I first noticed this phenomenon a few months ago. I was driving to Santa Monica to meet my friend Shannon for lunch (and many beers). Shortly after I got onto the 405, I began hearing a noise coming from the back of my car. It sounded like someone was shaking a plastic grocery bag. I put up my windows and turned off the radio. Scratch scratch. Rustle rustle. What the fuck?
I'm a nervous driver under the best of circumstances, and a have-a-fucking-heart-attack driver while on the freeway, so I did not appreciate this extra source of panic in the form of a mysterious, small creature. But I needed to stay focused on the road, so I stopped paying attention to it, turned my radio back up, and hoped it was not a car gremlin that eats brains.
And then, there was a beeeeeep. And a dash board light. Does this make anyone else immediately freak out even if it's just alerting you that you're low on gas? Anyway, I look down and see that it's telling me that one of my doors is open. Knowing that I hadn't opened my door or the passenger door since I got in the car, I realized the light must be indicating that the hatchback door was open. But how? Why? The creature!
I had 1.5 miles until the next exit, where I could get off and address this matter. I drove that stretch while clenching every muscle in my body --an action I did not do consciously, but which I must have thought would hold the door closed so I didn't spill the contents of my trunk across 4 lanes of traffic.
I exited the freeway and drove a little ways into Brentwood before pulling onto a side street to inspect my car. Before opening the hatchback door, I wondered if I should arm myself in case of attack. What I needed was I big frying pan. What I had was the car manual sitting in my glove compartment.
Let me be clear on this for a second: I'm not actually insane. I didn't really think I would find a gremlin, or a troll, or a gnome, or a tiny unicorn in the trunk of my car. (Although, how much would THAT rule?) I was expecting maybe a wayward bird. Or giant wasp. Or a rat. I saw this episode of Pimp My Ride ages ago where the west coast customs guys found a rat and like 6 pounds of rat poop under the car seats of this old Nissan Stanza.
Yeah so there was nothing in the trunk. At least, nothing that I could find. So I gave up, closed the door, and made my way back onto the 405.
I drove passed 2 more exits on the freeway when there was that beeeep again. The "open door" alert. No fucking way! So I pulled off at the next exit, near Westwood. Again, no creature. Then I took a weird wrong turn and ended up at the VA hospital, which has an eternal span of parking lot, apparently, for I got very lost and couldn't seem to find my way back to the freeway. Over time, however, I stumbled onto a street I recognized and was able to make my way to lunch only like 45 minutes late.
After this day, there was no similar incident for about a week. But then I was driving to Target one afternoon and I heard a rustling. Then, like magic, my hatchback door unlocked. Since then, I've been on high alert. There have been many mornings when I'm driving to work and hear the little monster shuffling around in the back. I can only assume, since I haven't been attacked, that this creature comes in peace. Also, that it is invisible. And also, that it subsists on the discarded taco bell receipts and gum wrappers it finds under my seats.