Anatomy of a Refrigerator
Jenn Dlugos





        Surely, I am the most efficient omniscient observer in contemporary literature.  Of course, this could be said for all household appliances as the living are completely oblivious of our spying capabilities. Occasionally, the astute domestic canine will overhear our chatter, but we simply employ the household vacuum to threaten to devour his favorite squeaky toy if he squeals to the higher functioning mammals in the house. And, you thought Fluffy was just afraid of the whirring noise.
        My name is Avocado. I’m a lime green refrigerator and likely the only literary protagonist who is equipped with automatic temperature control. My current residence is in a studio apartment of a 28-year-old female singleton named Correa. I have known Correa since the beginning of my limited warranty, and the only things I know for sure about her are as follows:
        1) She has an unbridled fetish for day old bakery pastry.
        2) She is under the delusion that storing batteries in the fridge gives them a half life of approximately 3,000 years.
        3) She has been diagnosed with some form of visual impairment. This was concluded as she deems it necessary to turn my bottom shelf into The Evolution of Chocolate Museum despite the multitudes of inspirational thin-women-in-bikinis pictures tacked upon my door.
        4) She buys cheap-o plastic food wrap that does not stick to the food containers and ends up floating around my chamber like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade balloon.
        Of the four Correa Facts, the batteries in the fridge were the most perplexing. This strange habit took years to decipher, as non-food products in Correa’s fridge are not an abnormality.  Like many 20-something singles, Correa conducts the bulk of her grocery shopping after Friday night barhopping. When she returns home with her edible treasures, she is too drunk/hungover to put the groceries away in their designated storage centers. Since she has an obsessive compulsion to store foods at FDA recommended temperatures, it is not unusual for me to awake on Saturday morning to full bags of groceries on my shelves. You really haven’t experienced life with a singleton until you find a package of chilled tampons on your top shelf.
        The latest buzz around the kitchen is Correa may be enceinte. I know for a fact the baby is not wanted. On the alleged day of conception, her boyfriend Terry converted into a Tasmanian Devil vortex in the search for the recently purchased prophylaxes (unfortunately, forgetting to check inside the convection oven. The blender has theorized that Correa is only going to address the issue of “shopping when shitfaced” when the toilet bowl is brought into the temporary food storage equation). Apparently, he finally located one. I can’t say I heard anything that evening, but the futon filled me in.  All he remembers is some slight pressure and waking up the next morning contorted into an apartment furnishing suited for Picasso’s flat.
        Today, I found out the pregnancy rumor was true. It came by way of Correa’s bellow from her bathroom.
        “NOOOOO!  IT TURNED BLUE!”
        While I have no doubt that the neighbors thought she had some sort of malfunction closing a Ziploc® bag, I knew she was referring to her pregnancy stick.  In a desperate measure, she thought the temperature in the apartment (a mere 92° F, factoring in the broken central air conditioning system) caused a false positive.  In a move of ultimate female desperation, she put the stick on my top shelf hoping the blue line would give an “accurate” reading in the cold. I laughed at her logic in thinking that hot environments would yield only “false positive” pregnancies. Apparently, she believes the global population crisis is coming from the planet’s five remaining Eskimos.
        When she found it was still blue, Correa resorted to calling Terry. As the phone is located in the kitchen, I am blessed with hearing a lot of good gossip. Let’s face it, there isn’t a lot of chances for good gossip among my kind.  Not often do you hear about a corkscrew that opened too many bottles of bourbon and ended up going down on the egg beater in the kitchen gadget drawer.
        “She’s going to kill me, Terry.  Everything is black and white with her.  She doesn’t believe in a gray area.”
        Correa must be referring to her mother. Her mother is best described as a 5’3 Venus Fly Trap who dresses solely in polyester and infiltrates my bottom shelf with casseroles that smell like head cheese and dog excrement potpourri.  She is Judeo-Christian when it is convenient for her. She’s the type who will condemn Correa’s illegitimate pregnancy, yet will order the local deli’s “slab of dead flesh” platter on Good Friday.
        “Abortion is not an option.”
        My compressor turned at the mere thought of that. You can have whatever pro-life/pro-choice debate you want, but I get squeamish when humans talk about any surgical procedures. After all, I can barely stand the site of raw meat on my shelves.  Talking about an abortion is enough to make me lose Correa’s lunch.
        “She’s coming over today. What do I say to her? ”
        May day!  May day!  I just got rid of the smell from the last casserole.  I’m going to have to send word to the fuse box to trigger an emergency power outage.
        “She’s going to drop me like a bad habit, and I can’t imagine going through this without her.”
        Now, I thought Correa’s was going too far.  Her mom was going to be pissed without a doubt, but she wasn’t going to disown her.  She’ll save that for after the elopement.
        “Listen, I’ll talk to you tomorrow if I’m still alive.”
        Correa hung up the phone and sobbed.
        “Why did that rubber have to break?”
        I assumed she was referring to the rubber leg off the futon.  I’ve heard certain “positions” are more conducive to human pregnancy, and I’m assuming the snapped rubber leg gave Terry the leverage he needed for impregnation.
        Correa opened my door, and let up a moan of disgust.
        “God damnit.  I need to go grocery shopping.”
        I should have told her the groceries from Friday are still in the pantry, but I didn’t.  In her state, I’m not sure how she would take to a talking refrigerator. Besides, I’m sure that decomposing chicken breast will make its presence known in a couple hours.
        She placed her head gingerly against my freezer door. “Four hours and it will all be over. How am I going to do this?”
        I’d love to help ya, but close the door.  I’m not air conditioning your apartment, you know.
        Correa stood up and closed my door, “What the hell am I talking to you for? You’re just a refrigerator.”
        Touché.
        I thought Correa was overreacting slightly when she proceeded to do a Flight of the Bumblebee Round Robin in her apartment. I’ll be the first one to admit that her mother is a minion of evil who should be tarred, feathered, drawn, and quartered simultaneously.  However, unlike many Satan Incarnates, she does have some reasoning ability.  Unfortunately, her reasoning ability is spewing how un-Christianly homosexuals are while she’s playing a black jack table in a local casino. I guessed Mom will rant, rave, and bring Correa to tears several times this evening, but won’t actually disown her.  You see, the woman thrives on embarrassing her daughter.  It’s her entire entertainment basis. For the last family reunion, she held a slide show of all of Correa’s nude baby pictures and commented on Correa‘s small breasts in every picture.  When Correa was a bridesmaid at her best friend’s wedding, her mom stopped Correa halfway down the aisle and proceeded to adjust Correa’s control top pantyhose in front of the entire assembly.
           Around two hours before Mom’s planned visit, I noticed Correa acting oddly.  She put the futon back into it’s horizontal position (otherwise known as the “flip and fuck” position), set the table with her best white linen tablecloths, and arranged two plates of her good china on it.  A bottle of champagne still remaining from New Years Eve 1999 was placed on the table.  This made me realize that Correa is a terminal optimist.  She was obviously trying to soften Mom by adorning her with elegant dining.  In reality, the only thing that would touch the black hole of her heart would be if Correa told her that she had a brain tumor with 2 weeks to live.  Even then, her mother would blame the brain tumor on Correa being in the “dumb” reading group in third grade.
        I didn’t even know Correa left until she came back with a package of fresh red roses in one hand and a Godiva® chocolate cheesecake in the other.  If I had eyes, I would have rolled them.  Correa, Correa.  Is the hormones acting up so early in your pregnancy?  Your mother is allergic to chocolate, is lactose intolerant, and the only flowers she finds useful are the dead ones you find in “organic” bar soaps.  The more you inconvenience Correa’s mom, the more she curses. They say that the outside noises a baby hears while they are inside the womb affects his/her development. With these faux pas Correa just conducted, the baby was going to come out thinking his name is “Bastard”.
        About 30 minutes prior to The Bitching Hour, Correa picked up the phone.
        “Is this Veggie Planet? I’d like to order two tofu stir fry dinners for delivery.”
        Something was definitely out of whack.  Correa may have lost her mind on the cheesecake, but she would have to be in end stage Alzheimer’s to order her mom a tofu dinner.  The woman eats more meat in one sitting than the average saber-toothed tiger.  Nope, something is not kosher with this at all.
        Ding Dong.
        Especially as Correa’s mom never rings the doorbell.

        Then the legend goes, in Applianceville, they say,
        the refrigerator’s small brain grew three sizes that day.
        Maybe the dilemma isn’t about her Mom thinking she’s a whore.
        Maybe, he thought, it’s a little bit more.

        I heard muffled voices in the hallway, but I couldn’t distinguish them (my ice machine attachment decided right then that it was time to make ice).  I had my suspicions, but I couldn’t be sure.
        They came into the kitchen, and my ice trays dropped.  The futon converted into a bed, the roses, the cheesecake, the tofu, and the panicky call to Terry were now clear. I could have kicked myself for not realizing this quagmire before. Especially as I never believed her when she assured her buddies that they were “just friends”.
        This afternoon’s panic had nothing to do with the Queen of the Venus Fly Traps.
        It was how to break the news to Correa’s main squeeze. Her name is Christina.
        Correa ran her fingers through her raven hair. “Christina, we gotta talk.”
        In the distance, I swear I could hear Mom teeing up her golf ball.
 

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