A Story by Phyllis Eisenstein: Lost and Found

What happened to your lost sock?

Have you ever had a problem finding something not that important? Maybe you couldn't find the TV controller when you were sure of its whereabouts, maybe you were holding it all along. Or maybe you were packing for a trip and couldn't find your favorite top you had worn several times before. How frustrating! You probably searched for hours and weren't able to find it. Apparently, sometimes things choose to vanish into thin air. But where do they go? How do they go? You just misplaced it, right? Well, it seems like Phyllis Eisenstein had different ideas about that.

Lost and Found follows the story of two roommates. Jenny, our protagonist, and Cath. The story starts with Jenny losing a screwdriver. She asks her roommate Cath where it is and Cath answers saying roaches, or maybe poltergeists, took it. Then Jenny gets to her room, then realizes that there are many things missing. It makes her a bit paranoid and she starts to feel like she is being watched. So, when she hears a shuffling sound coming from her closet, she calls out to her roommate and together they check it. Obviously, there is nobody there and she is just paranoid. Her roommate tries to calm her, to no avail. Jenny still hears voices and thinks that someone is out there in their apartment. Cath doesn't seem to take her seriously until she hears some voices herself. Together they check Jenny's closet again, finding two strangers. Apparently, people from the future were traveling to visit Jenny and collect some of her belongings to gather 'authentic souvenirs'.

The ending implies that the story's genre was science-fiction all along. To me, it was an amazing plot twist. It is so brilliant that you would think that this story is actually The Twilight Zone material. Well, actually... It is! The second season of the series includes an episode which has a part that was inspired by this story. With such a twist, I can say that it surely deserved that adaptation. After all, this story was chosen by Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg, and Joseph D. Olander to be among the 100 stories that would be gathered into a book known as Microcosmic Tales: 100 Wondrous Short-Short Fiction Stories. So, have fun reading and watching this brilliant story of Phyllis Eisenstein!