The small appliance had been abandoned in 1996, tossed into the “might fix it later” box, then exiled to the abyss of the attic. Lonely and bored, it escaped the box and amused itself by absorbing other discarded gadgets and bits of wire, grafting them on with roof tar until it sported a number of delightful attachments. It also discovered that with a little concentration and balance, it could wobble in all directions on its short, brushed steel legs, equipped with guaranteed non-marking rubber feet. The Poach-O-Matic (as seen on TV) had one mission: make every cook’s life easier. With the addition of a can opener, an ice crusher and a beater attachment, the possibilities for kitchen utility increased exponentially. It remained amongst the dust and crumbling boxes; a feral appliance yearning for the day it could be useful again.
When it heard the rattle and creak of the attic hatch, it peeked out from behind a box of picture frames then trundled forward like a child caught at hide-and-seek. When a head popped up from the hole in the floor, it welcomed the person with a bright ding! from its timer. The person yelped and ducked back down the hole.
“Paul!” a voice said, “Is this your idea of a joke?”
“No?” another, deeper voice answered. “What is it?”
The head returned, rising up halfway to regard the Poach-O-Matic. The person tilted their head, blinked, and called down to the other. “It’s a…thing.”
“That doesn’t help me, Elyria.”
“It’s a gadgety-thing. It beeped at me.”
The Poach-O-Matic responded, “Ding!”
“Sorry, no, it dinged at me.”
“I want to see it,” Paul said. “Bring it down.”
Elyria rose up through the hatch hesitantly, watching the Poach-O-Matic with concern. It rocked back and forth on its stubby legs, chirping laughter through the gears of the ice crusher, delighted at the prospect of leaving the attic. Elyria lifted it carefully, secured it under one arm, and then descended into the garage.
“What the hell is that?” Paul asked.
Elyria set the thing on a worktable and looked it over for a moment. The Poach-O-Matic tried desperately to sit still, but excitement took over. It merrily spun its beater whisk and can-opener wheel simultaneously to show off its features.
“Got it!” Elyria said and pointed to the product names on the device. “It’s a Poach-o-Matic-Sunbeam-KitchenAid-Swing-A-Way!”
Elated, it dinged and raised the beater whisk in triumph.
“Um…” Paul furrowed his brow and pointed. “It doesn’t have a power cord.”
The people fell silent. The Poach-O-Matic lowered its whisk and sounded its buzzer in dismay.
Paul picked it up and peered at the machine from several angles, brushing away layers of spider webs, insulation, and dead bugs in the crevices. Looking for a battery hatch, they carefully flipped it over, and Elyria grabbed a shop rag to wipe away the accumulated gunk. The high-quality, melt-proof plastic of the base came clean to reveal a paper label stuck to the bottom.
Elyria sneezed, paused a moment, then pointed at the paper label and laughed.
“What?” Paul asked, voice rising in confusion.
Elyria laughed harder, wiggling a finger at the underside of the Poach-O-Matic, finally catching a breath long enough to gasp, “Truth!”
Paul bent to look, then chuckled. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
The yellowed paper, stuck to the underside of the appliance with a scrap of packing tape, showed four Hebrew letters, ĕméth. Paul grabbed the work table with both hands and bent over, his shoulders shaking as he tried not to laugh.
“We had a roommate…” Paul started to explain, but his laughter escaped until both of them struggled to breathe.
“I can’t even,” Elyria said. “I don’t care! This is… so…” and dissolved into giggles. “We have to keep this! Get the door, I’m taking it inside.”
“Where are you going to put it?” Paul held the garage door open as Elyria carried into the mudroom.
“In the kitchen, where it belongs.”
Ding! Ding! Ding!
PAUL AND I CLEARED OUT THE GARAGE ATTIC LAST NIGHT!!!
Course… everything that was up there is now all over the garage floor.
But I found ONE WHOLE THING up there (in addition to the lawnmower) that I’m keeping!
Good things come to those who excavate.