BY TOM MINDER
Copyright is held by the author.
FOCUSING ON a social media post, Sam opens his bottle of water and drops the cap. He checks his desk and the surrounding floor. No cap. He pushes himself on his rolling chair and surveys the carpet. Nothing to be found.
His OCD kicks in and he drops to his hands and knees. With his flashlight, he scours the room like a crime scene investigator.
Giving up after a few minutes, he resumes his internet surfing, still preoccupied. Where’s that damn cap? Another search, this time into places the vacuum dare not go. It can’t just vanish into thin air.
“Dinner, Sam,” Lana, his wife, calls out, Sam abandons his search, for now, and trots downstairs fantasizing on the roast beef awaiting him.
Following the meal, the evening news, and Jeopardy, he climbs the stairs and prepares for his evening ablution. While scrubbing the days grime, then rinsing, he thinks back on the missing cap. He pulls back the shower curtain, and something goes flying across the bathroom, rolling on the floor, and stopping at the door. The cap. Where did that come from?
He makes a self-inspection, front and back, and notices a red circle around his belly button and pin-sized markings around the perimeter. No. That didn’t happen. Must have come from somewhere, though.
A few weeks later, while studying the football statistics on Yahoo, a Junior Mint falls from his hand and disappears. Determined to disprove that dropped objects hide in belly buttons, he lowers his pants and examines his navel, removing accumulated lint. He dons his reading glasses and makes a closer inspection.
Lana walks bye, opens her mouth to say something, thinks the better of it, and continues past.
Sam pulls up his pants, sits down, and scratches his ear. The mint flies out and bounces on the floor.
A month later, Sam visits his doctor for a routine examination. He mentions the bottle cap and the mint.
“My colleague, Dr. Slivovitz, from Vienna is here for the week,” say Dr. Goldman. “I want him to look you over.”
Dr. Slivovitz hems and haws while examining every square inch of Sam. “Vell . . . this is quite mysterious. But, lost things must reappear sooner or later.”
Sam dresses and thanks the doctor, still uncertain about his condition.
Days later, Sam drops a potato chip while reading a story about Kim, Pete, and Kanye. After searching the floor, he stands, removes his pants and scratches his ear while rubbing his hand over his navel. Lana has the misfortune to see this. She shakes her head and sighs.
Sam hears her and explains his actions. Lana smiles out of sympathy.
That evening at dinner, Lana says “You know, Sam, I was sewing on a button earlier when I dropped the spool of thread. I can’t find it anywhere.”
Sam nods. “It will turn up eventually, Lana.”
The next day, Lana sneezes, loud enough to shake the foundation of the house. She walks into the living room as Sam reads the comics.
“I found the thread,” Lana says, while holding her nose.
Sam folds the paper, leaving Dilbert to his troubles. “Vell . . . this is quite mysterious,” Sam says. “But, lost things must reappear sooner or later.”