The Jug

Edited by Melissa Mayberry

It was located in the secret place I snuck off to when things got chaotic around the airport. I worked security for over a year when I noticed the secret place. It was small with barely enough room to turn around, but cozy. I imagined a stuffy real estate woman describing the place as ‘quaint’ or ‘rustic’, but what would she say about the jug of mysterious chemicals that sat in the center of the room?

The thing had been there for a million years. Late at night when flights were canceled because of a snow storm, I stumbled into that place. The jug was eerie and sometimes when everything was quiet, I got the sense it was trying to talk to me.

“Well, Jug,” I said, sitting down opposite the canister. “It’s a quiet night out there.”

The jug was old and brown and monstrously huge. It had started off as one of those nice, shiny, metal jugs with a lot of promise for something important. The jug went around telling everything that he was going to be something useful one day – more useful than the milk cartons and stronger than the bottles of bleach used for cleaning swimming pools. When he got a chance to be used for cleaning solvents, he scoffed and said he had more potential than that.

When I found the jug, it had already turned a rusted dark brown.  My boss had kept it as a souvenir and would unscrew the cap to flick his cigarettes into the bottom of the darkened container. The jug ate them wordlessly.

I never asked the head of airport security where he found the jug, but as I sat there describing the night, I could feel something rumble.

“Too quiet”  It said.  The silence was deadly.


Photo by Steven Mcvey