Yes, ceiling fan, I feel you, she thought. She wasn't quite sure where the fan ended or the ceiling began as they were both white and both moving at the speed of fever.
“Hello?” She asked the room. More to see if her voiced worked than anything else, but it was always good to check.
The ceiling fan swore at her. The room said nothing else.
“Margarita. Mar-gar-ita. Mar-grrrrr-ita,” she said. Which one was it? Would it have made a difference? She clutched her stomach and rolled her face into the blanket, white, dented with diamond shapes.
What was Spanish for “pizza,” she wondered, because she was at least 70 percent sure she didn’t say it. Is Peru known for its Italian cuisine more than its Central American-inspired cocktails? How did she suddenly know so little about her home? Was this an omen?
“Is it?” She drooled into the blanket. The blanket absorbed this but said nothing. The bed began to ripple and she hung her head off of it, toward the trash can positioned below. Metallic echoes bounced out of the oval can and against her throbbing head. All the chaos of dinner in a fast rewind.
“That was when Arthur pushed you down the hill!”
“Chase, how’s your pizza?!”
“Shut up anyone could have bombed ordering.”
“Penelope ate sheep balls in Ireland.”
“Yeah, and Arthur wasn’t out of the closet yet.”
Closet. Before Peru, someone would take Arthur out each morning and wear him like a suit. Put him back each night on his hanger like a monster who is also a close friend. Chase didn’t understand how Arthur could have been this limp suit, and her fully human friend within the span of one year. He wasn’t out of the closet then, but he is now?
I would like to find the man wearing the Arthur suit then, thought Chase. She pulled herself up from the writhing bed and stumbled to her own closet. Maybe he was in there. Maybe he and the suit switched.
“Hello?” She asked the closet. Hands trembling too rapidly to operate the doorknob, she shouted her question, head tilted to the side, one eye squinted, to the oak-stained door. The door said nothing. The closet held its breath.
Chase rolled her eyes at the lack of response and flopped back to the bed. Her legs and arms wanted to burrito herself into the covers but her chest and stomach vetoed the move. The eight-square-foot Peruvian kitchen was 91 acres away and therefore too far to travel. This was Chase’s fifth country in three years. When her students asked her who took care of her, she replied, “I do, and I do a decent job,” but goddamn if she didn’t want someone, anyone, a walking suit or monster, to hike the miles to the kitchen and get her some scummy, tinny, gross, tap water.
Listening to the ceiling fan’s lament, Chase began to wonder about the closet. There hadn’t been any monsters in there this morning. No one had responded when she called out. But everything in this room was breathing. All this movement and it was statistically illogical that she didn’t share the space with something else.
She took inventory of the Things Under the Bed.
- Two shoes she had kicked off after the dinner debacle.
- One phone charger.
- Three reusable bags she always forgot to use.
- $6 in American money she meant to save and then didn’t, inexplicably dropped on the floor.
- One monster. She was more than 70 percent sure.
“Hello?” She asked the Things Under the Bed.
“Hello?” They said.