When Walter came home in the early hours of Sunday morning he found that his house keys had turned into a watermelon. How he had been walking around town all night with a watermelon in his pocket he would never know. But alas, that’s what it was — a watermelon — and now, there he was, standing outside his own house like an unwanted fruit salesman. He wondered whether he had accidentally grabbed the watermelon off his kitchen bench instead of his keys in a rush when he had left the house, just like sometimes he grabbed the chocolate milk from the supermarket fridge shelf accidentally instead of normal milk when he was exhausted after a long jog and couldn’t think straight because of the lactic acid throbbing in his calves or how sometimes in the evening when he was tired he would forgot his glasses were on his head and not in front of his eyes. But then, he couldn’t remember the last time he had even bought a watermelon. How had it ever fitted into his pocket in the first place? He turned up one of the many pot plants by the side of his front door hoping to uncover his spare key but found instead that the terracotta pot had turned into a elaborate 14th century Baroque marble statue of a nymph and satyr dancing in his hands, and the cactus that had once lived inside it was now a bright-yellow starfish slinking up the side of the drain pipe. How strange. He scratched his head, only to find that his hair had turned to ramen soup. Sticky seaweed-smelling egg yolk cascaded down his brow. This was all very odd.
Fortunately, Walter lived next door to his landlord, Mrs. Dort. Actually, it wasn’t always fortunate. She didn’t like loud music and she believed adamantly that children and adults should not even be seen, let alone heard. But now, she was his only option. It was quicker to jump over the short wire fence that separated their properties than to walk around. He knocked. Mrs. Dort, looking very sour, with curlers in her hair, opened the door.
‘Walter? It’s bloody three o’clock in the morning. What is it?’ she asked.
‘I’ve locked myself out,’ replied Walter. ‘And my hair. I think I’m turning Japanese. I mean, I think I’m turning into Japanese soup.’
Mrs. Dort frowned a dreadful frown. Of course, she had a spare set of keys and it was simple enough to get Walter back into his home, even if he was a bloody nuisance, but she did comment that she would have to take another look at the rent. That didn’t matter to Walter. At least, not now.
Walter breathed a sigh of relief as he spotted the glint of his keys in the fruit bowl.
‘I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain what …’ He turned around to see that Mrs. Dort had turned into a giant alligator and was now awkwardly navigating her way down the polished-mahogany stairs. The blue and green curlers that had once adorned her hair were now orange and purple butterflies flittering in the light coming in from the street through the art-deco glass panes of the front door. But Walter didn’t live in an apartment, he had certainly never been fortunate enough to live in a place where art-deco glass adorned anything, and where did the stairs come from?
He closed his door and pressed his back firmly against it. He was inside again. The alligators be damned. He was inside. He breathed. And he breathed. And he breathed.
But his mind slipped and knotted itself together again like an alive and insane ball of yarn. Had Mrs. Dort always been an alligator? Had she temporarily turned herself into a human person? Or the other way around? He would never know, for Mrs. Dort was reported missing the next evening, and worried that the watermelon might be some kind of magic fruit, Walter let it rot on the balcony till he had to move out because Mrs. Dort’s brother was selling the house.