With the overwhelmingly absent response to my previous short story post, I can only conclude that the world wants to read more of my fiction. And so, I bring you a 1,000 word story about my dishwasher. Enjoy!
The chassis was coming loose. I didn’t know what a chassis is, but this was about the 10th time it had been coming loose. I told the woman to fix it; who wants a loose chassis? With my car, it was always the chassis. With household appliances, it was the solenoid. After tinkering with the dishwasher for half an hour, the repairperson would inevitably announce that I needed a new solenoid, whatever that was.
All of which brings me to the story of how I, with no mechanical aptitude whatsoever, repaired the infamous rupture in the space-time vortex, preventing the universe from imploding and all of space and time from ceasing to exist.
You probably heard the news accounts of how I got sucked into my dishwasher into an adjacent dimension where all of time coexisted and space itself was inverted, and how I “accidentally” patched up a rip in the boundary between this other dimension and our own. But the truth is a little different.
It all started with solenoids. After I paid for another replacement solenoid, my dishwasher was making strange, intermittent squeaking noises, like a mouse clearing its throat. Normally, I’d ignore this until it stopped working completely and I’d call in someone to replace the solenoid. But this was different; this time the noise was happening when the dishwasher was off.
I decided to look inside the thing. Maybe the repairperson left the old solenoid in some crevice and air was leaking out of it. I leaned into the gaping mouth of the dishwasher. If I found a loose mechanical thing, I could remove it and fix my first kitchen appliance.
The inside of the dishwasher went back a lot further than I thought. In hindsight, I should have suspected that I was crawling through the intersection of two realities, but your brain tries hard to ignore the bizarre and force it into a comprehensible, familiar reality. I had taken out the bottom tray thing that holds all the dishes so I could get my right knee up inside. I was trying to reach the back of the dishwasher, but it seemed to go on forever.
As I crawled completely inside the dishwasher, feeling around for loose solenoids, it occurred to me that I might be dreaming. But I figured that even if it was a dream, I still had to fix the dishwasher, so I kept going. Plus, I was oddly attracted to the strangeness of the situation.
After a minute or two, I realized that I could stand up. As I got off my hands and knees I bumped into something but it was completely dark and I couldn’t see what it was. I reached out and felt a smooth, rubbery wall. I started to mouth the cliché, “I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore,” but stopped, because I could feel the presence of others. As the seconds went by, it felt like more and more beings were with me. I wanted to move away.
Keeping my right hand on the wall, I began to walk. Two songs were going through my head simultaneously: The Ramones’ I Don’t Wanna Go Down to the Basement (“There’s something down there ….”) and the Rolling Stones’ Paint it Black (“It’s not easy facin’ up when your whole world is black….”).
As I walked along the wall, the lyrics of both songs competing for space in my head, something brushed up against me in the dark. I was too scared to scream. I reversed course, with my other hand on the wall. I could see the light from the dishwasher ahead and as I quickly headed that way my hand rubbed over a huge lump on the wall – a living lump. I picked up my pace, but as I walked toward the light, it was getting further away. I stopped and took a few steps away from the wall, but, and this is kind of hard to explain, I kept walking into that same wall.
Scared of the people gathering around me in the dark, I ran away from the dishwasher. But as I ran, I looked back and saw the dishwasher approaching me. I stopped and the dishwasher stopped. By now, there were people all around me. I couldn’t see them, but they didn’t seem interested in me. I decided to ignore them and focus on getting to the dishwasher. After a few more back and forth attempts, I began running, in the darkness, directly away from the dishwasher. I was looking over my shoulder at the dishwasher and could see it growing larger. Navigating in the space reminded me of trying to adjust objects for a video shoot while looking at the video monitor – every movement is reverse of what you expect. This was like being in a 3-d monitor. With that in mind, I made it to dishwasher and tripped hard over someone crawling toward me.
Back inside the dishwasher that squeaky mouse sound become intolerably loud. When I was in the dark world, the sound wasn’t there. My hand was resting on a rubbery object. “Is this a solenoid?” I wondered. It felt like it was made out of the same material as the rubbery wall I had been touching. That’s when I had the thought to throw the rubbery object into the darkness. I figured that maybe the object had come from another universe, throwing things off balance, and when I entered the other universe, things balanced out, stopping the squeaking noise. I threw the object as hard as I could and the noise stopped. I became aware of being in a very cramped, damp space inside my dishwasher. It was a tough squeeze out; the open door of the dishwasher broke off its hinges as I crawled back onto the kitchen floor.
I could have kept the strange rubbery object as proof of another dimension, but I had the wherewithal to send it back. I’m feeling pretty good about myself as a repairperson. I like to think of this whole thing as the chassis coming loose between universes and an out of place solenoid.
Click this diagram of intersecting universes to take you to your next Daisybrain destination: