Monday, July 29, 2013

Fringe Event

Last Wednesday, I went down into the basement to find something to wear to work.  While I was rooting through the dryer, I heard a weird sound.  It was a sort of scrabbling sound, almost like chewing.  Immediately on high alert, I skulked around the basement in search of the sound's source.  Strangely, it seemed to be coming from the spool of weed whacker cord that was sitting innocently on the floor. The weed whacker cord container, I knew, was hollow on one side.  My initial reaction was to flip it over and see what was under there, but I chickened out at the last moment.  What if it ran out and bit me?  What if it got loose and I lost it?  What if it got upstairs and bit the cats?  Instead, I went to find a grown-up.

Since I longer live at home, the closest I could find to a grown-up was Chris.  A thing they don't tell you about adulthood is that you're supposed to deal with creepy things by yourself.  I don't ever remember going through a training course on how to deal with weird sounds/strange lights/odd things seen out of the corner of your eye.  This is something I worry about as far as having children is concerned - what if my son would get scared and think there was a monster in his closet?  I might get weirded out and be afraid of it too!  Do you naturally become braver when you have a child, or were my parents just as creeped out as I was all those times? 

Anyway, I went upstairs and woke Chris.  It was only 6:45, so he was pretty unhappy at the interruption to his sleep. At first he refused to get up, since I hear sounds and get scared all the time.  But when I told him it sounded like something alive, he was pretty quick to get out of bed.  After the bats last summer, we don't rule anything out. He grabbed a sword and followed me down to the basement.

I was afraid that the sound would have stopped and he would think I was crazy, but luckily it was still going strong. He poked the weed whacker spool with the sword and the sound got more frantic.  We both took cautious steps away.  After just standing and staring for literally minutes, Chris found an old hermit crab tank and placed it over the spool.  I think his original idea was to flip the spool once it was covered, but there are some flaw in this plan - the most obvious being: how will we flip the spool when it is surrounded by glass?

We were running short on time, so decided to just leave it there until I got home from work.  Whatever was in there sounded like it was chewing away rather determinedly at the spool's plastic, so surely it would have eaten its way through by the time I got home.  And when it did get through, it would be trapped by the tank and we'd find out what it was.  Chris was on vacation from work that week, so I made him promise not to free the mystery beast until I got home.

Most of my day was spent pondering what could possibly be under that spool.  Chris had guessed that maybe it was a vole, but I was certain it had to be something more sinister.  What, though, I couldn't be sure.  When I got home, I excitedly asked if he had checked on the captured beast in the basement.  "No," he said.  "I forgot all about it."  Forgot?!  How on earth could he forget?!  So we ventured downstairs to check on our trap.

Nothing had happened.  There was no hole in the spool, no fantastical creature pacing the confines of its enclosure.  Just the spool and now no noise.  My immediate concern was that it had somehow escaped, but Chris rattled the tank and the scrabbling resumed, though somewhat less frantic.  Chris, the genius that he is, grabbed a square of cardboard from an old pizza box and slipped it under the tank and the spool.  This way we could flip the whole thing and finally see what was inside.  But the cardboard was too flimsy and buckled every time we tried.  So I came to the rescue with - what else - duct tape.  I taped the cardboard to the tank, making sure no holes remained.  With the cardboard secured, we flipped the whole thing over.

Nothing happened.  Where was the wee beastie?  Had it somehow gotten out?  Was it invisible?  Were we both crazy?  Were we experiencing a Fringe Event in our very own basement?  I should take a moment here and explain to those of you who don't watch Fringe that a Fringe Event is a strange and unexplainable happening.  I've probably been watching way too much of this show, and it is making me even more alarmed by mundane occurrences than usual.

Finally, with enough shaking, Chris was finally able to catch a glimpse of the horror that had been plaguing us for the last twelve hours.  And do you know what it was?

A beetle.  An insanely huge beetle.

 I excitedly asked Chris if an ancient Egyptian scarab somehow magically appeared in our basement, maybe to send us on an epic quest, but he assured me that no, we just have really big beetles around here.  I gotta admit, I was a little disappointed that it wasn't something more interesting.  But at the same time I was relived that it wasn't something more interesting.  Such is life, I suppose.  We took our beetle captive outside.  She seemed rather lethargic, so we gave her some water. When we next went out to check on her, she was gone.  A boring end to what I guess is a pretty boring story.  But it was exciting to me, for a little while.


  1. What?! This was not a boring story at all! I was supremely intrigued the whole way through and definitely felt the suspense. Plus I even laughed a bit : ] I loved it it and am glad you shared!

    Oh and I'm also really glad we don't have beetles that size around here : ]

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. I didn't know we had beetles like that around here either, and I wish I still didn't!