The Project Gutenberg eBook of Too Many Eggs

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Title: Too Many Eggs

Author: Kris Neville

Release date: January 31, 2020 [eBook #61278]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Greg Weeks, Mary Meehan and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at




Everybody likes fried eggs for
breakfast—but would a chicken?

[Transcriber's Note: This etext was produced from
Worlds of If Science Fiction, November 1962.
Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that
the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

Coxe, an unusually phlegmatic citizen, came to buy the new refrigerator in the usual fashion. He was looking for a bargain. It was the latest model, fresh from the new production line in Los Angeles, and was marked down considerably below standard. The freezing compartment held 245 lbs. of meat.

"How come so cheap?" Coxe wanted to know.

"Frankly," the salesman said, "I asked myself that. Usually there's a dent in them or something, when they have that factory tag on them. But I checked it over and I can't find anything wrong with it. However, she goes as is."

"At that price," Coxe said, "I'll take it."

It arrived, refinished in a copper color to his specifications, the following Tuesday. It was plugged in and operated perfectly. He checked it out by freezing ice cubes.

Wednesday evening, when he opened the door to chill some beer, there was a package in the freezing compartment. He took out the package.

It was some sort of plastic and appeared to contain fish eggs.

Coxe had not seen fresh fish eggs, considered by some a delicacy, for a number of years.

He chilled the beer and fried the eggs.

Both tasted about right.

The following Friday, his girl friend came over to fix dinner for him, and when she looked in the freezing compartment, she said, "What's this?"

"Fish eggs," Coxe said. "How many of them?"

"Two packages."

"We'll fry them up for breakfast," he said.

Saturday morning, there were three packages of eggs in the refrigerator.

"Where do they come from?" his girl friend wanted to know.

"They just appear. I ate some and they're very good."

She was reluctant, but he talked her into preparing a package.

She agreed they were very good.

"What are you going to do about it?" she asked.

"I don't think there's anything to do about it," he said. "I like fish eggs."

On Sunday, the package they had eaten Saturday had been replaced. They were coming in at a steady rate of one a day. Coxe cooked a package for breakfast and took the other two to his parents.

By Tuesday, he was getting tired of the eggs, and by the end of the week, he had four more packages. He succeeded in giving two packages to the neighbors.

At the end of another week, he had eight packages.

He explained to his girl friend. She suggested they visit all their friends, leaving a package with each of them.

At the end of another two weeks, this method for disposing of the eggs had worn thin. They finally managed to give the last two packages to the landlady.

At the end of still another week, there were seven more packages. Otherwise, the refrigerator was a good buy.

Coxe calculated that, at the present rate, had he left the packages in the compartment, it would have been filled by the end of the month. He felt that once that point was reached, the eggs would stop coming. Should this prove to be incorrect, he was prepared to arrange for some method of commercial distribution for the product.

On schedule, the eggs stopped coming.

He waited two days. No more came. It was over.

He ate the last package.

The refrigerator worked perfectly, and he began to stock it with things freezers are conventionally stocked with.

It was almost two weeks after the last package had appeared, early one Sunday morning, when the doorbell rang.

At the door was a small, nondescript man with a vaguely—and really indefinably—unpleasant aspect. His head was bandaged.

"Mr. Coxe?" he asked.

"That's me."

"May I come in?"

"Come on."

The man seated himself. "Something terrible has happened," he said. "A horrible mistake has been made."

"I'm sorry to hear that. You look as if you were in an accident."

"I was. I've been in the ... hospital ... for nearly two months. But to come to the point, Mr. Coxe. I've come about the refrigerator you recently purchased. It was a special refrigerator that was erroneously shipped out of the plant as a second. When I didn't come in, it got shipped out and sold."

"Good refrigerator," Coxe said.

"Perhaps you've noticed ... ah ... something unusual about it?"

"It runs okay. For a while there were a bunch of packages of fish eggs in it."

"Fish eggs!" the little man cried in horror. After he had recovered sufficiently, he asked, "You do, of course you do, I'm sure you still have all the ... little packages?"

"Oh, no," said Coxe.

"NO? Oh, my God. What did you do with them, Mr. Coxe?"

"Ate them."

"You ... ate ... them? Ate—? No. You didn't. Not all of them. You couldn't have done that, Mr. Coxe. Please tell me that you could not have done that."

"I had to give a lot of them away, and everybody said they were delicious. And really.... Uh, Mr.—? Mr., uh...."

The little man got unsteadily to his feet. His face was ashen. "This is horrible, horrible." He stumbled to the door. "You are a fiend. All our work ... all our plans ... and you, you...." He turned to Coxe. "I hate you. Oh, I hate you."

"Now, see here."

"... Mr. Coxe, you'll never realize the enormity of your crime. You've eaten all of us!" With that, he slammed the door and was gone.

Coxe went back to the other room.

"Who was it, honey?"

"Ah, some nut. Seems he had first claim on the refrigerator."

"I'll bet it was about the fish eggs."

"Yeah, he wanted them."

"Oh, dear. Do you think he can do anything to us?"

"I don't think so, not now. It's too late," Coxe concluded. "We ate them all."