He floated out of my laptop screen like a loose speck of glitter and curled up on the f10 key for a nap. He slept for about an hour and then began exploring my keyboard. He was incredibly cute-- I could tell he wasn't an insect--only two arms, two legs --but I had no idea what he was. After I caught him licking the lettering off of my "o" key I bustled about trying to figure out what to feed him. Since he was so tiny it was hard to give him anything without drowning or crushing him. I tried oatmeal, mashed potatoes, a miniscule saucer of milk. Nothing. He didn't eat a darn thing until he found an alphabet that had fallen out of my bowl. Then he chewed through it like a hot knife through butter; sleeping afterwards for a whole day. The next morning he was the size of a match head, and with the help of a magnifying glass I could see his tiny features. I delighted in his silly googly eyes, his gummy smile, his pink skin and the bumpy nubs all down his front and back. He gabbled non stop when he was awake and made a soft buzzing sound when he slept, feet in the air, holding on to his tiny penis for comfort. It was all so very adorable.
After just a couple of days I got quite used to him dancing on the keys while I typed. And boy was he a fast little sucker. Mid morning yesterday when he settled down on the backspace key to catch his breath, I scratched him affectionately on his head with the edge of my nail. He was teething and I had given him a piece of shoelace and some old greeting cards to chew on. He happily chewed and gnawed away while watching the words I typed appearing on the screen. The third time he climbed up and ate a couple of lines of my text, I decided to take a break too. I popped over to read Jodi MacArthur's story at Flashes in the Dark. When I was done reading, I pulled a line I liked out of her text and proceeded to add it and a way to go message into the comment box. The kettle whistled and I got up to take it off the burner before I finished. I came back with my tea and checked my comment for typos and pushed send. I noticed that my little guy had wandered off somewhere. I hastily checked the bottoms of my feet and all of the surrounding piles of paper for him.
Nothing. No sign. I wondered what the heck could have happened to him and hoped that he was ok. I also hoped that he was getting enough to eat. He had been eating non stop and growing by leaps and bounds pretty much minute by minute all day. He had grown so much that right before he disappeared even without the magnifying lens I was having no trouble seeing his shiny sharp teeth and his furry, purple, unbifurcated eyebrow.
I fussed and worried all day and then came to the conclusion that my sweet little creature had somehow pulled himself back into my laptop screen and gone walkabout.
He was still AWOL in the morning when I booted up my computer and went back to check on Jodi's response to my comment. But the weird thing was, my comment wasn't there either. I went on twitter to tell Jodi that I had enjoyed her story and that my comment must have lodged itself in comment purgatory.
That was when I heard the news.
John Wiswell had been attacked and apparently eaten by some sort of giant, pink, ravenous razor toothed creature with tentacles all down its front and back.
The news reporter said that he had been sitting at his computer writing a story about comment gobblers at the time. John's story claimed that comment gobblers were know to be emotionally unstable, callous and possessing a deep hunger for something.
Situational irony can be such a bitch.
In response to the "gob off" challenge issued to me by @Wiswell on twitter
John Wiswell's Comment Gobbler Story
Jodi MacArthur's story at Flashes in the Dark