Orion doesn’t think there even were any prompts for this story. She says it just came to her after she tripped over a perpetual bump in the area rug in her living room. The story evolved from there. And yes, before you ask, she does indeed talk to and command obedience from inanimate objects. While they usually obey her, they don’t ordinarily talk back. Except for her cat, who isn’t an inanimate object, but has opinions about everything, and, of course, insists on sharing them with her.
A RIDGE AND A RUG
I was tired and my feet were dragging when I got home tonight. Even with the streetlights filtering through the living room curtains, I could barely see my way. Feeling about for the light switch, I tripped, sprawling spread- eagle across the large Oriental rug.
Shaking my head, I climbed to my knees. I’d tripped, yet again, over the damned two-inch permanent wrinkle in the rug. A long day, combined with work problems and lack of supper overwhelmed me. Irritated, I ground out, “Now look, rug. I’ve had it with your constant ridge, right where I’m trying to walk.”
“Well,” answered the indigo and madder area rug in a thin, whining voice, “this time you can blame it on the cat. The black one,” it clarified, flipping its fringe like white-blonde bangs. “For some ungodly reason known only to him, he thinks that there’s a hidden door into summer under me. I swear, as soon as you go into your bedroom at night, he’s at me, burrowing under me. Must be that tiny brain of his that keeps him coming back, ‘cause he hasn’t found anything yet.”
I laid there with my jaw hanging open. I’ve been know to address and swear at inanimate objects, but this was the first time one had replied.
Taking a deep breath, I considered my options. Well, I started this conversation. What the hell? Why not answer the damned thing?
“No, no, no,” I said, shaking my head “It’s your perpetual ridge I’m talking about. I’ve tried smoothing you out. I’ve stomped it out. I even rearranged the furniture a couple of times. Does it stay gone? No, it does not. Hell, I even tripped on it this morning on my way out.”
“I believe,” said the carpet dryly, “that’s your fault.”
“Mine?” I sputtered, my eyebrows levitating. “How exactly is it my fault?”
“It was all that camping you did with me, before you settled down and brought me into the house, into civilized territory. You put me on grass and mud and dirt and sand. Gross! You callously put heavy tables and chairs and stools and once, even a stove on me. And the weather I had to endure! I was always damp or dusty by the end of a weekend. I needed a nice cleaning! But no. You just rolled me up and forgot about me till the next event. And you wonder why I have a ridge? Well, now you’ve only yourself to blame, haven’t you?”
The rug flopped down, ridge intact, and refused to speak to me again.
I sighed. Did I actually just had a conversation with a rug? I stood up, rubbed at my tired eyes, switched off the light, and sagged my way to bed. Maybe I’m already asleep, I thought hopefully.
Turning back at the bedroom door, I caught a flip of the creamy fringe and saw the blasted ridge hunch even higher.
I sighed, heading toward my bed. Maybe my meds need changing.
I could just hear myself explaining all this to my therapist. “Oh, I thought you should know that my Oriental rug started talking to me the other day. Since then, I’ve also established a warm relationship with the toaster and the refrigerator keeps giving me the cold shoulder.”