I believe it has been going on every morning here for at least the last two weeks: at some point around 11 am I’ll hear a short but jubilant burst of mechanical beeps coming from one corner of my office. It’s a little jingle sequence, really–the sort of deetleleety-deetle-deetle that you might hear from a digital watch alarm, or maybe the voice mail alert on older cell phones. I have no fucking idea what it is. I think it may be coming from somewhere in the pile of manuscripts I have in that corner–two or three file boxes of manila envelopes full of stuff I have to return.
I suppose it’s possible that a beeping thingy would have come with one of the manuscripts. People send us all kinds of things with their stories sometimes: stuffed animals, finger puppets, puzzle pieces, bits of felt shaped like dinosaurs, and once, an insect specimen. I’m having trouble imagining what kind of Beeping Thingy could have been sent to me, much less the kind of children’s story it would accompany, but I can’t rule it out. As far as I know, though, I’ve opened everything in that pile and wouldn’t I remember finding, you know, this Beeping Thingy?
I’ve ruled out everything else in the general vicinity of the beeping. No surge protectors; nothing electronic or battery-powered. Nothing, really, that could make a sound on its own, as most things in my office tend to be silent unless kicked or thrown against a wall. But every day the beeping continues, and every day I kind of forget I hear it.
And now that I’ve mentioned it, I bet it will stop.
No, really, what is it? Did I black out one day and buy a Tamagotchi? Is there some Children’s Book Unabomber who has it in for me? Is there a portal to another dimension? What?!