I Had a Talk With the Stuff That Fills My House

by Kari Anne Roy
Originally Published: 

I cast my eye warily around the room and I want to weep. I just … I can’t …

Where does all this shit come from?

The piles everywhere. The papers. The toys. The random empty bags. Binders and magazines and sewing kits and dismembered Lego people.

The shit in my house is a perfect example of how matter never disappears. You can rearrange it, but it never goes away. You think you’ve taken care of the problem, but then, much like the Terminator, all the small pieces somehow gravitate back to each other, creating a larger and more pissed-off pile of shit. It is a Sisyphean Terminator, all this stuff. Why can’t I get rid of it? I fill bags and take them to Goodwill. I give things away. I throw things away. Yet the shit persists.

“Good morning,” the shit says, its Lego and lost-penny eyebrows narrowing sinisterly. “How’s your coffee?”

I try to look away, but it keeps staring. Taunting.

“It smells really good, your coffee. I know this because I’m two feet closer to the kitchen than I was yesterday. Did you notice?” It raises its arm, made of lightsabers, and waggles broken crayon fingers in a cruel wave.

I can’t answer. I can only dream of one day finding its weakness. One day I will destroy this pile of shit for good.

“Maybe I can have a sip of that coffee?” it squawks through its battery-operated Voice Changer mouth. “Maybe we can be friends?” The pile of shit rolls closer, bolstered by Matchbox cars and Gordon the Big Engine.

I get up and move to the front porch. For now, I’m safe.

I want to sell our house. I mean, I want to do this for reasons other than the Fraggle Rock-esque Trash Heap inside of it. The house feels somehow too big and too small at the same time. We are using rooms for stuff instead of for people. Maybe I mistakenly think a different, smaller house will help relieve us of some of the shit. If there’s less space to put it, will it finally disappear? Is this the modern, suburban version of a tree falling in the forest?

Probably, I should hire someone to come in here and organize. That feels so ridiculous, though. I am a grown-ass woman. Shouldn’t I know which bouncy balls go in the trash and which ones are still necessary for developing gross motor function? Maybe I can start a business wherein mothers everywhere learn how to melt down all of the extraneous plastic toys in their homes to create a little backyard house just for themselves.

There are so many things I could do. Instead, I sit here, paralyzed by the task ahead of me. It’s an embarrassing problem to have, but from what I can tell, not uncommon. I think the solution might be to set the whole thing on fire.

Just kidding.


Maybe we can sell the house to the ever-more-sentient piles of shit. Just offer up the paperwork and back slowly away.

“How much are you asking?” The pile of shit twirls its mustache made of reclaimed felt. “Would you accept a 10 percent down payment?” It cracks its glitter-speckled knuckles. It coughs out a throaty, dead battery laugh.

I don’t know. I mean, if the shit has a good lender I could think of worse plans.

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