a story by Max Reif


     Monday it was not so bad. When Larry got home from school, he saw that his extra pair of shoes had walked out of the closet. The two shoes were laying on the floor of his room, far away from one another. One was upside down. The other lay tipped over on one side with a sock spilling out of it onto the floor.
      Larry left the shoes where they were. They didn't look quite messy enough to put away. He went straight to his desk and started to do his homework.
      Once, he thought that out of the corner of one eye he could see the tipped-over shoe right itself and take another step. Oh, so quickly, he turned his head toward the shoe. It lay still on its right side.
      Hadn't it been on its left, though?


        When Larry got home and opened the door to his room on Tuesday, he saw that three of his sweaters had swung off their closet hangers and leapt onto the unmade bed! They lay there in separate heaps. They looked like they'd had a contest to see who could jump the farthest.      
      The shoes were still on the floor from the day before. Some papers seemed to have c-l-i-m-b-e-d down from his desk—then onto his chair—then had made their way onto the floor, too. They lay there merrily sunning themselves in the golden rays that streamed in from the window.      
      Larry thought this was all very strange. He had a lot of homework, though, so he did not waste any time paying attention to his wayward things.


     On Wednesday after school, Larry turned the knob on his room's door and opened it to find even more mayhem. His jacket lay on a windowsill. The three sweaters were still on the bed, though now they were all draped around one another in a single heap. Larry couldn't tell if they'd been wrestling or having a group hug.     
      The shoes and papers still lay on the floor. Thank heaven neither shoe had done any more walking since two days ago.      
      Now there was also money on the floor. Two quarters, two dimes, a nickel, and five pennies had all danced their way out of the pocket of yesterday's pants—one leg of which stuck out from behind Larry's dresser.      
      "You guys are lucky," Larry said addressing his disordered possessions. "I've got a History test to study for. Otherwise, I'd clean you up!"      
      And he set about his work.


     Thursday after school, Larry thought he heard noises inside his room as he neared the door. He yanked it open to try to surprise whoever or whatever having a party in there..
The room lay completely still. But what a mess! He didn't even want to go in. But he had nowhere else to do his homework, check his e-mail, or play computer games. So finally, he did.     
      An orange peel and a dirty bowl on the computer table were the first things Larry saw. They caught his attention because the orange peel was sitting partly in the bowl, partly hanging off the table, like a little slinky.      
      Beside the bowl at the very edge of the table sat a small puddle of melted ice cream. Strangely, Larry found another puddle the same size on the floor, just below. "Do those two know one another?" he wondered.      

     The shoes, sweaters, pants, and money were all still in their earlier places. And now, as Larry's eyes wandered the room, he noticed two more pairs of pants, one covering his bookcase and the other crunched into a corner of the room.
      Underwear had draped themselves across both his pillows. A winter coat hugged his chair from behind. Socks were all over the floor and bed as if they'd been shot out of a cannon.
      Larry shook his head in amazement. He had to clear a place on his chair, to even sit down. It was really hard to concentrate with all that stuff all over.


      "The week's finally over!" Larry breathed a sigh of relief as school let out on Friday. All day, though, he'd felt nervous about what he might find at home.
      When he got to his room, he slowly turned the doorknob and carefully opened the door. He wasn't even sure why--maybe just to delay going in.     

      Larry shrieked. Sweaters and shirts were pouring out of his closet, swinging like monkeys from their hangers, even as he watched! Pants were walking out of the closet all by themselves.  
      His sock and underwear and t-shirt drawers were open. A procession of clothes jumped like paratroopers from each one.
      The waste basket by his desk had turned over. The balled-up pieces of thrown-away paper were having a paper fight among themselves.
      Books were jumping off the bookshelves. Coins were flipping themselves off Larry's dresser, loudly calling out "Heads!" or "Tails" as they landed.      
      That was all in addition to the shoes. They were not only walking now, but tap-dancing, brazenly, all over the room
          "Mom!" shouted Larry. "Help me!"      

      Larry's mother opened the door and stuck her head in. Larry, lying in pajamas in his bed, opened his eyes.
      "It's Saturday morning, Larry," his mom's cheerful voice chimed like bells. "Time to clean your room!"      
      Deeply relieved, Larry got up and feverishly went to work.

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