He stood in the kitchen half-light, toeing a piece of culinary detritus. A dark thing against the light floor. Orange chicken, maybe?
The voice on the phone continued.
“So you are going carp fishing on an island? Is that the thing these days?”
He supposed in some ways it is, or seems to be as the popularity of the common carp continues to grow in fly fishing as a target species. But he had a feeling that the island is more than it seems.
He switched the phone to his other hand and frowned down at the thing, putting some pressure on it with the edge of his foot. It crunched slightly but had an underlying rubberiness, supporting the orange chicken theory. He lifted his leg, removing the pressure from the object and grunted into the phone, “S’pose so.”
He likes islands. He have never been to one that I didn’t enjoy and barring any unexpected unpleasantness, had a feeling that this one may fall near the top of the list. It was a very short list, though, so that in itself isn’t saying a lot. But expectations were high.
He hunched a shoulder pinning the phone to his head and reached down, lifting his foot to get a look. There were three crumb; one big one and two little ones just behind his pinkie toe and he was reminded of George Carlin who said that the odd thing about a crumb is that if you cut a crumb in half, you don’t get two half-crumbs, you get two crumbs. He contemplated these three, wondering how small a crumb could be before it was just considered dirt, or dust, he supposed, depending on where it was. He decided, for the moment that a crumb had to be large enough to have discernible texture. He reached for a foot-crumb.
Picking the big one and pinching it between thumb and forefinger, he brought it to his nose expecting the oily smell of fried cornstarch but instead got something bitter, almost sour. This was an unexpected. It didn’t fit with the orange chicken hypotheses. His frown deepened as he rolled it around between his fingers crushing it, once confident but now feeling perplexed. A cold finger of suspicion slowly crept up his spine.
“I have to go,” He said, or at least he thought he had said. He pushed the end button and set the phone on the counter, starring down at the thing. A little island itself in the sea of tile and grout. He imagined a group of microorganisms vacationing there, maybe not there yet, maybe still on the way; flying Lint Air, or taking a ferry, the Dusty Bunny, across the clayscape. Little hats and little bags packed with little necessities, all ready for a good time on Leftover Isle.
But leftover what? What is this thing on my floor? This crunchy soft bitter unidentified thing. He stared down with contempt and the thing stared back, a small dark pupil, daring him to know. Daring him to get closer, to understand, pulling him in as if all the knowledge in the universe could be know in this one thing. The room grew cold, but he felt a bead of sweat run down his cheek. His vision tunneled and he felt dizzy, couldn’t take his eyes away, couldn’t blink and he wanted to scream but it choked in his throat. He was trapped in some terrible psychosis and he knew this was the end and wasn’t ready. A single whimper escaped his lips.
The phone rang. Slowly he turned his head, lifting the phone from the counter to his ear.
“Hey man, we got cut off or something. So Beaver Island is on lake Michigan, yeah?”
“Yeah,” He said, then kicked the thing under the stove where it disappeared with a plonk, “It is,” and he walked out of the kitchen.