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Portal on the shelf

December 21st, 2018 Leave a comment Go to comments

Even to a trained eye, it appeared to be an ordinary neighborhood bodega. There was the musty smell, a deli counter just limited enough to make you confident things were fresh, the beer available by the bottle, the endless lottery customers. There was even a cat. So as a paranormal investigator, it seemed like a bum tip the first time I sauntered through. Nothing at all seemed out of the ordinary, particularly the staff.

I mentally 86ed the place from our list of curiosities right away, but procedure requires that I visit at least twice. Reluctantly I stuck to the rules and returned a few days later, this time with some more sensitive instruments than I had used on the first visit. Utterly unsurprised when they also produced no significant readings, I was moving toward the door when a glint of light from a jar of olives caught my eye. I stopped in my tracks.

There’s nothing all that strange about a jar of olives in a bodega of course, unless you’re counting on them to expire, because who buys olives in a jar at the bodega? I paused to scrutinize the label, which was in no language that I had ever seen, like a Japanese cuneiform or Sanskrit Morse code. Now riveted, I reached to turn it to continue examining, but as soon as I touched the item, everything changed.

To be clear, I haven’t been surprised in at least a decade in this business. Curious, questioning; sure. But not surprised, and I was so much more that day. Upon touching the jar, the entire bodega origamied on me in what felt like hundreds of different directions. I can only describe it as experiencing an additional spacial dimension, where there is a new letter’s axis to travel along, whatever comes after Z, and something that’s not time. Time appeared to be irrelevant on that plane of existence.

Because I floated through that world for what felt like an eternity, until my brain could process no more, and let go of the jar, abruptly depositing myself back in the three-dimensional moment. I gasped, surprising the man at the end of the aisle who had been standing there when I first transported in what felt like days ago, but was apparently three seconds at most. He grunted and looked away again as I stood there stunned.

Shaking my head in wonder, I stopped to buy some candy before leaving out of some sense of obligation. The cashier was friendly while a baby I assumed was hers giggled behind her from a baby seat on the counter. I searched her eyes for recognition at what had just occurred in the aisle but was left wanting, as she thanked me and sent me on my way. It was only when I met the baby’s eyes before turning to go that I noted that same glint of light from the olive jar in his eyes. I’m sure to become a regular.

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