“Here, take this!” The odd little old man said urgently as he shoved a brown shaving case into my hands. “And whatever you do, don’t let anyone see it.”
Before I could even respond with a question as simple as, “Who the hell are you?” the man disappeared into the crowd.
I looked down at the small brown bag that he had shoved into my hands and took a zipped open the top. Looking in, I saw only darkness. In fact, the weight of the bag seemed to be nothing more than that of a bag as well. It was too small to have any hidden compartments and definitely didn’t look as though the walls of it were lined with dollar bills or anything else that would be of any interest to anyone.
I mean, I suppose it’s possible that the man was just trying to find a way to get rid of something he no longer wanted and thought it would be funny to hand me a MacGuffin, something that I would think is important, but in the end serves no real purpose but appear to be important.
I take one long glance out through the crowd to see if I can find the man standing just within view, watching to see how I react to his prank. I don’t see him, but decide that it’s actually a pretty nice bag, and I had been looking for just such a bag to carry my toiletries for my upcoming trip to Florida. So, instead of giving the man the privilege of watching me be disappointed in the bag, assuming he is watching me from somewhere nearby, I decide to be happy with my newfound material possession and head back home.
As I walk, I suddenly realize that maybe there really is something terribly wrong with this bag. I quickly inspect the interior, assuming that perhaps there’s some large hole that would keep it from being useful. I see nothing. In fact, the bag seems to be in nearly perfect condition. All the same, maybe there’s something wrong with the zipper? Maybe it doesn’t open properly or something?
I open and close the zipper several times quickly and find no reason to believe it works in any way other than one would hope.
I open the bag once again and peer inside.
It’s actually really weird. I keep readjusting the bag toward the light, but I can never quite seem to get a clear look at the interior lining. It’s like somehow the bag holds shadow itself.
I reach my hand in, and that’s when things get really weird.
Outside of my wrist, and then my arm, scraping against the zipper, I can’t seem to feel anything inside the bag. When the zipper of the bag is up to my elbow, on a bag that shouldn’t allow much more than my hand to fit inside, I pull my hand out quickly and drop the bag to the ground.
Never letting my eyes leave the open gaping hole that just had the entirety of my arm within, I shake as I stare at the impossible bag in front of me.
Then my mind clears.
Obviously I’m mistaken. I mean, there’s no possible way my whole arm just went down into that tiny bag. Maybe I just haven’t had enough coffee yet this morning and I got caught up in a little daydream.
Yeah, that’s it.
I laughed as I realized how much I had allowed such a silly thought as a bag having more space on the inside than the outside would suggest to completely frighten me. I mean, that’s got to be a luggage designer’s biggest technological achievement, right? I mean, if it were ever even possible.
If only my story had ended there.
At that precise moment, when the inward laughter at myself had just started to become a self-deprecating smirk at my complete stupidity, the impossible happened.
A face appeared in the open hole of the brown little bag laying on the floor in front of me. A face which looked up at me and smiled before becoming an entire head, and finally a fully formed human, which somehow stepped out of the bag which had an opening barely big enough to fit one of his large legs.
He looked at me in amusement before turning to pick up the bag.
“Thanks!” he said as he turned to walk off.
“Wait!” I shouted, after regaining my ability to speak.
The man looked over his shoulder at me, the smile still wide across his face. “Sorry, can’t explain now. All I can say is, Hammerspace.”
He sprinted out of the alley and into the street without another word, and I was left alone, no bag, no nothing except for the single word. Hammerspace.
I thrust my hands into my pockets as I watched the man disappear into the crowd to find something new within. A small card.
On it were these words:
“Thanks for the help, kid! Sorry for frightening you. Comes with the territory. Since you’re already in the know, we could probably use your help. Meet us tonight at 7pm at the Bark-a-Lounge. I promise you won’t be disappointed.”
I just watched a shaving kit give birth to a fully grown human male and then magically ended up with a card willing to explain it?
I threw the card toward a nearby dumpster and headed back home.
Whatever those guys are up to, I ain’t interested.