“You got a giant box,” my neighbor texts me. I’m sitting on a beach in Puerto Rico, reading and soaking in the sun. I turn to my husband, who is laying in the adjacent lounge chair, sliding my sunglasses up to the top of my head.
“Were you expecting any packages?” I ask, squinting.
“No,” he says. “Maybe a Christmas present?”
“From who?” I say. He shrugs and turns back to his own book. “Oh!” I think out loud. “Maybe Amazon auto-delivered a box of cat litter!”
“It’s just cat litter,” I type back. “Do you mind bringing it in for us?”
“I don’t think it is. It’s really big,” she replies.
“Yeah,” I say. “We order the extra large box.”
She doesn’t respond. So, with the mystery solved, I go back to our vacation, my soul unencumbered by any unknown entities sitting in boxes in my living room.
Then, we get home.
Here’s what I’m going to say: Our neighbor must have concluded we have hundreds of secret cats somewhere (not just the one visible cat), because the box we arrive home to find a week later is easily large enough to fit eight boxes of cat litter. It’s shocking to walk through the door and see something like that — a brown monolith a la 2001: A Space Odyssey — mysterious, imposing, waiting. Perhaps sentient?
We circle it, wearily, after a 14 hour day of traveling. What is that? Was it a dining room table? A 1950s computer? A priceless Banksy print that would shred upon opening?
And what admirer had sent it to me? Anticipation building, I opened the box with scissors, only to find whatever it is tightly wrapped in two-inches of Styrofoam. “This is a precious, expensive thing,” I think. “Who loves me this much?”
I tear open the Styrofoam and am immediately stunned into speechlessness.
It’s….Doritos? I’ve been sent Doritos.
Inside the giant box is a boxy frame, modeled after a fire extinguisher box with a giant picture of a Doritos Flamin’ Hot Nachos bag printed onto thick plastic. “In need of fire, break,” It says. The joke is clear, but what I can’t understand is the scale. This is the size of four fire extinguisher emergency boxes put together. I picture the room where this happened.
“What if it’s like a fire extinguisher box,” the ad man pitches to a room of Frito Lay execs months ago. “Get it? Because it’s so hot?”
The room goes silent, until one voice is heard at the back from the shadows.
“Yes. YES. But bigger. Make it oh so much bigger. I want them to feel the scope of our power.”
“What? Why?” the ad man says. “Wouldn’t the point be made by keeping it normal size, you know, like the size to fit a bag of Doritos?”
More silence. Then.
“Take him away,” the gravelly voice intones. Screams as the ad man is dragged off by guards. “This,” the voice continues rising, a hulk of a man, ageless, with no emotion crossing his dead, cold eyes. “This will be my opus.”
I stare at the task before me. The box comes with a small ax. I am to break it open. I have to try the chips.
“Who did this to me?” I text everyone I know. “Who gave Doritos my address?”
No one answers.