By Kevin Candela
What would you do with a package with no return address that held only a tiny metal box with a single button on one side? Would you push the button?
The corrugated cardboard package, left on my front porch that Friday, was soaked from the April drizzle by the time I got home. The only words on it were my name and address…in letters clipped out of magazines. See? No clue at all. I shook the box. No sound. Damn.
Like anyone else I’ve made a few enemies in life. But I couldn’t think of any who’d be sending me a bomb. Why did I think someone sent me a bomb? The lettering? Laughing at myself, I peeled the mailing tape off and opened it. There amidst a sea of Styrofoam dots sat a dull gray box with a little red button on top. I have to admit the urge to click it was immediate.
How I let it sit there on the table for two days I still don’t know. What I DO know is that I couldn’t concentrate on anything else during that time. I didn’t sleep; I napped for ten minutes to an hour at a time. I couldn’t focus to watch a TV show and I went nearly a day before I remembered I needed to eat.
Damn, I wanted to push that button!
I finally noticed my own reek late Sunday afternoon. During my shower the next apartment’s washing machine pulled all my hot water momentarily, and it was that chilling slap in the face that finally convinced me to get over my goofy paranoia and go for it.
The thing was like two inches square, I told myself. What the hell could it do?
More than you’d think, it turned out. Not sure who made the damned thing but six of us are inside it now. Nobody gets hungry but it sure is boring and tedious in here. My best guess is it was made by a mad scientist with a warped sense of humor. Or a crazed immortal wizard.
What a jerk.
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