The Junk Drawer of My Despair


• One (1) roll of off-brand clear plastic wrap, sans box. Without the saw toothed metal strip, it is impossible to cut in any useful way, but that’s alright because you probably can’t find the leading edge in any case. If you do, and manage to rip some off without stretching it so badly it becomes useless, it will only cling to itself anyway.

• One (1) ‘card’ of thumbtacks, white. Less than half are left. The provenance of this item is unknown. Surely you never in your life bought this ‘card’ of thumbtacks, and yet here it is. It seems, somehow, antique, perhaps a living fossil, migrant from some long dead other person’s junk drawer. Should you attempt to remove a tack, the rim will slide painfully under your fingernail.

• One (1) wire coat hanger, unwound. This universal tool promises infinite possibilities; unclogging drains, unlocking cars, flogging recalcitrant children and pets… but in fact it only has one purpose, to fall into such a position that that one end jams into the floor of the drawer above it so that opening the drawer more than a fifth of an inch becomes impossible. There is only one tool that will allow you to reach through that tiny crack and move the obstructing wire. A wire coat hanger, unwound.

• One (1) Partially used book of ‘series ‘E’ stamps, meant to be used until the new stamps came out when the price went up an undetermined number of price changes ago. Think briefly of the postage they might have paid for, the letters that said things to change the hearts of people now forever beyond your reach.

• One (1) Nutmeg Grater. You have never ground fresh nutmeg in your life and you never will. You have no idea what unground nutmegs even look like. Perhaps one day a tiny person will come to you needing to grate a tiny piece of cheese, but that’s unlikely. Where did this thing come from?

• One (1) package of baking chocolate, unmarked, partially unwrapped, nibbled at edges. Who will it betray next? You? Again?

• Thirty-Eight (38) tarnished pennies. Some rainy day you might sort them by date. Maybe there will be a few so old they have pictures of wheat on the back. Won’t it be fun to see?

• One (1) Baby Food Jar, label removed, containing three (3) screws of varying lengths, One (1) bent nail, One (1) picture hanger and a small snippet (?) of wire, partially clad in blue insulation, frayed at the end. What has become of the baby? Where is it now? Almost certainly it had some connection to you, you didn’t pick the jar out of the trash. Lost, lost, all lost to time.

• One (1) Heavy-duty hammer, paint spattered rubber grip. Like the unwound wire coat hanger, the heavy-duty hammer does an excellent job of keeping the drawer from opening any more than a quarter of an inch, but it is more useful as an object of pondering. Can one can kill oneself with a self-administered blow to the head from a heavy-duty hammer? How hard would you have to swing to get the job done in a single blow? Could a second blow even be accomplished? Might the pain of the first blow make it impossible? Might one be too impaired to deliver the second, fatal blow? What if a third blow was required? How much nerve would that take?

• One (1) Tap Hammer. A ‘Tap Hammer’ or ‘Lady’s Hammer’ is a petite version of the Heavy Duty Hammer and is perfect for hammering tacks, brads and very small nails used in decoration and upholstery. It is very, very hard to kill yourself with a Tap Hammer, as it requires hundreds of blows and a great deal of determination. But sometimes it’s exactly what you deserve.

• Three (3) Holograms of three pronged adapters. The very item you need, right where you thought it would be, now at last the fan can turn, the bread dough can be mixed, your guest may dry their hair in the guest bathroom, and there they are, right where you thought they’d be, but your fingers pass through them like a dream you are already forgetting.

• Three (3) Flashlights of varying sizes, all of which are dead.

• Three (3) D cell Batteries, Seven (7) C cell batteries, Six (6) AA cell batteries and 9 (Nine) AAA batteries, all dead.

• One (1) Mummified moth, dead.

• A bunch (132) Of Q-tip swabs held together by an old rubber band. For Crafts!

• One (1) Photograph of us together in happier times, slowly changing color unseen in a drawer as the years go by.

• An assortment (assortment) of old dreams, all unrealized, one shattered.

• Two (2) Petrified sticks of paper thin dusty pink bubble gum, the kind that used to come in baseball cards back when the world was slightly hand tinted and far more worth living in.

• One (1) pair (pear?) Needle nose pliers, rusting.

• Three (3) two pronged plastic things to stick in outlets not in use, as a means of baby proofing. Is this implied baby the same baby whose empty jar now holds bits of hardware that are useful but will never be used?

• One (17) odd possibly mechanical doo dad that will be briefly puzzle over during your estate sale, pinched between the calloused thumb and forefinger beneath the incurious, boiled egg eyes of an antiques dealer before being dropped and eventually thrown away.

• One Hundred Twenty-Four (124) Small, shiny, dark brown dots that if seen under a microscope might reveal themselves as some sort of long dead insect. Or eggs.

• The memory of the sound the playing card you clipped to the spokes of your three speed made, probably the ace of spades, pretending it made your schwinn a Harley, as if an ersatz motorcycle could erase friendlessness.

• A bunch (36) of Popsicle sticks, bound together by an old rubber band. For crafts!

• A (1) ‘Tot’s’ mini stapler that never ever worked even once.

• Two (2) Opposing parentheses for placing numbers or demoralizing clauses in.

• One (1) Elusive feeling you haven’t had in a very long time (because it isn’t in you, it’s here, in this drawer) that there was some unknown thing, answer, person you could eventually get your hands on that might fill the bleak gaping hole you’ve come to understand isn’t so much in you per se, it is you.

• One (1) rotten Peanut so that someday you’ll have found a peanut, found a peanut, found a peanut last night.

• One (1) Ring of keys to things that won’t get unlocked again because you don’t know what these keys or for or who’s they are or where they came from.

• One (1) manky old tube of lubricant, partially rolled at the end, leaking in places, almost certainly for mechanical use but only there so that nosy guests can convince themselves you have some sort of horrid sexual difficulty.

• Several (23) old books of matches from various disappointing places you’ve been that could be used to burn it all down, down, to coals, to glowing embers, so that it would all be gone, purified, if not for the fact they are too soggy and old to ignite let alone stay lit long enough to set anything on fire.

• One (1) False back that when removed opens upon and endless, empty, sucking void, vast enough to hold every pointless piece of crap you ever clung to for bad reasons and all the pedestrian memories and emotions associated with them.

• One (1) Bright yellow, circular happy face sticker.


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