The Bottle that Refused to Recycle . . .
In the scene above, Terrance Lindall depicts the moment that the wife of our naive hero discovers the bottle of Shoggoth's Old Peculiar still sitting on a shelf in the refrigerator, and she draws her husband from his easy chair as she hits the roof . . . metaphorically, of course, and only because she's worried about his excessive drinking:
"What! I thought you tossed this in the recycling!"From that point on, the story grows a bit weird, but it's all in good, devilish fun and will be available in book form next spring, though the story version is available already in Carter Kaplan's anthology Emanations: Second Sight.
"What bottle?" I asked.
"Your Shoggoth's," she replied.
"That's with the recycling," I reminded.
"No," she informed me. "You forgot and stuck it back in the fridge."
"Impossible!" I exclaimed, astonished. I clambered from my chair and joined my wife at the refrigerator. There sat the bottle of Shoggoth's Old Peculiar. I could only stare. Was I going crazy? "That can't be here!" I finally cried.
"But there it is," my wife insisted.
My eyes didn't lie. I then looked at her, my turn to be suspicious. "You put it there, didn't you? To play a trick on me."
My wife gazed at me a long time, as though intent on reading my mind. "No trick," she finally said, her voice even.
I stared at her, then at the beer, in consternation. I took the bottle from the fridge and dropped it again in the bin. "There," I announced, "you see! You're a witness this time!"
"Good," she said. "Make sure it stays there." She turned to close the fridge door, but stopped and gasped.
"Now what?" I asked.
For a long moment, she said nothing, then turned to look at me, her eyes narrowing from dumbfounded surprise to hard suspicion. "Didn't you claim you’d gotten just one last bottle?"
"Claim?" I said, annoyed. "Spoken like a true-blue lawyer. But yes, just one. Why?"
"What's this, then?" she demanded, pointing into the refrigerator with her left hand.
I went to stand beside her, and stared in shock. Within the refrigerator was a Shoggoth's Old Peculiar. "This can't be," I muttered. My thoughts turned to the day before. Had I been so drunk as to bring along an extra Shoggoth's? Without noticing? I took the bottle out. "I don't remember this," I said, as much to myself as my wife.
I set the beer on the table and returned to the bin.
"What are you doing now?" my wife asked.
"Comparing." I rummaged in the bin.
"You want to taste both?"
"Not the flavor. The bottles, but I can't find it."
"The first bottle?"
"Men can never find anything," she complained, and came over to look. She looked long into the bin, saying nothing. Finally, she bent over and rummaged herself. "Odd," she said after some time, clearly baffled. "I can't find it either. I don't think it's here."
We looked at each other, then slowly turned to stare at the bottle sitting on the table. "No way," I said. We went to the table together. I picked the bottle up and inspected its label. "Looks the same."
"It is the same," said my wife, also looking quite carefully. "It's the very same bottle."
Stay tuned for further developments . . .