“If you are calling to report a manifestation in progress, please press 1.  If you are calling to report a previous manifestation, please hang up and dial-”

The crash of another dish hitting the wall drowned out the voice of the recording giving the number that Sophia fortunately didn’t need anyway.  This was very much a manifestation in progress.  She pressed ‘1’ and immediately regretted it.  She should have just hit ‘0’ and kept hitting it until she got a live person, or even a dead one who might be acquainted with whatever it was that seemed so determined to tear her kitchen apart.

“If the manifestation is visible, please press 1.  If the manifestation is invisible, or visible but with no discernible features, please press 2.”

She pressed ‘2’.

“If the manifestation is invisible, please press 1.  If the manifestation is mist-like, please press 2.  If the manifestation is shadowy, please press 3.”


“If the mist is in the shape of a human or animal, please press 1.  If the mist has no discernible shape, or is changing shape, please press 2.”


“If the manifestation is in the shape of a human, please press 1.  If the manifestation is in the shape of a-”

Amazing how a sound you have never heard before can be so immediately recognizable.  That was Sophia’s second thought as her blender hit the floor.  Her first wasn’t nearly as coherent.  “That was brand new, you lousy stupid piece of… thing in my KITCHEN!”  She took a deep breath and tried to calm herself.  “Don’t piss it off.  It’s already pissed off, don’t piss it off even more.”  She dialed ‘0’.

“All agents are currently busy managing other manifestations.  Please hold for the next available agent.”

Two plates, a rolling pin, a cookbook and several wooden spoons later, the next agent became available.

“Manifestation Hotline, this is Tina, how may I help you?”

“There’s a thing in my kitchen.  It’s pretty pissed off.  It’s breaking things.”

“Are you calling from the location in which the manifestation is occurring?”

“Uh, yeah, that’s how I know it’s breaking things.”

“Is this a business or a residence?”

“Is it-  It’s a residence.  That’s how it’s in my kitchen.”

“All right.  Does your residence border running water on any side?”


“Unfortunate.  All right.  The manifestation is a mist, correct?”


“And it has no discernable features?”

“I can’t really tell.  It looks like a person, a misty person.  But I think it has its back to me.  There’s a blob of mist that could be a butt, I really can’t tell.  It has arms, though, that’s how it’s throwing things.  It broke my blender.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.  Do you have manifestation coverage?”

“No.  I never thought I’d need it.”

“Well, when we’ve finished here I can transfer you to the insurance department, you might want to consider putting a policy in place in case of future manifestations.  The rates are actually quite reasonable.”

“Wonderful, that’s great, thank you.  Can we deal with this first, please?”

“Of course.  Now, do you have any keys handy?”

“Keys?  What kind of keys?”

“Any kind.  A lot of the more common manifestations will vanish if you throw a key through them.  Can you get close enough to throw a key through the mist?”

“I can get close enough to the mist, but I don’t think I can get to my keys.  How about a book, can I throw a book at it?”

“Well of course you can, but I don’t think it will do any good.  The type of manifestation that can be dispelled by contact with paper products doesn’t usually occur this time of year, those are usually more of a Spring type manifestation.  And actually I wouldn’t suggest it, you might anger the manifestation even further, I don’t think that’s what you want.”

“No, you’re right, that’s pretty much exactly the opposite of what I want.”

“All right then.  Have you tried speaking to it?”

“Not really, no.  I yelled at it, I didn’t really speak to it.  What should I say?”

“Try ‘hello’, see how that goes.”

“O-kay…  Um, hello?”

“What happened?”

“It stopped throwing things.  That’s good, right?  That seems good, I think that’s good.”

“Very good, you have its attention.  Now ask it, calmly, what it wants.”

Deep breath, Sophia, be nice to the blender-breaking kitchen thing.  “Uh, what is it you want?  Whoa!

“What happened?”

“It’s not happy anymore.  It’s about to start throwing things again.  It just slammed its arm things down on the counter.”

“Are you certain that you can’t get to your keys?”

“I’m sure.  Keys are not an option here.”

“How about bread?  Can you get to any bread?”

“The bread is in the kitchen.”

“Oh, of course it is, I’m sorry.  All right, we’ll have to try water.  Can you get to the bathroom?”


“All right.  Go in the bathroom and turn on the faucet.  Sometimes just the sound of running water will discourage them.  It can frighten them, though, so just be careful.”

“Okay, going in the bathroom.  Turning on the water…  SHIT!

“What happened?”

“I think it left.”


“Well, yeah, but it left through the window.”

“Is that a problem?”

“The window wasn’t open.”

“Oh dear.”


“Shall I transfer you to the insurance department?”

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