HYM and HUR
a paranormal fantasy-comedy
Opening of James Thurber's "A Box to Hide In"
I waited till the large woman with the awful hat took up her sack of groceries and went out, peering at the tomatoes and lettuce on her way. The clerk asked me what mine was.
"Have you got a box," I asked, "a large box? I want a box to hide in."
"You want a box?" he asked.
"I want a box to hide in," I said.
"Whatta you mean?" he said. "You mean a big box?"
I said I meant a big box, big enough to hold me.
"I haven't got any boxes," he said. "Only cartons that cans come in."
I tried several other groceries and none of them had a box big enough for me to hide in. There was nothing for it but to face life out. I didn't feel strong, and I'd had this overpowering desire to hide in a box for a long time.
"Whatta you mean you want to hide in this box?" one grocer asked me.
"It's a form of escape," I told him, "hiding in a box. It circumscribes your worries and the range of your anguish. You don't see people, either."
"How in the hell do you eat when you're in this box?" asked the grocer. "How in the hell do you get anything to eat?" I said I had never been in a box and didn't know, but that that would take care of itself.
"Well," he said finally, "I haven't got any boxes, only some pasteboard cartons that cans come in."
It was the same every place. I gave up when it got dark and the groceries closed, and hid in my room again. I turned out the lights and lay on the bed. You feel better when it gets dark. I could have hid in a closet, I suppose, but people are always opening doors. Somebody would find you in a closet. They would be startled and you'd have to tell them why you were in the closet. Nobody pays any attention to a big box lying on the floor. You could stay in it for days and nobody'd think to look in it, not even the cleaning-woman.
Edgar Allan Poe’s Letter to John Allan, his foster father.
Written March 20, 1827.
Be so good as to send me my trunk with my clothes. I wrote you on yesterday explaining my reasons for leaving. I suppose by my not receiving either my trunk, or an answer to my letter, that you did not receive it. I am in the greatest necessity, not having tasted food since yesterday morning. I have nowhere to sleep at night, but roam about the streets. I am nearly exhausted—I beseech you as you wish not your prediction concerning me to be fulfilled—to send me without delay my trunk containing my clothes, and to lend if you will not give me as much money as will defray the expense of my passage to Boston ($12) and a little to support me there until I shall be enabled to engage in some business. I sail on Saturday. Your letter will be received by me at the Court House Tavern, where be so good as to send my trunk.
Give my love to all at home. I am yours,
Edgar A. Poe
I have not one cent in the world to provide for any food.
For Your Reading Pleasure
Phillip Frey grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where he performed as a child actor at The Cleveland Playhouse. He later moved to New York where he performed with The New York Shakespeare Festival, followed by the Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center.
With a change of interest Phillip Frey wrote, directed and edited three short films, all of which had international showings, including The New York Film Festival. With yet another change of interest he returned to Los Angeles to become a produced screenwriter.
The books "Dangerous Times" and "Hym and Hur" were his first works of published fiction. More recently, Phillip Frey's contest-winning romantic comedy, "The Hero of Lost Causes," may be read in Scribes Valley Publishing's annual short story anthology, "Slow the Pace." Available in print and eBook.