Posts filed under ‘Story #11 – The Junk Box’

The Junk Box – p.18

That Friday night, the office was quiet, and the janitor was making his rounds. He hummed a silly tune as he worked, for he was one of those positive souls who can laugh at life and find joy in the smallest of things. He didn’t mind taking out trash, polishing desks, or sweeping floors, because it made things cleaner and brighter, and he earned a decent living besides.

As he rounded a corner, he noticed that a door had been left open that was usually shut and locked. He called out in case someone was working late, but got no answer. He peeked in and found the room was empty. There were tall, deep filing cabinets along the walls, shelves packed with storage bins, and one long table in the middle of the room with a cardboard box on it.

The janitor didn’t see any trash cans, or even a single dust bunny, and wondered who cleaned the room. He walked over to the table and looked at the empty box. It had obviously been used, it was worn and stained, but it was empty. He couldn’t imagine why anyone would be saving it, and decided to throw it out. He picked up the box, flipped it over, pulled the flaps apart, and folded the whole thing flat. His hands never tingled, and the box did not resist.

The janitor still hums his silly tune. The box found its way to a recycling center, and its pulp became toilet paper rolls.



February 28, 2013 at 8:36 pm 1 comment

The Junk Box – p.17

Over the next several days, the box changed hands quickly. The boy brought it into the shop, the shop owner found money in it and took it to the police, the police found crime scene evidence from long unsolved cases in it and took it to the FBI, the FBI agents found secret codes and spy gear in it and locked it up in their office.

As the FBI agents inevitably discovered the box’s strange properties, they had to make a very tough decision: keep it and admit that magic existed in the world, or destroy it and lose all the best information they’d ever come across. In the end, they decided to destroy it, and proceeded to have a very hard time doing so.

They could not burn it, rip it, crush it or bury it; it refused to be put in a trash bag or a bigger box. The agents called many special meetings, off the record, to discuss what to do with the box, but no one’s ideas ever worked out.

While this went on, people in the FBI building who had access to the box were digging through its contents for treasures while the getting was still good. That week the box produced jewelry, cash, electronics, tickets to sold-out events, and a very nice pair of Italian leather shoes with a matching belt.

February 25, 2013 at 4:09 pm Leave a comment

The Junk Box – p.16

By the time the owner of the shop took her first load of trash out to the dumpster that morning, the rats had eaten so much that they were all fast asleep in various strange positions around the box. She knew there were rats in the alley but she had never seen so many of them all at once.

She got one of her employees to come out with her, and keep an eye on the rats while she took out the trash. The employe was a college boy, still in his freshman year, and he thought he knew everything, but he could not understand why rats would be having a slumber party. The box caught his eye, and he tip-toed between the snoozing vermin until he’d reached it. His boss was mortified and told him if he was attacked, she would not be responsible for his medical bills. He just grinned at her and looked down into the box.

There were some copies of a car lovers magazine near the top, and under that he found some chrome parts that he was missing for the car he was rebuilding with his dad. He couldn’t believe his luck, so he picked the box up and brought it into the shop.

February 20, 2013 at 2:50 pm Leave a comment

The Junk Box – p.15

The garbage truck emptied the dumpster and then a man jumped out and picked up the box. He walked around to the back of the truck and tried to toss it in, but it was stuck fast to his hands. Even through the thick gloves he wore, he could feel the tingle as the box refused to be thrown.

The man was very confused, and he tried everything he could think of to get the box out of his grip and into the truck, but it was no good. After a few minutes, the driver leaned out of the window and yelled back at him to hurry up, so the man asked for help.

The two of them simply could not throw the box away. They found they could transfer it between them, but no matter who was holding it, it stuck to their hands when they attempted to put it in the truck, and would not budge or allow itself to be turned over. Eventually they got tired of trying, and were a bit disturbed by it besides, so they set the box down behind a dumpster, out of sight, and went about their business.

The rats moved in as soon as the truck left the alley.

February 17, 2013 at 8:47 pm Leave a comment

The Junk Box – p.14

The old man kept digging through the box, coming away with miraculous things like a hot ham and cheese sandwich and a steaming cup of weak coffee in a travel mug. He thought he must either be dead or dreaming, for things like this did not happen in real life.

He sat right down on the filthy asphalt, keeping his hip in contact with the box to continue to deter the rats. He ate everything he’d taken out, and felt full, which was something he wasn’t used to. He nodded off sitting up, and the rats grew bold and ventured closer.

Just as they had reached the box, a great and loud garbage truck appeared at the other end of the alley, and the rats scattered again, driven back to their hiding places by the noise and headlights. The truck stopped along the alley at each dumpster, and finally came to where the old man still sat, snoozing. The driver honked his horn, and the man woke, eyes wide and heart racing. In a daze, he slowly stood and shambled off in the other direction, leaving the box to its fate.

February 15, 2013 at 2:51 pm 1 comment

The Junk Box – p.13

Just before dawn, an old man came shambling down the alley. He hadn’t eaten in a day or two, but knew he could usually find something in the dumpster. So many places threw away food that was still perfectly fine, and he was glad. He wasn’t homeless, but he rarely had money leftover for food after paying his other bills.

He came upon a strange sight: there were rats digging through a small box near the dumpster. Each one came away with a mouthful of some sort of food. The man picked up an empty beer can lying nearby and threw it at them. They scattered, but didn’t go far. He walked up to the box, keeping an eye on the rats that were loitering around the dumpster, and looked inside.

The box seemed to be filled with trash, like food wrappers and paper cups. But then he saw a box of cookies, an unopened bottle of water, and a pack of crackers, so he snatched them out. The rats were squeaking impatiently, but kept their distance.

February 12, 2013 at 3:03 pm 1 comment

The Junk Box – p.12

The couple drove in a strained silence, with the box in the woman’s lap. She had stopped crying but was still hurt by the horrible things her husband had said. When he’d seen their bedroom, he was furious; even after she showed him the magic of the junk box he was unmoved and demanded she get rid of everything.

She didn’t know where they were going and she didn’t care. She was not going to let him destroy the box, and she planned to rescue it at her first opportunity.

He turned a corner and pulled into a shopping center, deserted at this late hour. He pulled into the narrow roadway behind the shops and stopped next to a big green dumpster. He took the box from his wife, who was crying again, and opened the side door of the dumpster. When he tried to toss the box in, his hands tingled and the box stuck fast, refusing to be let go of or upended. He cursed and flailed, before finally dropping to the ground. When the box hit the pavement, he found he could let go.

He quickly backed away, got into the car and sped off, while his wife prayed that no one came to pick up the trash the next morning.

February 8, 2013 at 7:36 pm 2 comments

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