herbert’s box

 The Quackenbush’s were a nice couple from Lindenhurst, New York.   After several month’s of Ethel’s incessant whining, Herbert finally gave into her wishes and went out into their backyard on Saturday morning in order to plant a nice new rose bush.   On the bright side, he thought, flowers could be quite a nice conversation piece.   It’s a fairly easy job and there was nothing else to do that day anyway.     After his first couple of minutes of digging, and a few swigs of Pacifico beer, he couldn’t help noticing an entirely unexpected metallic sound.  He banged his shovel against the object several times to try to get it out.   It took him quite a lot of strenuous effort but he finally pried it from the hole.   It was only a large empty container, very plain and drab, but he found it so impressive.    Both in the morning and evening each day ever since then, he polished his cherished souvenir quite thoroughly.    Ethel was starting to wonder what all the fuss was about.   What could he possibly have known about this nondescript thing?     It was his favorite conversation piece too.    Daily in the neighborhood and at work he would stop someone at random, and explain to him all he though might be a part of the imagined history of this supposed priceless artifact.     Until that fateful morning, he’d always enjoyed, sports, hobbies and recreation as much as any reasonably well adjusted man.    Lately, though, all the poor soul could think of was his container.     Daily and nightly he daydreamed about all the fabulous exploits its previous owners must have experienced.    His tales got taller each time he told one.   Ethel even frequently tried hiding it on him.    That didn’t work out the least bit well though.    His unvarnished resentment over such an unforgivable act of rampant cruelty was quite bitter.    He took it into their bedroom each night so he could guard it with his very life.    Eventually he became the neighborhood and workplace oddball.   People could understand if it at least stood out somehow but this thing was plainer than paste.   Eventually the all deliberately went to great lengths to avoid having to associate with him, always politely reminding Ethel that it was nothing personal but that things were simply getting entirely out of control.    Soon they had no friends or family and he even got fired.     Although that was so very long ago folks from Nassau and Suffolk counties, to this very day, dread so much as the very possibility of a recurrence of such an odd incident.







2 thoughts on “herbert’s box

  1. Anna says:

    Very interesting piece. Makes me wonder what was with that container. Anyway, I enjoyed the pacing and descriptions in this story. My favorite line would be “His unvarnished resentment over such an unforgivable act of rampant cruelty was quite bitter.” Appreciated the impressive use of vocabulary.
    This was a good read!


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