Crisis in the Sink
December 1, 2007
Harold wasn’t going to let them blame this crisis on shoddy housekeeping. Granted, the aged food covered with starving ants on the floor between refrigerator and cabinet must have been his responsibility since he didn’t see anyone else throw it there and couldn’t plausibly explain who might’ve committed such an act. That, at any rate, happened a generation ago, and he’d long insisted he and his guests comport themselves in a middle class manner.
Once a week he diligently cleaned all three bathrooms during a Sunday regimen that included spraying cleanser into and scrubbing each of the two sinks in the master bedroom. He only used the left sink daily, for teeth-brushing and hand-washing; a decade earlier he’d quit shaving there since he was making such a mess and now did that in the shower where it wasn’t really a mess. Why should he have been alarmed by two tiny brown objects, like pinches of dried mud, in the right sink? He simply turned on the water and washed them down the drain.
Next morning almost identical brown pinches – surely they weren’t the same ones – lay a few inches apart in the lower front of the sink. Harold rinsed them down the pipe then looked up at plastic covers of fluorescent light fixtures but saw nothing ominous. The following morning revealed similar deposits in the sink, so he removed the plastic and ran his hand around the fixtures but encountered only lint. For a couple of weeks, as mornings grew colder, he simply turned on the water and flicked (invariably two) small but intrusive objects into a whirlpool. This process probably would’ve continued if one dark morning a groggy Harold hadn’t been startled by movement in the drain under the raised stopper.
He leaped at the sink and turned the water on full force before stepping back in battle stance. Out of the drain the enemy charged him, rapidly climbing to the top of the sink. Harold’s impulse was to run but instead he lunged and backhanded a monstrous insect two inches long with countless fast-twitching legs, knocking it back into the drain from which it thrice reemerged before he closed his fist and hammered the creature, splattering organs on part of his hand but leaving some two-thirds of the bug intact and fighting hard until the powerful stream of water pulled it under, a poor soul in a treacherous river, and Harold slapped the metal stopper down and ran naked downstairs onto frigid concrete in the garage and retrieved his insecticide and hustled back up, timidly opened the stopper, and sprayed many seconds before pushing the stopper hard. For several days he avoided the sink except to stare and hope that a hatch closed to the world would either destroy the invader or deter a return. When Harold eventually reopened the stopper, nothing came out. He still fired more spray down the hole and closed it up and did this every day for a week until concluding it would probably be okay to relax.