We are above the pub. It is my job to vacuum in the mornings. The other staff are still sleeping, but I’m up and dressed and heading over to the cupboard I’ve opened countless times before.
It’s an understairs cupboard; the type that slopes front to back, not left to right. It’s just big enough to house the vacuum cleaner, along with a few other cleaning things. A can of polish, maybe; a few rags in a bucket.
I opened the cupboard the day before, and the day before that. I’ve opened it countless times before.
I reach for the knob with my left hand (the knob is on the right hand side of the door) first pulling the door towards and then sweeping it across me in the arc that completes its opening. I reach out (about mid-arc, probably) with my right hand for the vacuum cleaner’s upright handle - the flex wrapped in a figure of eight at its back, as I left it yesterday - and wheel it towards me, my left hand still raised, maybe even still on the door, ready to close it once more. And all in a matter of a few seconds, with a little shuffling to allow for the door’s return, I should be on my way, bumping and clattering down the stairs.
But on this particular morning, I open the door as usual (left hand guiding the door on its arc across me, right hand reaching for the handle) and there’s a space. Not a big space, but more than usual, because the vacuum cleaner has been pushed back, against the back wall of the cupboard. I reach a little further, aware of the unfamiliar movement, the shifting of weight onto the front foot as I tilt ever so slightly into the cupboard.
We look down. There is a box.