*Spoiler alert: The denouement to this series is just as unsatisfying and ambiguous to read as it was to live through.

I hired a local psychic, Dr. Z. If you’ve never hired Dr. Z before, try it out! He’s a real treat.

I was too up-front with the first psychic I tried to hire, the highest rated psychic on Yelp for the Washington DC area, and I erroneously told her my situation was about a lost item.

I didn’t mention the hot dog buns by name. Even the concept of trying to locate an item spooked her. Apparently it’s not what psychics do.

“I see that you’re confused. Your mind is clouded,” Dr. Z told me over the phone.

“I LOST A PACKAGE OF HOT DOG BUNS,” I blurted out. I couldn’t take it anymore, after the first thirty seconds of the consult. It seemed like he would be able to find them. Dr. Z assured me psychics don’t find things for you, only help you with your psychic problems. He then proceeded to help me with my psychic problems. He was fantastic, and I hung up feeling better than when I’d called.

But still sans hot dog buns. I ate a hot dog without its bun, chopped up, kraut and mustard splayed on top.

It felt wrong.

My ex-British intel consultant got back to me and broke the news that you can’t access past satellite data unless you set it up to look at you ahead of time. I was sure that some satellite, somewhere, would have seen my Instacart shopper enter my apartment complex, hot dog buns visible in the bag.

But I was reaching an uncomfortable part of the investigation, one in which, if I could verify that the buns had entered my house, I’d still never have any idea how they disappeared.

The quantum physicist never returned my email. I’d already gone pretty hard on integrated information theory and the quantum issue of superposition and entanglement but always reached this dead end: hot dog buns are big, so they ought to be governed by Newtonian physics. Which inevitably led me back to my original theory: I ate all the buns in my sleep, probably in the bathtub, and flushed the bag down the toilet, then sleepwalked back to bed, never to leave any trace of my actions except in a moderately perceptible intestinal bloat.

That was a busy week. I was running a promo for Corporate Torsos, and I barely had time to notice my own torso.

Image analysis is a thing, I read in the response from the ex-British intel agent, and I set about getting the image of my groceries analyzed, but by the time my internet search was complete, I’d also signed up for a free remote viewing course.

Remote viewing is a psychic visioning-at-a-distance tactic various militaries developed in order to use human psychic powers to try to best each other. I think it ultimately failed and everybody turned to drones and hacking but I’m not 100% informed on this bit of military history. If you know more, clue me in.

I’d just completed workshop three of the remote visioning training process earlier that morning on Saturday the 13th, the two-week anniversary of hot dog bun acquisition. It was now or never to find these things, I thought. Certainly an object that gets lost for more than two weeks is lost forever, I reasoned. (Not true; here’s a 53-year timeline on a wallet.) But my remote viewing session was a failure. Maybe workshop four was the real clincher to lock in success.

I headed to my car to run a few errands: key in the ignition, engine revved. Wouldn’t start.

That’s odd, I thought. Though my car is 17 years old, it’s never not started before.

I tried again: the interior lights were on, so the battery was functional, but no dice on the whole engine-combustion thing to get us going.

I popped the hood. Got out and opened it up.

And there, inside the hood, lodged in the engine…

hot dog bun on an Instacart grocery order screenshot
Wegmans Problematic Hot Dog Buns

Just kidding! The hot dog buns were never found, and now my car doesn’t start either. Now I’ve got two of life’s crappy mysteries on my hands.

The moral of the story is:

Give up on your curiosity early before you spend a lot of money on it, because some other expensive problem is probably going to come along immediately after.

That’s how life works.

– The Curious Incident of the Hot Dog Buns in the Night-Time

Thanks for reading.

JRP

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