Written by Chauncey Wales | Illustration by Elia Colombo
Produced by ZillaMunch


BUFFALO, N.Y. - After many unsuccessful attempts to stop her refrigerator from binge eating, local resident Sophie Valenzuela was forced to take drastic measures.

"I noticed odd things, like picked-over pineapple chunks left in the pizza box and empty containers of takeout food," she said. "This is unusual behavior, even in a house with three teenage boys who eat their weight in food every day and a husband whose favorite hobby is snacking."

According to Valenzuela, any food put into the refrigerator was taken as if by a vortex. As a result, family tensions escalated. "The boys argued about who was to blame for the missing lo-mein and who gobbled up all of grandma's beloved meatballs." Her "hangry" sons routinely fought like "WWE wrestlers" for the last scraps of food in the refrigerator, says Valenzuela, and weekly grocery bills hit exorbitant highs.

Fed up, Valenzuela decided to sleuth the cause and set about gathering empirical evidence. She installed a webcam on the counter and inside the refrigerator and kept meticulous notes over a few weeks.

Two weeks of data returned surprising results that forever changed her. "I checked the kitchen webcam footage and almost had a coronary from shock!" said Valenzuela. "I don't believe in ghosts or aliens but now I believe in appliance sentience."

According to Valenzuela, the camera captured disturbing footage of the refrigerator as it devoured everything inside of it. It belched after drinking a few six packs of beer and even made snoring sounds as if it was sleeping after its feast. "That abomination even used the letter magnets to spell out a grocery list of demands," she added.

Valenzuela's next step was to put the binge-eating refrigerator on a diet. That meant no more late-night runs to the taqueria for loaded carne asada burritos with extra guacamole, as well as giving up family favorites, such as quadruple-cheese lasagna. Sweet treats, meat, or anything tasty was replaced with alternatives like pickled beets, tofu, and kombucha tea. "Operation Get Out" was spawned and was a battle between refrigerator vs humans.

The results were mixed from the start. The refrigerator reluctantly ate leafy greens once it figured out that junk food was no longer an option. It had bouts of intense gassiness from cruciferous veggies and lentils. Gallons of chamomile tea countered most digestive problems but not the moodiness from real food withdrawal. Vengeance for being deprived of its favorite foods came in the form of raucous late-night mechanical outbursts, which kept the family awake.

Fed up, Valenzuela sought help from her local priest to perform an exorcism. "This is an unusual case," said Father Ricci, head of Saint Broseph Mission Church. "We usually deal with fallen cherubim, succubi, or incubi. A recalcitrant refrigerator is new territory for us."

The details of the refrigerator exorcism have been sent to Vatican City, where they will be stored in the Archivum Secretum Apostilicum Vaticanum, aka the Vatican's Secret Archives. In the meanwhile, the actual cause is subject to wild conspiracy theories.

Father Ricci is counseling Valenzuela and her family and teaching them mindful appliance-interacting techniques. They even received a new refrigerator that works perfectly. Her family was relieved to be able to store their food in it safely and find it there the next day. According to Valenzuela, "Our lives are back to normal, but we still have nightmares of that old refrigerator running out of food and eating us alive."