eerie empty refrigerator

Kyle opened the fridge to grab a beer.  “Hey, bro.  How could you?”

“What, man?” Darius hollered towards the kitchen from the living room, still engrossed in his WWII Flying Aces game, his fingers dancing rapidly over the controller as he shot down enemy planes.

“You ordered pizza without me!” Kyle retorted.  “And the last piece has mushrooms… you know I hate the fungi, bro.”

“What pizza?” Darius asked, still focused on his game as he leaned left with the wing of his aircraft as it tilted to avoid a retaliatory strike.

Kyle sauntered into the living room, beer in hand.  “What pizza?” he quipped as he rolled his eyes.  “The one in the fridge in the Pie Shack box with the last lonely fungi-ridden piece of crap in it…” he jeered.

“I didn’t get a pizza, man,” Daruis shrugged as he flew into a tailspin and crashed to the ground, struck down by enemy fire.  Again.  “You’re breaking my jive, man,” he said as he tossed the controller to the cluttered coffee table and got up to investigate.  He walked purposefully but nonchalantly to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator.

Sure enough, there was a Pie Shack pizza box there, on that weird mid-level shelf that’s too short to hold much of anything useful (like beer), above the well-stocked sea of Brew-skee Lowball Lager below, which took up the entire bottom shelf.  Darius opened the box to find a single piece of thin crust pizza bearing cheese, onions, peppers and mushrooms.  But no sausage.  He’d have ordered sausage.

“I dunno, man,” he replied as he grabbed a beer and popped the can tab.  “Pie’s not mine, no sausage…”  He returned to his game.

Kyle wandered down the hall shaking his head and mumbling, “Whatever, bro.”

The next morning, there were two slices of pizza in the box where the one had been the night before, both the same kind smothered in cheese, onions, peppers and funky wrinkled up black mushrooms.  Kyle smirked and grabbed a half-gallon jug of white liquid that was supposed to be milk out of the fridge door.  He unscrewed the cap, gave it a sniff, and put it back.  He grabbed the pizza and dissected it, removing the offending fungi and flicking them into the box lid before he stuffed the rest of the slice in his mouth.  After devouring both pieces, he tossed the box and mushroom bits in the trash and left.  Darius was still crashed out in his room.

After work, Kyle returned to find a new pizza box on the mid-level shelf above the Brew-skee.  The text on this box was greasy and obscured and almost appeared to read Pi Shaq.

“Who’s using our fridge?” he yelled down the hall.

Darius moaned.  “What?!” he shouted back from behind his closed door.

“Someone’s using our fridge, bro,” Kyle hollered as Darius stumbled down the hall and into the kitchen, scratching his head.

“Really, man?”  Darius shrugged and popped his shoulders.  He overflowed a bowl with Captain Crunch cereal and opened the fridge.  “Where’s the milk?”

“I dunno.  It should be in there,” said Kyle.  “There’s another pizza…”

They opened the Pi Shaq box to find a half of a large pizza, thick crust with red sauce and unappetizing green tentacles.  As the dim yellow warmth of the kitchen overhead light radiated over them, the tentacles appeared to almost… move…  Darius massaged his brow and shook his head as they closed the lid on the box, returning the tentacles to their dark comfort, and put it back in the fridge.

cheese-less pizza with green tentacles in transit between worlds, flashing static

“It’s gotta be those guys Brad and Marcus from 4B effing with us,” he said as he dumped half the remaining pot of coffee on his cereal and proceeded to shovel it into his mouth with what would have otherwise been a serving spoon.

“Fine,” retorted Kyle.  “I’ve got the tech – we’ll set ‘em up, Candid Camera style…”

“Whatever, man,” Darius replied as he retreated to his room, his bowl of coffee Captain Crunch in tow.

Kyle set up the webcam later that day, aimed and timed perfectly so that the motion sensor would set it off anytime anyone opened the refrigerator door.  But the only footage he got was of Darius grabbing a beer later that afternoon.

Yet, that evening when they returned from a Chinese run to the Red Devil up the street, they opened the fridge to find that the Pi Shaq box with the green tentacle pizza was gone.  And now there was a tripped out head in a jar in its place, shoved into the back right hand corner of the fridge on the top shelf.  Darius turned it around towards the corner, “so it’ll stop staring at us, man.”

Kyle dropped off his leftover Kung Pao Chicken and closed the refrigerator door.  He tweaked the webcam, tied up the trash with the first Pie Shack pizza box, and took it out to the dumpster.  Darius returned to his WWII Flying Aces game, beer in hand.

Later that night, Kyle opened the fridge to find that his Kung Pao Chicken was gone and the head jar was facing forward again.  A platter of what appeared to be sushi filled the mid-level shelf where the pizza boxes had appeared.  The overstuffed sushi rolls were filled to the brim with the same green tentacles, which writhed slowly when exposed to light.  Bulbous fish eyes in the middle of the tentacles seemed to follow their every move.

“Bro, check this out,” Kyle called to Darius.  Darius paused his game, wandered into the kitchen and had a look.  Together, they stared at the wriggling mass in silence.

“I don’t think it’s Brad and Marcus,” Darius finally spoke.  “What is it, man?”

“I dunno,” Kyle exclaimed.

“Well then, what should we do with it?” Darius asked.

Kyle grabbed the head jar and the platter and heaved them both into the trashcan, which was outfitted with a fresh new bag from after he’d taken out the previous Pie Shack box earlier.  They landed with a soft thud as they hit the empty bottom of the plastic bin.  He tugged the bag off of the edges of the trashcan, tied it off in a haphazard knot, and handed it to Darius.  “Your turn, bro,” he said.

Darius dragged the mess to the dumpster and hoisted it in.  When he returned they opened the fridge and stared.

It was completely empty.  There was no pizza, no milk, no Kung Pao Chicken, no sushi, no head jar…  Even the empty glass butter dish that had come with the fridge was gone.  But, most notably, the sea of Brew-skee Lowball Lager had vanished – there was no more beer to be found!

The refrigerator found itself on the curb beside the dumpster that very same night.

head in a jar peering out
Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.