Thursday, March 26, 2015

Microstory 24: Japanese Puzzle Box

The cashier at the Asian Fusion restaurant gives me this weird smile as she hands me my change. I shake it from my head, grab my food, and leave. Once I'm finished eating, I look in the bag to see if there's a fortune cookie. Instead, I find a miniature Japanese puzzle box. A few minutes later, I manage to reach the final step. As I slide the piece over, the box explodes. After recovering from the shock, I look down to find a larger puzzle box. How did it fit inside? The urge to open this next box overpowers my fear of what might happen at the end. A half hour later, I  can tell that I'm nearly there. I grab a meter stick from the closet and use it to move the last piece. Just like before, this box explodes to reveal a box that is larger still. I laugh with excitement. How many are there? I spend the rest of the night opening boxes, eventually wearing gloves, safety goggles, and a heavy coat for protection. The largest box yet is about two feet wide and three feet long. It takes me hours, but I succeed. This time, it doesn't explode. The boards fall away, revealing a man curled up in a ball. He breathes a sigh of relief and hands me another miniature puzzle box, apologizing for it having to be this way. Before I can react, the box breaks open, stretching and unfolding until it’s large enough to encompass my entire body. It closes up and begins to shrink back down. I’m trapped.

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