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The Mystery Children of Yale

Their names are on the Yale Facebook. You know their alleged hometowns from the construction paper cutouts that FroCos paste on doors to create illusions of camaraderie. Maybe you’ve disturbed their sleep when belting out Blink-182 at 10:30 on a Saturday night. You could even have been in their econ section. Their names are there—but are there bodies to accompany the identities? One man (me) went on a quest to discover the truth about the mystery children of Yale.

I entered the suite above mine with some trepidation. I wasn’t even sure the door would work—I’d never seen it open or close. Armed with Ziploc bags, a flashlight, SPF 40, and a sawed-off double barrel loaded with two silver slugs, I crossed the threshold into the unknown.

First thought: their bathroom is unsettlingly hygienic. No puddles on the ground, no stench of fart. The Garnier Fructis shampoo container appears to be used, but I attribute that to evaporation and other natural processes that I’m sure also apply to artificially-manufactured mango-scented liquids. I take my first piece of evidence: a toothbrush. I lost mine and this seems easier than going all the way to Walgreens.

The common room is next. Clean. Too clean. No TV, but a few posters of some of the lesser-known works of Matisse and Rembrandt. Possibly an illusion to trick someone less experienced into thinking that the existence of humanity in this suite is possible. The couch has no permanent imprint of human buttocks, but there is what appears to be a hair. I put it into a Ziploc, but not the same one as the toothbrush. That’d just be gross. I approach the softly humming refrigerator in the corner and open it slowly, hand on sunscreen. Empty. Not even a two-day old Wenzel or an Arizona Iced Tea. This fact nullifies the possible progress represented by the hair. The common room, like the bathroom, neither confirms nor denies the existence of humanity.

All of the doors are closed. One appears to be decorated festively with Christmas wrapping paper. Some might see this as a breakthrough, but I deride such naïveté and continue searching, shining my flashlight under each door.

And then: a sound. The drum of humanoid fingers tapping on the keys of a personal computer. Vivid images of my Green Beret days in ‘Nam flash before my eyes, but I regain my composure despite the temptation to run away and stress-eat FroYo. I put my ear against the door. The typing stops abruptly. I whip out my iPhone and quietly ask Siri to get Ronnell Higgins on the line, just in case. And then I brace myself and kick open the door, prepared for the worst.

“Hello? You’re…Andrew, right? From downstairs?”

—A. Sobotka

This piece is from the Myth and Legend Issue. Like it? Read the whole thing here!


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