Jordan Castro

VERSION 1

Sam goes on vacation. While he is gone, the food in his refrigerator goes bad. He thinks, “The food in my refrigerator has probably gone bad.” When Sam gets home, he ignores his refrigerator. He eats out for every meal he doesn’t skip. He only buys food he doesn’t need to refrigerate. He does not invite anyone over, because his apartment has started to smell. Sam gets used to the smell. Flies and maggots and things Sam doesn’t recognize infest his apartment. He doesn’t see them. Sam’s clothes and hair stink like rotting meat and cheese and vegetables, and he loses his job and his friends. Sam dies alone in his apartment.

VERSION 2

Sam goes on vacation. While he is gone, the food in his refrigerator goes bad. He thinks, “The food in my refrigerator has probably gone bad.” When Sam gets home, he ignores his refrigerator. He eats out for every meal he doesn’t skip. He only buys food he doesn’t need to refrigerate. He invites some friends over and they tell him his apartment smells. Sam is used to the smell, and can’t smell it, but, thinking of his refrigerator and how it probably smells, he believes them, and, after feigning surprise for a time, tells them that the smell is coming from his neighbor’s apartment. The next time Sam’s friends come over, they notice the smell. Again, Sam blames his neighbor. Some weeks later, alone, Sam notices that flies and maggots and things he doesn’t recognize have infested his apartment. He calls the police. “My neighbor has something rotting in his apartment,” Sam tells the police officer on the phone. “I think it might be a dead body.” The police show up and there is no dead body. The police knock on Sam’s door and Sam invites them into his apartment. The police instantly smell the rancid smell and see the flies and maggots and other bugs on and around Sam’s refrigerator. “Sir,” one of the police officers says, “the smell is coming from your refrigerator.” Sam looks at his refrigerator. “Oh my god,” Sam says. Sam and the two police officers carry Sam’s refrigerator to the curb. Sam gets a new refrigerator. Some time later, Sam goes on vacation. The food in his refrigerator goes bad.

VERSION 2.1 (alternate ending)

… The police show up and find a dead body. Sam’s neighbor goes to jail. Sam moves, because he fears for his safety. The landlord has to remove the refrigerator from Sam’s old apartment before showing it to new prospective tenants. Some time later, Sam goes on vacation. The food in his refrigerator goes bad.

VERSION 2.2 (alternative ending)

… The police show up and there is no dead body. The police knock on Sam’s door and Sam invites them into his apartment. The police instantly smell the rancid smell and see the flies and maggots and other bugs on and around Sam’s refrigerator. “Sir,” one of the police officers says, “the smell is coming from your refrigerator.” Sam looks at his refrigerator. “No it isn’t,” Sam says. Sam attacks the police officers, who restrain and arrest him. When Sam gets out of jail, his apartment has been cleaned and rented to someone else. Sam moves to a new apartment. Some time later, Sam goes on vacation. The food in his refrigerator goes bad.

VERSION 2.3 (alternate ending)

… The police show up and there is no dead body. The police knock on Sam’s door and Sam invites them into his apartment. One of the police officers is surprised to see that Sam is black and yells “Gun!” The other police officer instantly shoots Sam 7 times in the head, neck, and upper chest, killing him instantly.

VERSION 3

Sam goes on vacation. While he is gone, the food in his refrigerator goes bad. Sam thinks, “The food in my refrigerator has probably gone bad.” When Sam gets home, he opens his refrigerator. “Fuck,” Sam says. He closes his refrigerator. Sam looks up the phone number for a house cleaning service on the internet. Three days later, two women arrive at Sam’s apartment. He tells them they don’t need to clean the whole apartment, just the refrigerator. Sam goes into his bedroom and sits on his bed with the door closed as the two women clean the refrigerator. When they are done, Sam enters the kitchen and opens the refrigerator. It is clean, but empty. Sam goes grocery shopping. Some time later, Sam goes on vacation. The food in his refrigerator goes bad.

VERSION 4

Sam goes on vacation. While he is gone, the food in his refrigerator goes bad. Sam thinks, “The food in my refrigerator has probably gone bad.” When Sam gets home, he opens his refrigerator. “Fuck yeah,” Sam says aloud, to no one. He leaves the refrigerator door open, letting the rotten smell permeate his apartment. “Time to party,” Sam says. His eyes roll into the back of his head. He takes off all his clothes and does the worm all over the apartment, bumping into things and knocking things over. He stands, then walks very slowly toward the refrigerator while moaning. “You are what you eat,” Sam says. He chuckles while clasping his hands behind his back. “Cowabunga!” he says. Sam cracks his knuckles then repeatedly flings his head into the refrigerator door, knocking things out of it and onto the floor. Things spill everywhere. Sam uses his teeth to open the vegetable drawer then shoves his face into the rotten vegetables. There are maggots on the raw meat on the middle shelf, and he growls while tearing it apart with his mouth. He spits chunks of the maggot-infested raw meat back into the refrigerator, then sucks it back up into his mouth and swallow the chunks whole. “You cannot stop me,” Sam growls. “You cannot stop what’s meant for me from coming.” Sam masturbates with his right hand while using his left hand to pull his own hair. “Argh, argh,” Sam says. Sam bites a hunk of moldy cheese and moves his head in a counterclockwise circle. “Mmmph,” Sam says. “[Gargle noise, gargle noise]. Mmmph.” Sam chokes. He falls over. He dies with the refrigerator door still open.

VERSION 5

Sam goes on vacation. While he is gone, the food in his refrigerator goes bad. Sam thinks, “The food in my refrigerator has probably gone bad.” When Sam gets home, he opens his refrigerator. “Fuck,” Sam says. He closes his refrigerator. Sam gets a garbage bag, cleaning solution, a roll of paper towels, and gloves from beneath his sink. He can’t find a mask, so he ties an old bandana around his nose and mouth. Sam opens the refrigerator. The smell hits him again. Sam gets overwhelmed and takes everything out of the refrigerator, throwing it all into the garbage bag then running outside with it. He throws the garbage bag in the trash can outside. Later that night, Sam is hungry, but he has nothing to eat. Sam goes to the grocery store and spends money he doesn’t want to spend on things he’d already had, but that he’d thrown away or let go bad. The next time Sam goes on vacation, he throws certain foods away beforehand.

VERSION 6

Sam goes on vacation. While he is gone, the food in his refrigerator goes bad. Sam thinks, “The food in my refrigerator has probably gone bad.” When Sam gets home, he opens his refrigerator. “Fuck,” Sam says. He closes his refrigerator. Sam gets a garbage bag, cleaning solution, a roll of paper towels, and gloves from beneath his sink. He can’t find a mask, so he ties an old bandana around his nose and mouth. Sam opens his refrigerator. The smell hits him again. Sam gets overwhelmed and closes the refrigerator. He pulls his bandana down around his neck and takes a deep breath. He says a prayer. He thinks of a plan. Sam opens the refrigerator again, and the smell hits him again. Starting from the top left corner and working his way across each shelf, then down, Sam inspects each item, throwing away what has gone bad and keeping what is good. At one point, while throwing out some rotten meat, Sam gags and vomits. He cleans that too, then takes a break. Sam returns to what he started and he finishes. Later that night, Sam is hungry. He takes some food from his refrigerator, cooks, and eats it. After he eats, he walks outside for some fresh air. The next time Sam goes on vacation, he eats what will go bad while he is gone before he leaves.


Jordan Castro (b. 1992) is the author of two poetry collections. His work has been published in various online and print magazines. He lives in Cleveland, OH. He has a Twitter [http://twitter.com/jordan_castro], Instagram [http://instagram.com/jordancastroisthepresident], and a website [http://jordancastro.com

Kira Scerbin is an artist based in Chicago, IL. Her website is http://www.kirascerbin.com