THE GHOST IN MY KITCHEN (How Sears Helped Me Win $1,000)

This morning was unlike any other. I awoke, showered, and prepared breakfast as I read the New Yorker. Waking up was uneventful; the shower even more so. For breakfast, I decided to make a tofu scramble thing. Only problem was, tofu was the single ingredient I had in the refrigerator. The rest was a half mile down the road at the Farmer’s Market. I walked downstairs, pulled my bike from the trunk of my car and pedaled down the road. Shopping was easy; onion, pepper, avocado and water. Five minutes later, I was across the busy intersection and on my way home.
While preparing everything, I read an in depth account of Nigerian e-mail swindling called 419 Scamming. It’s not really of importance here, but it did occupy my time waiting for tofu to cook better than television might’ve. As the dish was nearing its completion, I decided unceremoniously, “Hmm, a piece of toast seems appropriate,” and so I went through the toaster motions as my meal cooled on the stove top. When the pan was cool enough, I removed some of its contents onto a plate, placing my now-toasted piece of toast on top of the scramble.
I positioned the plate on the kitchen table and was about to sit down to enjoy breakfast, when the sudden urge to piss overcame me. So I left the meal, walked out of the kitchen, into the bathroom and closed the door, going through the motions of the second piss of the day.
When I returned to the kitchen, the piece of toast was on the floor about 8 feet from where it once sat. The windows in the kitchen were closed (so there was no wind coming in) and we have no pets (who might’ve moved the piece of bread.)
Normally, I’m not so quick to jump to the paranormal explanation, but no one else was home in the house, I was baffled, and I’ve never experienced any jumping toast prior to today. Nor have I ever heard about jumping toast outside of the paranormal explanation.
So unless anyone has any better explanations, I’m under the impression that there exists a ghost in my kitchen. One that doesn’t like toast, or earth-bound humans that excuse themselves during meals to piss.
I have leftovers, so I plan on going through the same motions tomorrow morning, to see if anything happens. And if this toast bandit spirit appears again, I will be ready, with dairy-free spread in one hand, and a butter knife in the other….

Fast forward approximately three hours.

Sears Auto Center is the home of my friend Anthony Wilson. He just recently earned his 5-year pin, so he carries breadth in the esteemed halls of Sears. (And he also gets a discount on auto repairs.)
My car has needed brakes for about two months now, and I’ve been procrastinating the repair until the last minute, which, when calculated, is quite cheaper at Sears than anywhere else. But this week, amid the sound of the final warning line making itself known on my brake pads, I knew it was time to get my brakes repaired. I called Alfredo (Anthony’s nickname) and asked when would be good to bring it in. He assured me that Tuesday was fine, so I went to Sears yesterday to get my brakes repaired.
The one thing Sears Auto Center seems to be highly regarded for is their lack of stock. They never have what your car needs when you need it, and this always involves a few extra days of back ordering when the time comes to get your car repaired. It happened with my struts, and it inevitably happened with my brakes. Sears didn’t have my calipers, so I was told to come back tomorrow. They ordered the correct parts from the warehouse yesterday, and the calipers and pads arrived this morning. This is normal fare for Sears, and since I’m getting a deal, I can’t complain.
Alfredo called a few hours after the toast bandit spirit created an interesting morning, and by 3 PM, I was on my way back to Sears. By the time I arrived, Alfredo was doing something somewhere else, and I couldn’t find him. So I pulled my car in, handed my keys off to Raphael (the Volvo guy at Sears) and took a walk to 7-11. I wasn’t even hungry, just buying time til I could waste time with Alfredo while my brakes were being repaired. I perused a Vanity Fair Magazine, then bought a bag of mini Nutter Butter Cookies and a $2 Cool Hand Loot NJ Lottery scratch off game.
I walked back to Sears, sat in the lobby and started eating my cookies. I pulled the scratch off game from my pocket and for the life of me, couldn’t find a coin to scratch it with, ultimately relying on my fingernail to scratch the ticket. By the fourth line, I had wasted $2, but the fifth line proved more fruitful. My number matched the lucky number. And when I revealed the prize, it was $1,000.
Had Sears actually had brake calipers and pads for a ’92 Volvo 740 on Tuesday May 9, I would’ve been $1,000 poorer right now. But alas, Sears never has what I need when I need it, and because of that, I won $1,000 from the New Jersey Lottery today.

But I neglected to mention something I had seen along the way. Between Sears and 7-11, there exists a path. Along the path is a bird’s nest. From the nest, two baby Robin Redbreasts had been tossed, which were lying dead along the side of 7-11; their tiny, lifeless bodies appearing as nothing more than roadside minutia among a sea of torn candy wrappers, discarded Slurpee cups and burnt out cigarette butts. The mother and father, above and on the top of 7-11, shrieked in grief for the entirety of my visit to Sears. Some time during the brake job, landscapers made their way through the parking lot, destroying the bodies of the lifeless offspring as the parents voiced opposition from above.

I can almost hear the spirit in my kitchen, mumbling aloud. “You can’t have the good without the bad,” it would say. “Now where the hell is Tunney’s bread…”

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