The Damnedest Thing

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A man finds the damnedest thing in his kitchen.

Submitted: December 21, 2011

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Submitted: December 21, 2011

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The Damnedest Thing

 

 

It started with the arrival of a photograph. Nothing special, just a Xeroxed missing child. Please contact blah blah blah. One of many.

I hadn’t seen the kid before, so I tossed it in the trash without a second thought.

It was two-thirty in the afternoon, and I was on my fourth drink of the day. Don’t judge me. Football was on. My friends were all tailgating, but I had opted out so I wouldn’t have to watch my ex dry-hump her new boyfriend in a shameless attempt to punish me for not loving her enough.

Fuck her.

I heard a noise in the basement, and went down to investigate. The wrought-iron spiral stairs wobbled more than usual. The fevered arrhythmia beat out by the loose bar grew more intense with every step. One of many annoyances I planned to fix some day, but never got around to.

“Stupid cats,” I thought, “making me miss the game.” Of course I could have simply rewound the DVR, but that didn’t occur to me at the time.

In my rush and stupor I failed to notice that the already low ceiling was lower than normal. Halfway into the den I was stooping.

Consumed with locating the source of the crash, and getting back to the game, I continued not to notice the ceiling’s slow descent. Silly I know, but I’m a novice alcoholic and, I’d like to think, a temporary one. About the time my knee hit the carpet, I realized what was happening. The drop-ceiling had come loose from the wall and was slowly sliding down. It was probably my fault for over-feeding the cats. They were always running around up there.

In any case, I tried to force the ceiling back where it belonged, but it collapsed into a pile all around me, a problem for another time. Back up the stairs I went. Down the hall, past the bathroom, I was almost to the couch when I saw it out of the corner of my eye.

The damndest thing was slouched on the floor of my kitchen, leaning against the corner cabinets, looking at me through sad, droopy eyelids. Its skin was opalescent, translucent, and wet. Its head had a sort of fishlike quality, but its body was a pudgy caricature of human; like Elmer Fudd fucked a carp.

I blinked, and stared through the doorway. It stared right back, silent, still, looking helpless more than anything, certainly not threatening.  The only really disturbing thing was how very out of place it was. It was somehow less startling than if there had been a strange human in there, probably because I was preoccupied with the obvious questions. What was it? How did it get into my kitchen? What did it want?

Whatever it was, I wanted it out of my house. I stepped into the kitchen and demanded to know what its game was. I demanded to know how it got in. It continued to stare silently, so I grabbed a butcher knife out of the block, and demanded it leave.

No luck.

What to do? I couldn’t stomach the thought of having to touch it, and I’m not one for killing things that I don’t have to. I heard myself compelling it to leave in the name of Jesus Christ. Odd how things from our childhood pop up sometimes.

The thing only stared.

The thing was starting to piss me off. I approached, pointing at it with that knife, screaming, making more demands, all to no avail.

I kicked it, which turned out to be a mistake. Aside from making my slipper slimy, it goaded the beast into defense mode. It sat up and began to slowly rotate towards me, God knows how. Its knees were against its chest, arms hugging its knees, spinning at the rate of a microwave dinner. Then I noticed the tail growing slowly from beneath. It was a little thicker than my thumb, barbed, and disturbingly reminiscent of the Hentai my brother used to watch.

I’d had enough. The knife came down, deflating its head and then the body, collapsing it into a gelatinous pancake.

It died like a wet fart.

I was dragging it towards the door with the knife when I noticed something moving under the surface. Like an idiot, I investigated, slicing open the squirmy area to reveal what looked like two tiny rubber-duckies circling each other. One was red, the other green.

“What the fuck?” I asked. They didn’t respond.

I scooped them onto a plate and they immediately fell back into their strange dance, circling like little buzzards beneath my blade. They had bodies like play-doh, same all the way through, no moving parts. Even sliced they continued to circle. In a last ditch effort to make them die, I flipped on the stove and scraped them into the frying pan, which still held half my breakfast. Thick black smoke spiraled from the pan like carcinogenic DNA, but even melted they continued to spin.

The green one came into contact with a sizzling puddle of grease, and popped, splashing my hand. I jumped back, yelping, then ran to the sink to wash it off. I scrubbed and scrubbed, but the little green specks had fused with my skin. Little green freckles in the shape of a fish.

I grabbed the pan, flung the contents into the backyard, then reinserted the knife into the larger mass and dragged it to the curb. The trip was made infinitely more strange by the beautiful Spring weather. So much normalcy going on outside; dogs, birds, children playing, adults grilling, blissfully unaware that at any moment they could find a fish-man in their kitchen.

I left the pan on the deck, came in, and locked the door. My heart was going crazy. I was sweating, and foaming at the mouth. What was happening? I hadn’t had that much to drink. Could this be Marcy’s doing? Had she spiked my beer somehow? No, she wasn’t that kind of crazy.

I glanced at my wound, and couldn’t believe my eyes. The area around the burn was starting to shimmer. The flesh was pale with hints of pink and green, just like the creature.

I needed to see a doctor, so I ran from the house, but my car was gone. I ran to the curb, consumed with the need to see the thing, to prove that what I knew was happening was only paranoia. But the husk was gone as well. I ran to the deck. The pan was there, but its contents were nowhere to be found.

Was it possible that the creature was still alive? That it had oozed away to lick its wounds? That it would be back?

I looked everywhere: under the deck, around the sides, and finally the shed. That’s where I found her, the child from the flyer, grinning and hugging her knees. I must have fainted. The next thing I knew I was here, in your kitchen. You with that horrible expression, pointing that knife at me.

Why are you being so excitable? I only want to lay here for a while. I’m very depressed. As I’ve explained, my girlfriend left me recently, and I’m having the strangest day.

Ouch!


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