by John Little
Misdirected gift package
Somebody is knocking at the door. He opens it and looks out at the Postal Worker.
She looks up in annoyance. "How the hell should I know. You need to sign for it."
As he signs, "I'm not expecting a package ..."
"This is, 1284 First Street?"
"Then this is yours." He reflexively takes the package she shoves in his face.
Damn. Now it's mine. I hate it when that happens.
"This isn't MINE! Look! No name! And the address! What, is it Russian or something? I can't read it!" He tries to shove it back at her.
She grins slyly and steps back a step. "Nah-uh. Postal Inspector claims it says 1284 First Street. Merry Christmas!"
He watches her walk away as he is left holding the bag, er, package.
He closes the door with his right foot and places the package on the coffee table next to his notes for his unfinished PhD dissertation.
He eyes the package critically, and fumbles with the weirdly textured wrapping. Suddenly, the wrapping falls away, curls up into a tiny ball, and poof! it disappears.
It looks like a toaster oven. Another flipping toaster oven. Why do people buy cheap toaster ovens for gifts when they can't think of anything else?
No control panel. And the owner's manual is in Russian or Chinese, or something.
Tossing the manual on his new oven, he goes to the kitchen for a cup of coffee.
Spinning around, he sees the oven is now open. Well. The front panel is missing, so -- that's open. Right?
Inside a hot steaming cup of coffee sits beckoning.
He slowly backs away, trips over the couch, and falls on his butt. And just stares. The toaster silently stares back. Slowly, he gets up, tentatively reaches for the cup, and cautiously blows into the still-steaming cup.
The aroma is intoxicating. He pushes his terror down deep and gingerly sips.
"Damn, that's good!"
He looks up and the toaster oven is now 'closed'.
Deep breath, dude. Relax. Be one with the moment. Enjoy the coffee.
After a while, soothed by the really good coffee, he looks around, noticing his dissertation spread across the room.
I wish I was done with that already.
The front of the oven just, disappears, and he sees a bound dissertation in the maw of that beast.
No way, dude.
He reaches into the oven, staying as far away as possible, and yanks the paper out.
His eyes go wide.
It, just, reappeared! The front of the oven, it just ... poof!.
Looking at the dissertation, it is his. Name, title, university, everything. It IS his. Written in his style, with his research, with his ideas!
Ok ok. Observation, hypothesis, test. Rinse, and repeat.
He closes his eyes, not knowing if that helps, and imagines, what? He can't think! Something simple. The remote! He lost it a few days ago, and had to ...
He opens his eyes.