Posted: March 11, 2010 in Jeff Holland, Threat Quality
Tags: , ,

(Written at midnight)

I am having what has turned into a very strange day.

It started normally enough – actually, no. It started quite well, when I learned that my bonus this year would be much higher than I had assumed. High enough that I decided I could probably afford a Big Mac meal at McDonalds.

That’s about where it started, I think.

I sat, eating my Big Mac and reading M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman. As I read the line, “His flesh gave an involuntary shiver,” the overhead radio piped in “You’re the One that I Want” from the Grease soundtrack – “I got chills, all down my body.”

Ah. Strange. But, that kind of thing happens, and reading too much into coincidence is a fool’s game. Then, as I packed my things to return to the office, I heard the ching-ching-ching that one might reasonably assume were spurs, except…in what universe does one hear spurs at a McDonalds?

I looked around, and sure enough, a grizzled-looking man in a duster and an odd hat strolled into the restaurant. (Okay, “restaurant.”) “Huh. Guy thinks he’s a cowboy,” I grinned to myself, and headed out to the parking lot.

When I started the car, I looked out and saw this. This, being the EXACT reason I bring my camera with me at all times:

Son of a bitch, that guy really was a cowboy. What was a cowboy doing at McDonalds?

When I got back into the office, popped my headphones on, and read a web post by a commenter named “Whatyawant,” just as I started listening to “You Can’t Get What You Want” by Joe Jackson.

Well, now even a fairly rational soul such as myself couldn’t help but notice there was a strangeness about this day.

So of course it stands to reason that later that night I’d find a hidden room in the basement.

Okay, hidden to me, at least, but I know for damn sure it hadn’t been part of the initial tour of the building. And I definitely knew there shouldn’t be lights on in the basement after dark.

This is about the time that the dryer stopped working. Oh, I heard the thing moving – it was surely tossing my laundry around. Setting on high heat. But nothing was drying.

By now, Megan was asleep, and the whole house began to take on an eerie vibe. As old houses do, when it’s quiet and there’s no one around to tell you those bumps and creaks are just noises, and certainly not restless spirits, or some caged half-man banging desperately on the pipes trying to get someone’s attention.

(CERTAINTLY not restless spirits of certain elderly tenants who died not long before you moved in, and whose apartment is being torn apart with renovations.)

This is what my building looks like when there’s no one to tell you a place isn’t haunted.

I guess what I’m saying is, I believe either a) my bonus may have come with some kind of monkey’s paw curse, or b) some ghost-neighbor is screwing with my right to dryer-toasty underpants.

  1. Tad says:

    was the hidden room in the basement past where you have to go through that tiny little doorway into the other half of the basement (the side with the hot water heaters and whatnot)? that was creepy enough, even without mystery basement doors.

    also, “by now, megan was asleep” just means that it was sometime after 7:30 or so in the evening, not necessarily midnight!

  2. Jeff Holland says:

    It was past THAT! It was a hidden room within a DISUSED room. (And in that disused room are a lot of creepy baby clothes hanging, even though none of the tenants have children, and I have STILL have not heard a good explanation for that.)

    AND, after all that other song stuff? I had to swerve to avoid roadkill just as the stereo played Tom Waits singing “Roadkill’s got its season just like everything.”

    Telling you, man. Some bad juju in the basement.

  3. V.I.P. Referee says:

    Have to love those moments when something catches you and you realize:

    “Holy crap, life is weird…”

    It could be anything–noticing subtle, mathematical/social/biological patterns and unlikely coincidences in our existence or you’re holding a rainbow “Twizzler” and think, “How and why did humans ever design these things?”

    Oh, and yeah–about that time you also remember you’re going to die someday and there are a million random and unexpected ways for life to take you out. Bum-mer.

    Was a horse tied-up in front of the house?

  4. Tad says:

    i remember there being a LOT of baby clothes on racks on the other side of the basement. that was weird enough in the daytime!

  5. Jeff Holland says:

    If I see that cowboy again, I’ll definitely know to follow that horse.

  6. Moff says:

    I remember having a day like that, which peaked when I picked up a graphic novel (V Is for Vendetta, I think?) I’d never read, and then read a panel in which it was, like, 5:13 p.m. and looked at my watch to discover it was exactly…5:13 p.m.

    I have a tendency to read too much into Signs From the Cosmos, but truly, that was pretty weird.

  7. braak says:

    Say you’re thinking about a plate of shrimp. Suddenly someone says plate, or shrimp, or plate of shrimp. Out of the blue. No explanation. No use looking for one either. It’s all part of the cosmic unconsciousness.

  8. Jeff Holland says:

    I am now projecting my thoughts of a free plate of shrimp into the wondrous power of eternity itself. I’ll give it a couple hours, but if someone doesn’t come knocking with a plate of shrimp by then I’m going to be a little disappointed.

    Also some kind of butter sauce.

    Ball’s in your court, Universe.

  9. Dave says:

    Jeff, just remember – if you measure the room and then remeasure and find it’s changed its dimensions – you made a mistake.

    It’s certainly not going to lead to madness, horror and the death of someone close to you.


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