all over myself, I barely noticed. Then the tentacle whipped out from under the crusty white morsels.
Captain Ron’s tentacle wrapped around my throat and the bowl of rice flew from my hand as I staggered back, slamming into the sink. The rice, of course, had hardened together in the bowl—no, it had merged with the bowl—the rice and the plastic Glad-ware bowl had become one evil ricey tentacled beast!
Another tentacle shot out of the rice, encircling my wrist, then another bore forth, taking my other hand. Tentacle One tightened around my throat and I fought the other two, reaching, clawing, struggling to grasp the one around my neck.
Rice tentacles are fucking strong.
Then there was another one, I don’t know where it came from—no wait, it came from the bowl of rice, nevermind—there was another one! This one went Cobra Kai on me and swept my leg. I hit that linoleum hard. Any breath I had left sputtered out as Captain Ron tightened his grip around my throat.
I was sitting up—at least he hadn’t managed to push me down completely, but he had my arms and my legs too if I wasn’t careful. I was kicking and leg flailing like a River dancer having a bad dream to keep that damn Johnny Lawrence tentacle from grabbing hold. I was seeing stars—this shit was getting real. There was only one hope, but it was slim.
On the counter in front of me I could see the edge of the cutting tray I’d used for my frozen pizza last night. I never clean up after pizza, there’s too many important things to do, like eat pizza, so I knew the pizza cutter was still there, cheese and probably some peppers hardened to it. It’d been a supreme pizza, so I’m sure there were some onions stuck to it too—but that’s not important, man, focus!
I kicked frantically for the cutting tray. And missed, of course. And damnit that hurt. I don’t like to wear shoes inside, so I was barefoot. I just kicked a formica countertop barefoot, that hurts. I kicked again sending the cutting tray and pizza cutter into the air. I was already throwing myself forward when they hit ground a few feet away.
Captain Ron was strong, though, and smart. He knew what I was doing. He knew that kitchen better than I did. Those tentacles slammed me back into the cabinet. I could hear wood splintering and those friggin knobs stabbed into my back.
But I didn’t have much time, Tentacle One was growing stronger. It was only a matter of time before I lost consciousness. I’m not really sure what the evil rice tentacles’ plan for me was at the point, I mean, I guess they were going to eat me, but I’m not sure exactly. Really didn’t want to find out either, if we’re being perfectly honest here.
I lunged forward again, and this time it was enough. Well, enough to fall completely flat on my face. Captain Ron still had my hands, and I was reaching forward with everything I had left. I felt that damn Johnny Lawrence tentacle wrap around my ankles, binding my legs together.
I was almost there; I almost had the pizza cutter.
Tentacle One tightened still—how the hell can it keep getting tighter? Seriously, how has it not crushed my windpipe already?
I had it! My right hand gripped the pizza cutter. I was right—there were onions on it too!
I rolled over and used my momentum to just kind of flail wildly with the pizza cutter. It was absolutely sheer luck that I actually connected with the tentacle that had my left hand. Even covered in crusty day old pizza cheese that cutter did the job. It sliced right through that tentacle.
Well, not all the way through it, I mean, it’s just a pizza cutter, we’re not talking a fucking Hattori Hanzō here. I bought it from a gas station for two dollars.
It cut it enough, OK, that’s my point.
So that tentacle goes flailing about, spraying weird tentacle goo all over the place, since that’s what cut tentacles do.
And Captain Ron shrieks. That bowl of rice is just shrieking like a shrill little pre-pubescent banshee—which is amazing, I didn’t know bowls of rice could do that. Even bowls of rice with tentacles.
I take out Tentacle One next with my pizza slicer—
—and that one starts spraying goo all over too.
The tentacle around my right hand has let up, but its still holding on, so I switch my pizza slicer—which in the heat of battle I named The Quiet Storm—to my left and slice up that tentacle—
—so, yeah, more goo.
Then it’s just me and the Johnny Lawrence tentacle.
He lets go of my ankles to reassess his tentacley plan of attack and I scramble back. I have my back up against the wall, cabinets to the right of me, that son of a bitch fridge to my left. He’s flailing all over, lashing out at me, taking swipes hoping to knock away The Quiet Storm.
Not gonna happen Johnny Lawrence!
Me and The Quiet Storm have become one—forged in the fires of perdition and battle tested in the unholy wasteland that is my kitchen! That pizza slicer is an extension of me now. Like lightning we strike—
—and Johnny Lawrence tentacle goes down, carved up into nice little sushi sized bites.
And all that’s missing is a little rice to roll him in.
That’s right, I’m coming for you Captain Ron.
I climb to my feet. I’m covered in goo from these tentacles, seriously it’s all over me, and it tastes awful. Its in my mouth, up my nose, it’s totally in my hair. This isn’t cool. I feel like I just starred in a tentacle goo bukkake film. I don’t feel good about this.
And I turn my attention to what’s left of Captain Ron.
That bowl of rice is shuddering, its shrieking has all but died out Its limp useless tentacles are twitching and flailing, spasming involuntarily. Still fucking leaking goo all over my floor—how much goo can be in those things?
And then I hear a sound that takes me by surprise. I hear… crying.
As if the shrieking wasn’t weird enough (from a bowl of rice that’s grown tentacles and apparently become self aware) now Captain Ron is crying.
Again, the thought of what may be lurking beneath the surface of that black-splotched rice terrifies me, but I have to get this shit out of my house. I approach it carefully, The Quiet Storm ready in hand. With my free hand I grab the tinfoil and cover the container as best I can what with the dead gooey tentacles sticking out.
The crying sounds even more pathetic now through the tinfoil, but I really, really have to get this out of my house.
I whisper an apology to Captain Ron and the crying sputters for a second. I think he sniffles in understanding. (Really, he can sniffle? He has a nose in there?)
Into the garbage can that all goes and I kind of use The Quiet Storm to shovel the tentacles in there. Picking up all the bits of Johnny Lawrence tentacle takes a little more time, but I’m pretty sure I got all of him there.
But that’s when it happens.
I take a deep breath, which is a lot easier now without a tentacle around my neck, and I’m about to pull the drawstring on the garbage bag.
It’s my own fault really, I thought everything was fine. I thought it was all over. That’s when it always happens, isn’t it?
Because then the fridge shudders.
To be continued…