So I decide to quickly step out and pick up some beer. I step in my bedroom, throw on some clothes. I come back out into the main room, pick up my keys off the computer desk, and suddenly notice that there's a small paper bag with fourteen marbles in it, just sitting there. Odd little marbles, of slightly varied size. Some have a metallic sheen, some are an almost frosted matte finish, others are an opaque speckled pattern.

I do not own any marbles.

Where did they come from? They were right next to my keys on my desk. Maybe they were even on top of my keys. Picking up my keys is one of those practiced motions that I do almost automatically, thoughtlessly, so I can't be sure what I remember about initially discovering them.

It could be the cat sitters. I recently got back from a two week vacation, and I'm sure Larry and Nancy were coming and going all the time. But I don't think they have marbles, and if they did, I can't imagine a constellation of circumstances that would result in them leaving them here. More to the point, I don't remember seeing the bag of marbles over the past couple of days, when I was coming and going, putting keys down and picking them up, and using the computer, with the keyboard sitting right next to them.

It must be recent. It must have happened this evening.

My girlfriend? She could have dropped by and put them there as some kind of joke. That wouldn't surprise me. But she would've stuck around. And I just talked to her and she really didn't seem to know anything about them. And I think she's on the other side of town.

The neighbors? The front door has been open a few inches to allow the cats in and out. And I have spent a few moments here and there in the bathroom and the bedroom -- there have been opportunities over the past couple of hours. But they seem like relatively quiet people, and I get the impression they're rather mundane. What would possess them to sneak into my apartment, leave a small bag of marbles in plain sight, and sneak out again?

One of my friends? It could be. I know people who think like that. But why then has this never happened before?

I just looked down at the shirt I put on. It's inside out.


I need beer.