Upon opening his eyes after a restless night’s sleep the first thought that entered Carl’s mind was that his bedroom was smaller than it had been the night before. His eyes moved along the ceiling and down the walls and though he had no empirical evidence his gut was telling him the room was smaller.
He got up and showered and then examined the clothes he had selected the night before. Some gabardine trousers, an Egyptian cotton shirt and a brand new pair of black nylon socks. Carl always wore black socks. He went to the kitchen for his usual bowl of cornflakes with half a banana. As he sat at the kitchen table, his back straight and elbows tucked in he eyed the walls of the kitchen and was alarmed to find that it too was smaller.
By the time he put his bowl and spoon in the dishwasher he was not only concerned but also annoyed. Carl did not like situations that did not make sense to him. He walked into the living room and stood in the middle of it with his hands on his hips and eyed the walls and ceiling with care. The living room was smaller. He was dead certain. Something was going on. Something he had neither authorized nor been made aware of in any way.
He sat down in his favourite chair and thought hard. How could this have happened? How had his apartment become smaller overnight? This was most unseemly and Carl would not stand for it. Something needed to be done. Matters needed to be set straight.
How to go about it, that was the question. He had no evidence to support his contention; that was the immediate drawback. It wasn’t as if he had measured the rooms the day before and now found the corresponding measurements to be smaller. Even if he had measured how would he be able to prove it? Well, it didn’t really matter did it? The rooms were smaller and that was that.
He realized that he was very tired. He felt as if he should lie down and take a nap but it was only mid-morning. He was elderly, wasn’t he entitled to take a nap whenever he pleased? It wasn’t as if he had important things to do. He fought the urge a little longer and then gave in and retired to the bedroom.
As he drifted off to sleep he thought about how comfortable his bed was. He had never thought about it before but now it just felt so good. He would deal with the matter of the apartment later.
When he awoke he felt quite peaceful. Until he looked at the ceiling and walls, at which point he sat bolt upright in bed. The room had shrunk further. There could be not the slightest doubt. He stood up and gaped at the ceiling and then went into the living room. Yes, smaller. The kitchen too. His apartment was shrinking. He wandered around in a daze for several minutes and then made a decision. He needed to call the building superintendent. He didn’t care if he would be thought a doddering old fool; something needed to be done.
He went to the hall where the phone stand was but stopped short in amazement. The phone was not there. How was this possible? He never moved the phone. It had been in the same place for more than fifteen years. He reached his hand out to where it should be but there was nothing. All at once he felt so very tired. He needed to lie down. Perhaps a nap would do him good. As his head hit the pillow he felt comforted by the cosy security that surrounded him.
Part 2 Tomorrow