I woke up and frowned. This wasn’t right. The whole world had gone yellow, and a pervasive smell crept into my nostrils, carrying strong notes of overripe banana.
After a few seconds of physical paralysis, my brain established that yes, I still did possess fingers. I reached up and removed the banana peel from where it sat draped over my face, and looked around.
A plastic roof only a foot above my head leaked sunlight, revealing that I sat in a metal container, about six feet long and three feet wide. Several parts of me ached, suggesting that I’d been tossed into the container, but my fall onto the steel floor had been cushioned by several bulky and half-torn bags of assorted garbage.
I reached up and pushed on the plastic ceiling, lifting it up. Cooler, blessedly less smelly air flooded in, and I stood up so that I could see over the metal walls.
Yep. I was in a dumpster.
“Great,” I groaned, reaching for the wall so that I could climb out. At first, I struggled to haul myself up, and finally resorted to piling the garbage bags up to form a makeshift ramp. I dropped out of the dumpster, landing on my hands and knees in an alley.
Wait a minute. I recognized this alley. I’d thrown plenty of trash out here, had leaned against the back wall and puked over in that corner after an especially heavy night of drinking, had once managed to convince a girl to let me sneak a few kisses, right up against this wall. I knew this place.
I walked around to the front of the building, fished out my keys from my pocket, and let myself into my apartment building.
Upstairs, I didn’t bother knocking as I walked into my apartment (3A), and got to see the back of my roommate’s head jerk as he jumped nearly three feet in the air at the sound of my arrival.
“Holy shi-” he gasped, spinning around to stare at me. “Curtis! You’re alive??”
I glared back at him, instantly knowing that I’d found my culprit for the bruises developing across my body. “Of course I’m alive, you idiot!” I yelled back, glaring at him. “What the heck is wrong with you?”
“Wrong with me?” he answered. “Dude, I came home and you were dead!”
“I was in a trance state, meditating and having an out-of-body experience!”
“You were sprawled on the floor!”
I threw my hands up in the air. “I probably just fell over!”
“Yeah, well, it was scary, and I totally thought that you were dead,” he insisted, crossing his arms at me. “And look, sorry about the bruises, but I kind of panicked.”
“About that…” I raised my eyebrows at him. “You really thought that the best thing to do with my body was to dump it in the dumpster? Seems kind of suspicious, don’t you think?”
He looked back at me, honestly perplexed. “Where else do you put dead bodies?”
“Uh, the morgue? Call an ambulance?”
“Those both sound expensive,” he pointed out, and I sighed and gave up.
“Whatever. I’m going to my room.” I paused and pointed back at him. “And if you call for me and I don’t respond, I’m probably meditating, not dead!”
“Sure, sure,” he grumbled as I stomped off.
What I needed, I decided, was not another transcendental, out-of-body experience.
I needed a lock on my door.