I could feel it under the material of the jumper. It wanted out. It had a lot of energy absorbed already. All I could do was hope that I hadn’t been an idiot for so long that there was no hope of controlling it now.
Why I didn’t think to put it back in containment immediately I don’t know. That should have been my first course of action. Put it back in before it gained too much energy. It was a warm day, it would absorb quickly. That was why it was in there in the first place, to keep it cool, to stop it getting any stronger… It was just plain embarrassing to have the sulky new girl remind me of what I should know instinctively.
She didn’t even seem to have any interest in what I was doing. You would think she might; outsiders who caught any kind of hint of how we all felt about the can tended to ask questions. She didn’t even seem to be recognising the fact that this was no ordinary Coke can. Either she was completely thick or she just didn’t want to believe the obvious.
I reckoned the first option was more likely.
“Start praying,” I told her.
She yawned and slouched further down the door.
“Hope you get killed first if this goes wrong,” I grumbled.
I shook the can free into its unit. For a moment, I truly believed it was going to stay put. The heroic story I was going to tell the rest was already being constructed in my head. I turned to the new girl, expecting more indifference, if she was even still there.
She was definitely still there.
“How did that happen?!” she shrieked, jabbing a finger behind me.
I knew what had happened. Turning around served no real purpose other than to completely remove any hope that I might be wrong. It saved me the trouble of moving by rolling in front of me. I threw my jumper back over it.
“Go back to hell,” I muttered, heading in search of a box again.
“It- It just jumped out! The can jumped!”
She was following me, actually climbing over the counter after me to state the obvious.
“And you’re leaving it alone now?”
She glanced behind her. “I can see it from here. Is it… alive?”
“In a way. It’s-” I feel something catch in my throat. I start again. “It’s-”
She gives me a couple more tries before speaking. “It’s… what exactly?”
“It’s too close, that’s what it is,” I snapped, throwing a cardboard box over the counter, “I can’t explain when it’s that close.”
“What, are you worried it’ll hear you?” she laughed.
I gave her a withering look. Definitely completely thick. “Of course it’ll hear me, but that’s not the problem. It knows what it is. It’s just stopping me from telling you.”
“A can of Coke is stopping you from telling me something?”
“Not the can. What’s in the can.”
“People like you should be strangled at birth, you know that? No, not the Coke! There’s something else in there you idiot! And that’s what’s stopping me. You think a normal can of Coke can jump?”
She sobered up with that. “I’m sorry, I just- It’s a lot to take in.”
“You haven’t been told anything. What exactly are you taking in?”
“The fact that it’s possible for something in a can to make it jump out of a fridge.”
I threw the can-in-a-jumper into the box and handed it to her. “Well, I have something else for you. This is a terrible situation, we all might die because of it, it is all your fault and you are going to sort it out.”