Microwave Alert!

This is a wholly true story, unlike some “true” stories that may appear here that are edited to make them more amusing. I want to get it written down, because I’m pretty sure that it will show up in some bit of fiction writing sometime.

I was prematurely woken this morning by my microwave.

I can think of three things that might cause this. First, and probably worst, would be that an earthquake had hit, knocking the appliance from its perch and into my head. Or maybe a burgler, angry at how difficult it was to pick my lock (or angry at how undifficult it was to pick my lock, depending on his disposition) decided to rip its plug from the wall and hurl it at me. Or something along those lines. This was not one of those situations. Chicago doesn’t receive many earthquakes, and a burglar would have to climb three flights of stairs and then bypass a half a dozen larger apartments to try to break into mine.

The second possibility is that it was a ghost. I think this is unlikely also. Ghosts always seem to communicate through appliances in the middle of the night; this woke me up at a bit after 8 am. And I’ve been in the apartment for almost a year now, and nobody’s died there in that time, so if it was a ghost, why didn’t he or she show up before now? And there’s also the fact that it’s a pretty crappy apartment. I painted it not too long ago, which was an improvement, but still, a ghost could do better.

The third possibility is that the microwave was hungry and trying to give me a hint. It’s one of those ones that has presettings for various types of dishes, and every time it came on, the display indicated that it was on the popcorn setting. So maybe it decided that my slumber was a really good movie and it was trying to be a makeshift snack bar, even though it didn’t have anything inside. I don’t know.

What happened was that the microwave turned itself on, ran for a few seconds, and then finished, complete with its “I’ve finished” dinging. The noise is what woke me; I don’t know how long it was running before I woke up, but it ran for three cycles before I recognized what was going on and took care of it.

The microwave itself didn’t seem damaged—there wasn’t any electrical arcing inside it—but there is a faint sort of burnt metal tang in the air now. It defied my attempts to turn it off using buttons, however, so I wound up unplugging the thing.

I’m not sure what happens now, but I do know one thing: If it wakes me up tomorrow, I’ve got me a ghost.

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