My neighbor, Alexis, who lives two apartments down the hall from me, is missing. I heard a rumor about her this morning when i was out doing errands. I overheard two women talking about this building, and about how weird things always happen here. And i thought to myself, well, weird things happen around here because the Fates live upstairs in the penthouse. All three of them. They’ve been gone for awhile though, on vacation or whatever. So things are weirder than usual.
This is what i heard about Alexis. I heard that she got on this building’s elevator three days ago, and it took her back to 1974! I know, right?! How insane is that? I tell myself it can’t be true. But then again, stranger things have happened, and not only in this building but all over the city. There’s a wild tale going around that there’s another Portland. No, not Portland, Maine. It’s called Other Portland, meaning Portland in an alternate dimension. I laughed about that all the way home from the grocery store, but, i didn’t take the elevator back to the ninth floor. I took the stairs. I’m not getting on that thing as curious as i am, and i’m extremely curious. One could call me nosy.
A thought jumps into my mind as i relax on my couch with a piece of home made peach pie and a glass of iced tea. I have a key to Alexis’ apartment. Two months ago, i dog sat for her when she was in Green Bay visiting her sister and brother in law. I love Al’s poodle, Doro. She’s such a sweetheart and so smart. And now that i think of it, if Alexis is gone, what about that precious pup? Who’s taking care of her? Anyway, before i returned Alexis’ key, i had it copied. I know what you’re thinking. Why? Well, i’ve had my suspicions about her for quite awhile. I think she could be a spy or a witch. This is the perfect time to snoop around her place, that is, if she really has disappeared. No one has seen her, and there are three newspapers stacked outside her door.
Yes. I decide to do it. I rinse my glass and plate, leave them by the sink, get my purse, her key, and my key of course. I don’t go anywhere without locking my door, even if i’m just going down the hall. I wouldn’t want anyone snooping around in here while i’m gone.
I open my door, look both ways, see no one, lock my door and head for #916. The hall is dead quiet. Usually there are a couple of people milling in and out, but no one is around. I slide the key into her lock, and i’m in! Everything looks normal. Her apartment is always neat with everything in its place. I take a seat in her reading chair and take a good look around. No Doro. I hope she’s okay and with her beloved human. Did Al go away by accident or on purpose? Did she plan to go to Other Portland and take Doro with her? I think, listen to yourself, Sherri! You’re thinking about an imaginary place.
Just now, i hear a knocking sound coming from the kitchen. Yes, it’s a knock. Or four knocks. Three knocks close together, then a few seconds later, one knock. My heart is in my throat. I say, hello out there? Anyone here? Again, the knocks. I slowly walk toward the kitchen and peer in the doorway. I swallow a big lump. The knocking is coming from inside the silverware drawer. Do i open? Of course! I’m being ridiculous. Nothing alive is in that drawer. I slowly open it. I see a set of wooden spoons, one of those containers for silverware, and a roll of aluminum foil. And, this freaks me out, the roll of foil jumps out of the drawer and up to the counter. I jump away. The roll bounces a couple of times on its own. Do i swat it like a fly? What the hell?! I reach out with my right hand to grab it. It’s not moving now. It looks like an ordinary roll of foil. I hold it up in front of me with my left hand and unroll a big piece of the stuff with my right. Yep, normal foil. But then it speaks! It says, Sherri! It’s me, Alexis! You must help me! Please, Sherri! I’m trapped in 1974 with a wacko bunch of people! Then, of all things, i see Alexis’ face in the foil i’ve pulled, but haven’t torn off. She does indeed look frightened.
How do i help you, Alexis?
It’s the aluminum foil! That’s the key. You have to bake something delicious, cover it with a big piece of foil, then get on the elevator! I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. That’s how i got here.
I look at Alexis’ face in the foil. She looks sane enough, though frightened. Maybe she’s lost her mind. Then again, this could be real, or i suppose it could all be a dream. Only one way to find out. I say, okay. I’ll do it. She looks relieved. And i say, what should i bake?