[The bidding for this object, with story by Blake Butler, has ended. Original price: 99 cents. Final price: $59.00. Significant Objects will donate the proceeds of this auction to Girls Write Now.]
My granddad’s granddad had a box under his bed. If you got to open the box (you had to beg) you would find a little door. The little door had a combination on it that you had to know to get inside the second box, which I did. I had the combination tattooed on my spinemeat when I was four while on a trip to see the circus. The tattoo was free. My granddad’s granddad was very powerful and rich.
With granddad’s granddad in the bed asleep above me, I opened up the box inside the box. My knees were bloody from the begging. I could see way down into the box. There was a black pattern, then a ladder. I fell forward and grabbed ahold. The inside of the box smelled like the backyard where the money got made from skin. I began to climb along the ladder, getting older every rung. I was a very special boy.
The room under my granddad’s granddad’s room was octagon-shaped. As I climbed into the room, the mouth to it closed. The walls along the room were lined with little cubbies. There were more cubbies than I have days I’ve lived, or hairs that I have grown, which is also more than how many mouths I’d put my mouth against if I lived to be very, very old.
In each of the cubbies there was a little globe. Each globe held another little thing, each named with a label for what the thing was. There was a cubby with a globe containing FIRST EVER REDWOOD TREE. One containing PERRY MASON. One containing PEAS. The globe containing JOYOUS LONGING held a bright pink liquid smoke. PERRY MASON looked pissed off.
The globe containing UTAH made a burning sound against my head, and there were all these people chanting, and my face got all sandy and all wet. I shook it and it made my blood tingle and some coins appeared in my hands. I had so many gold coins I could live forever. Some of the coins were chocolate, which was food.
The ladder would not come back down. I could find no door in all the cubbies. No doorbell or key or gun.
In one cubby I could see out of the room beneath granddad’s granddad’s room. I could see back into the house where I’d grown up. In a little mirror on the counter across from where I was I could see back onto the label underneath the cubby in the house that held the globe I was inside now: MY GREAT GREAT GREAT GRANDSON.