On YouTube, there are people who shop for mystery boxes in the Deep Web and literally pay—eyebrows lift here—a thousand dollars for them!
What do they get? A screwdriver (what taints it, blood or bleach?). An iPhone 4 box. A defunct camera with an SD card. A spent seven-iron. Some sinister set of numbers. A rotting appendage.
There’s also a mashed dark matter in a clear plastic bag. Unsure of what it is, a YouTuber waited a bit, then wretched in the background. “Shit?”
It could be worse.
More often than not, the boxes contain sundries of useless things. And, boy, they reek; it’s all over these YouTube guys’ faces upon unboxing, the kind called for in terrifying plot twists when the police stumble upon some dead fella in state of decay.
Apparently the mystery is what they pay for. The thrill. The feeling that this bloodied rubber duck must be something. Where do these articles point us to? A state secret? An age-old Divine agenda? An unsolved murder case? The answer to the existential question, “Are we alone in the universe?”
“Who sent these things” is everybody’s guess in the comment section. These human beings are of equal mystery. Whoever they are, they must be very happy because how else can you earn a grand for pieces of crap?
Which is not to say good things won’t come in mystery boxes. Take this middle-aged woman who talked about her sex toy.
“I got it from a mystery box,” she said. She was a motormouth and, judging from her totally made-up self, must be the type who leads a solitary life with a cat and gets turned on when her pet canoodles with his teddy plaything.
I didn’t quite catch what particular sex toy it was. But gleaning from the woman’s gesture, it sure was long, “it moves like Mick Jagger,” and sounded like “oldies” in reverse. Dildo?
“I’m loving it,” she said, adding that “wonderful things like this” are really hard to come by in mystery boxes. This, when she could have bought an actual sex toy that, well, comes in discreet packaging.
“Try it!” the woman egged her friend on, as casually as when people their age talk their senior friends into taking a colonoscopy.
Her friend, apparently discreet, seemed aware of the scene they must now be making. Chuckling, she shushed her friend by expressing approval in a hush, but reminded her that, when talking about something nasty in public, by all means they must do it with grace.
“I mean try buying a mystery box,” she said.
Truth is, I have always wanted to try ordering a mystery box either online or from a friend who said his girlfriend is not for sale. If he could throw in a few bottles of decades-old whisky or a car key, that would be swell.
Or buy it from somebody who is at least as obsessed as I am with making mysteries and building suspense with absolutely no end goal, say a modern-day Salem witch who ships cursed objects to random addresses, or some unknown person who would send me not necessarily a mystery box, but a mystery item whose riddle would take me all of my natural life to crack.
Once, a stranger sent me a mystery item in the guise of some wee piece of alien technology which, I believe, he deliberately left in the public washroom: a SIM card.
This was the mini variant, Globe. But what got the best of me was that it has a crooked letter C inscribed on one side. Classified?
I am obsessed with signs and patterns; I have, at one time, chanced upon the image of Jesus Christ between the strands of Jolly Spaghetti, and, to this day, I wonder if God was telling me something.
Whatever information was on the SIM card, would it finally answer where the Yamashita treasure is on the face of the Earth? Would it answer the existential question: “Are Batman and Robin an item?” Is the Sim card supposedly owned by one of the President’s mistresses? Or is it the President’s per se and, thus, holds the clues to his method to madness or at least his “sexting” language—gentle, proppy, one befitting 70s gay porn? Or was this left by a lone-wolf terrorist, and therefore I could now realize my dream of becoming a hero?
I briskly plugged the plastic chip into my phone and read one of the messages:
“kala ko taung dalawa? Kala ko importante ako sau? Kala ko di mo ko iiwan? Kala ko b mahal mo ko?! Kng mhal mo ko bakit mo ko ginagani2??!!!”
What sorcery is this?