First We Take The Fridge...

Last night things went bump in the fridge again. I got up, checked the locks: they were just about right, only the sides seemed to have bulged outwards. Worried, I went back to bed. I really have to get rid or that fridge. But how? Gorleben might be just right. Maybe the salt would dehydrate the fridge and kill it. Or you could encase it in glass. But who's supposed to pay for that? Isn't the government responsible for public safety? But nobody would believe a word!

It all started last summer when I returned from summer holidays. Of course the Electrical Supply Board had cut the power. Needless to say, I didn't pay the bill during the holidays. There was a foul-smelling puddle around my fridge (an heirloom from the Fifties which had been my pride before it became the source of my nightmares).

I opened the window to let the puddle dry and forgot about it. It came back to my mind some time later but I supressed the thought. I just couldn't get myself to confront the horror inside my fridge. Understandably enough. After all, I started paying the bills again. Maybe Fritz would drop by. He would clasp his hands above his head about the questionable state of my flat and take the rubbish down to the bin as usual. Fritz, you see, doesn't mind the horror.

A week later I got a postcard from Fritz. His company had sent him to Outer Mongolia. Now I was stuck with my fridge.

Many a night I stared at it, wondering what I left inside before I left for my vacation. I called all my friends. They usually know better than I where to find my stuff. We constructed the following inventory: Some carrots. Half-eaten can of sardines. An old sock. Noodle casserole leftovers. A lighter. Two paprika. One yoghurt. My library pass. Half-eaten chocolate Santa and the remains of a jar of pickles.

I sighed and applied for a new library pass.

Back then I was most afraid of the sardines and the casserole. I wouldn't have credited the pickles with such initiative and imagination. How terribly wrong I was!

In autumn, Ellen dropped by and opened the fridge in search of beer before I could warn her. Once I had revived her, she stammered about sardines who were fighting over the remains of the chocolate Santa. That confirmed my worst fears. I grieved some over the Santa who was a fairly decent bloke. Then I placed a large 'Out of Order'-sign on the fridge.

Weeks passed. I considered notifying the Fire Brigade or the National Guard but as an afterthought it all seemed a bit silly.

One night I heard the fridge opening. I started in horror, grabbed the back of a broken chair and stalked up to the fridge. In the narrow beam of light escaping from the open fridge door I spied two battered sardines hastily leaving home. I smashed them with the chair and disgustedly observed their remains when suddenly a shadow crossed the narrow beam. I kicked the door shut -- in the last possible moment which was confirmed by the dull thud and the rattling from within.

I found no peace that night. What could it have been that upset the sardines so badly? What had attempted to flee the prison of the fridge that night? The yoghurt? The noodle casserole? I got a roll of Duct Tape out of the laundry basket and taped the fridge shut. I was determined never to find out.

But human curiosity is stronger than human reason. What was going on in my fridge?

Shortly before New Year's Eve I couldn't resist the temptation any longer. Silently I cut the tape and tore open the door.

The sudden light started the pickles that were sitting around the knocked over yoghurt. The walls were gruesomely decorated with the remains of defeated sardines. An especially large cucumber that was edging strategic maps on the ice-covered refrigerator walls turned and looked at me. In the vegetable drawer countless pickles were going about their everyday business, lived, grew and multiplied.

I slammed the door shut and secured it with not just tape but all the bike and motorbike locks I could find.

In the following night it once again rumbled in the fridge. I stalked to the fridge and heard the vinegar-sour voice of the great cucumber. I couldn't understand it but it sounded like it was making a speech. Occasionally, a choir of lesser voices would answer. They seemed to be singing a marching song.

I couldn't sleep anymore. Tomorrow I'm going to ring somebody. Except -- who's responsible for my case?

© inge, 1995
thanks to Kurt who helped with the translation!

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