The Curse of Gary (Part 35)

Three electric lights hung from the ceiling, concealed beneath oversized dome shades. The room was certainly cursed, but the hum of the bulky white machine in the corner was like a siren’s song to Victor’s stomach. He crossed the cold, hard floor, yanked open the hefty fridge door and looked inside. He shut the door and stood there for a moment. He turned and looked around the room, and then back at the fridge. With a serious, almost insulted expression, Victor swung the door open again. Crouching in the buzzing light, his eyes searched the icy shelves from top to bottom. He grunted, then reached and took from the fridge its only item: a large silver serving bowl brimming with Brussels sprouts. Victor held it in his hands, looked down at it and huffed. He stood and set the bowl on the counter, then turned back to the fridge. Crouching again, he shut and opened the door three times; he wiggled the shelves; he felt for a hidden compartment. Finally he stood and closed the door.

Victor turned and glared at the bowl of Brussels sprouts, then sighed and paced around the kitchen. One by one he opened the cabinets, shutting each one a little harder than the last when he saw the empty shelves. Finally he came to the walk-in pantry. Victor opened the door and stepped back—every shelf was filled with cans. He laughed as he took in the promising sight, but his joy was short-lived. The cans, he noticed, were identical, all square with a blue label bearing four bold, yellow letters: SPAM. Victor grimaced and stepped into the storage space. Shelves surrounded him, towering above him, each with cans stacked five high and ten rows deep, creating a formidable wall of spiced ham—a pork Jericho. He reached and took a can from the back of one of the shelves, then another, and another. All Spam. Victor pressed his palms hard against his face, digging his fingers into his skin; his breathing became loud and fast. “Come on,” he whispered, “get it together.” He stood straight, with his fists clenched at his side and his teeth grinding audibly. His eye twitched.

Victor screamed and began tearing the down the Spam wall; cans tumbled and flew to the floor. He lashed out with his hands and feet, and then stretched up to the top shelf, grasped it and began shaking it. The shelf was sturdy and only when Victor heaved with his whole body weight did it start to buckle. The uppermost cans toppled onto him. “Damn it!” he yelled, cradling the top of his head. As he retreated from the pantry he went to kick a can on the floor, but stopped (with only socks on his feet it would have assured him a broken toe to accompany his bruised scalp).

He walked over to the sink and sank against the cupboard below, a human puddle. His head hung low and tears began rolling down his nose, diving and splashing onto the hideous flooring. He dabbed the top of his head with two fingers then looked at the bright red smudge on them: one of the cans had opened a small cut on his crown. He sniffed and sighed.

“I was doing fine,” he said. “Things were good, and then I get these bloody metronomes. What the hell do I want with metronomes? Thanks a lot, Dad. For some bloody useless reason you load me with a bunch of garbage, and now I have to sell it. No one wants a metronome, but I can’t quit, so now I’m stuck here in a madhouse with nothing to eat but Spam and Brussels sprouts. I HATE SPAM!”

 

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