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by Sandra Yuen MacKay
My husband Howard and I lived in the tenements for years, in an apartment crammed with junk. Papers and paraphernalia were stacked in boxes in every room. We didnít own a vacuum cleaner to pick up the dirt off the living room carpet. The laundry sat for weeks before being washed. We didnít care. The mess didnít really bother us.
For a living, he installed hot water heaters. I worked as a receptionist at a beauty salon called, ďThe Beehive.Ē We werenít home most of the time. Then something occurred that changed our lives. And it started in the refrigerator.
It didnít start out as something big. It began as a harmless patch of raised fuzz on an orange that had been sitting too long in the fridge. The orange swelled and sagged as the mold took control.
In the beginning, it didnít smell that bad; but as I watched it grow, it began to develop a strong odour of garlic. It was sort of purplish green and started to form a crust. I was too lazy to throw it out; instead I just observed with curiosity.
One morning, I looked in the fridge and saw it had gravitated toward the leftover spaghetti. It was on the move!
Webs of fuzzy, green tendrils sought out the vegetables and deli meats and even got into the sour cream and onion dip. It grew hands and feet, and one day, it opened the refrigerator door.
Howard and I were amazed. We decided the growth could stay. We liked the company.
It liked to curl up by my feet on the floor or sit on the counter among the dirty dishes and empty soup cans. It never made a sound, except the odd gurgle. It absorbed the crusts of leftover bread from breakfast, cleaned out the peanut butter jar and drank the wine stored in the upper cupboard. It left traces of slime on the kitchen table, but I didnít mind. It was a good pet.
I donít know why it attacked Howard, but it did. One cold Thursday morning, he was standing in the kitchen with a coffee when the tendrils got him. He became rooted to the kitchen floor, frozen in motion like a Greek statue. Green goop covered him head to toe; but I resolved not to rescue him by pulling off the stuff. He became mummified, preserved in a casement of jelly.
But I did nothing. I was still too lazy to clean up the mess.