Missing Things (From the Archives)

(Originally posted April 20, 2012 from wordpress.mattilenaharris.com)

I should probably tell you that I am the owner of a hobgoblin.

Oh, but not by choice. REALLY not by choice. It came with the house.

I didn’t notice my new “pet” right away. I’d been living here for about a year, and even then I only noticed it because I noticed the forks. Or rather, the lack thereof. When I’d moved in, I had a full set of forks–two sets really, since one was a set of picnic forks, with cute little yellow daisies on the handles.

I suspect it may have been the daisies that started the whole mess. What hobgoblin can resist daisies? But this is only conjecture, mind you.

Then, at breakfast one morning, I opened the silverware drawer and abruptly noticed that I only had FOUR forks left. Four out of what had to have originally been twelve or maybe even sixteen.

Forks are not like socks. Socks are easy to misplace. The washing machine must have eaten them, the average person might say. Or the dryer, even. But I hand wash all my dishes, including my forks, and there is no other place in this house where forks “go” when they are missing.

Missing Socks? Not a mystery.

Not that I didn’t look. Believe me, I looked. First, I looked in the kitchen, of course. Then, I looked in the bedroom, and in the book room (yes, I have a book room–I keep books and dragons there), and in the living room, and even in the bathroom. I looked under the bed, and in drawers and under sinks. I looked in every place imaginable, no matter how impossible or improbable, because I hadn’t yet grasped the real problem.

The house has a hobgoblin.

A hobgoblin is a sort of sprite, similar to the brownie, or so I understand, but a little more mischievous. At first, I was a little incredulous (who wouldn’t be?), but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I mean, think of all the things a hobgoblin could do with a collection of forks–defend itself from birds and beasties, rake its garden, tease its stupid younger cousin, and just generally impress its neighbors. And the pretty daisy-covered handles?

Well, it was probably too much for any decent hobgoblin to resist.

And I guess I should be grateful in an odd sort of way. The fellow did leave me FOUR of the forks to use for my own purposes. That’s rather generous. The hobgoblin could have left me with just three (three meals a day) or one, or none at all even!

Now where are those forks?

But here’s the thing. For a while, it was just the forks. But two months ago, I went from four white dessert plates to TWO.

Uh, oh.

And lately, he’s been testing me, I think. My USB drive went missing very briefly, only to turn up in a pocket I never use. My cell phone went missing as well, inducing a small panic attack, and some important papers. They all turned up again later, but it was enough to make me wonder what that fellow is up to…

Pushing the boundaries? Teasing me ruthlessly? Testing the security systems?

Because I do have security systems. Oh, yes. After the fork incident, I started taking “precautions,” though I can’t say much about them, of course. They’re top secret. I’m beginning to worry about their effectiveness, however.

So, I need to ask, does anyone know any good methods for deterring hobgoblin activity?

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