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“Did you eat that potato? The one left over from the other night?”
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A few nights ago, I baked a couple potatoes — one for that evening’s repast, another to be used later.
Usually I BBQ my baked potatoes. Not only do they cook thoroughly, they do so more quickly as well. But it was cold out the evening I had a hankering for one and I didn’t feel like going through the motions of taking the cover off the BBQ, firing it up and shuffling back and forth from the house to flip potatoes while they cooked. So baking was the order of the evening. (No … I do not microwave potatoes. That’s a crime and a disservice.)
The spuds were pierced and poked after being washed, they were loosely wrapped in aluminum foil and then tossed into the oven.
45 minutes later they were about done. Well … one of them was at any rate. The other, a larger specimen, wasn’t quite there. It was in need of some extra cooking time. I made a request after extracting the cooked one and while closing the oven:
“I’m turning the oven off. Will you please remind me there’s one potato still in there baking?”
I unwrapped the completed tuber and prepped it for my dinner.
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“Huh … guess I didn’t look well enough …”
I headed back to the fridge to poke around some more to see where it was hiding. I trolled around and moved everything inside the fridge. I check every corner, every hiding place. No potato.
Suddenly, I got a chill. I felt the hair on the nape of my neck begin to stand on end.
I closed the fridge and moved toward the oven. Slowly I opened it.
There, inside, was the potato from a couple days ago … lying there on the top rack, waiting.
I could fill the chill spread from my neck down my back as I reached in and pulled it out. I put it on the counter. It was a somewhat cold, below room temperature.
Carefully, I began to unwrap it from its steely aluminum covering, all the while knowing I should simply toss it in the waste basket and forget about it. My curiosity wasn’t so easily swayed, however — it overrode my common sense and got the better of me.
Slowly, I peeled back a section of the foil. I decided to close my eyes. I couldn’t look. Instead, I felt my way around the covering and, by sense of touch alone, I exposed what was beneath it.
I took a deep breath, looked down to the counter and slowly opened my eyes.
There, oozing within inches of me with thick, languid bubbles that seemed to move on their own, was a mucousy film which had formed on the skin of the potato. It appeared alive. A bubble popped at me as if it were winking and I detected a sickly sweet smell exuding from from the thing. I swear I saw a mouth begin to form — it was about to say something evil to me.
With as much speed as I could muster, I rewrapped the offensive horror and flung it into the garbage. I walked away with the chill still riding atop the surface of my skin.
Eventually, I knew I was going to have to take the garbage out of doors before the smell of it began to issue from between the cracks around the lid of the trash can. But … that meant I would need to take the lid off the trash and pull the liner out of the receptacle.
And I just knew that potato would be covered in an all-encompassing gunk, complete with expressionless eyes and a filmy, fine-haired moldy coat just waiting to whisper something horrifying at me …