(Modified repost from May of 2008.)

Suppose you’re in a random room, and look under the bed. I’ve done your cogitation for you, and offer this little list for determining by that what you find there just who lives in the said room.

  • A bent coin: A stressed person, or someone with odd notions about luck. Back out of the room, slowly, and then run. Stressed ones do inadvisable things, and luck people might want a lock of your hair and a piece of your colon — just for luck. (This colon-thing is speculation.)
  • Some dust, some dust-shrouded shapes, some faint sounds: The owner’s breeding chihuahuas under his bed. (There are three other alternatives, but they are too terrible to be mentioned. This is not speculation.)
  • Some dust, some flecks of blood: The owner’s either having a period or some other dark secret. It would be best if you left without saying a word. (This might be speculation.)
  • A giant trembling ball of dust: The owner is going through the extreme stages of caffeine withdrawal. That ball’s him. (This is a blatant lie.)
  • A coin that is stuck to the carpet: A student, and, furthermore, a male student. Possibly of many, many years. And that is not a hairy psychedelic carpet; it’s the floor.
  • A fifty-cent coin: A wealthy student. (Quick, take the coin! If you’re looking under beds and thinking of coins, you need every single one you find.)
  • A five-euro bill: An honest working man, maybe? Or maybe it’s a trap — run!
  • A twenty-euro bill: Either a banker or an extra-careless guy — get quickly from under the bed before it collapses on you. (In the banker’s case that would be a security feature. And you don’t want to be caught by a banker, oh no — do you know they put failed robbers and such in chains and use them to move stuff around in the vaults? Because they can’t trust ordinary going-in going-out working men in there. But the robbers, once caught, never leave.)
  • There’s nothing under the bed, but the floor has been licked clean: Ah, someone on a diet… make him happy and leave a few chocolate sprinkles.
  • No coin, but a faint coin-mark in the floor: Either someone you’ve visited before, or you’re a Sherlock Holmes. Or then the dreaded Australian Vegemite wasp slept there and is, coin-sized and coin-shaped, creeping to you. Their sting is lethal, and they’re only afraid of the “Nhaah! Nhah!” cries and movements of the Woollomooloo spastic goatstrangler boomslang — do your best.

I wildly guess this is enough to cover around 85.44% of all beds. Around 10% of the rest are so choked with dust, old toys and body parts that there’s no actual space under them anymore.

The remaining fraction consists of futons, sleeping dinghies, antibacterial all-night tanning beds (the dust is on the top, and gyrates in electric swirls; the coin levitates and gives off blue sparks), stream beds, traditional Mongolian yurt cabinettes, and traditional Finnish family-size mämmi vats.

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