Blow-Up / Blow Out

blow_out posters

See no evil, hear no *hiccup* evil.

The Film(s): An amateur detective double feature

The Potable: One six-pack of Deschutes Inversion IPA

At approximately 4:30 on the afternoon of April 3, I left my Washington, DC apartment to attend happy hour at a local establishment. I decided to check my mailbox on the way out, and found I’d received a much-anticipated credit card from my bank. Not to brag, but I am now part of an exclusive financial club because my credit is so bad. I walked back to my apartment, left the mail on the counter, and went to get drunk off my ass.

The following morning, I shuffled into my living room in my underwear. The bright sun beaming in, I closed the blinds and began searching the mailstack for a Wells Fargo envelope. Somehow, it was nowhere to be found. Dumbfounded, I scanned the surrounding floor, scratched my right butt cheek, and began to panic.

I dumped the recycling across the kitchen floor and rifled through the empty yogurt containers and Reese’s cup wrappers. I found, to my surprise, my latest issue of Garden & Gun, which I placed gingerly atop the counter, but saw no sign of the credit card. I checked the trash can. Recently emptied, it contained only a single item: a crumpled envelope, unmarked, unopened, and empty. Could this have been the vessel? And if so, where was the card?

blow-up-2

Think, I thought to myself. Think. What could I remember of the night before, what could I put together? Nothing came to mind, but then I did remember that I took a picture of my reflection in the microwave door because I thought the lighting made me look a bit like a young Mark Hamill. Grabbing my cellphone, I discovered I had actually taken 53 of these photos. I chose a few and began to scrutinize their backgrounds. A tomato soup can, a wine bottle, a cucumber cut inextricably lengthwise. The microwave timer reading 15:23 in one photo, 15:22 in another, 15:21 in another. I noticed something odd and zoomed in on the coffeemaker, where a small object appeared to be floating in the leftover brew. Something rectangular, maybe. I squinted. Maybe something flat? I rushed over and tore open the lid before the liquid ruined the magnetic strip, but found the mystery object was only a District Taco punch card, of which I have three. I sighed, partly out of frustration, partly out of relief, but it’s true; I really could have played a convincing Luke Skywalker.

What other clues? When my fiancé arrived home, I explained the situation to her. While she had no idea where my credit card was, she did claim to have a video of me reclining on the couch while singing Lyle Lovett’s If I Had a Boat. “May I?” I asked. If I had a boat, I’d go out on the ocean. Rewind. If I had a boat, I’d go out. Rewind. If I had a boat, I’d go out on the. Rewind. If I had. Fast-forward. Kiss my ass, I bought a boat. Rewind. If I. If I. If I. In the video’s lower left corner, I could make out numbers. Credit card digits? Damnit. Who could say.

blow out

In my desperation, I began to consider all manner of wild theories. I considered the possibility that I’d become embroiled in the assassination plot of a sitting governor. I questioned whether I’d received the envelope at all, if I had invented a mystery to give my hollow, bourgeois life meaning. But mostly, I became convinced that this riddle involved our new upstairs neighbor. Days prior, I had emailed our building manager to complain about the music constantly emanating from our ceiling. Journey, mostly. 1978’s Infinity, which, I’m sorry, is just not my favorite dad-rock. I’ve had nightmares ever since, dreams of her standing over my bed at three in the morning to whisper “Why are you such a…square?” before shoving a 2×2 up my ass. Could it be that her real revenge was to sneak into our apartment and steal the first thing I’d notice?

“Isn’t this it?” my fiancé asked, holding up one of the envelopes from the stack. It was from MasterCard, not Wells Fargo, and I opened it to discover she was indeed correct. “You should really be more careful about your credit card,” she added. “Especially when your number is the coordinates for Lexington, Kentucky plus your birthday and month, and the answer to all your security questions is just your last name [Page].”

“Thanks for the advice,” I said sarcastically.

Mystery solved, I sat down to watch one of these movies, though I forget which one.

Verdict(s): beers on me!

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