There Goes the Fear Again

I spend some time each summer in Nederland, Colorado, which is a weird place. It’s not unusual to catch a man with three-foot dreadlocks who reeks of pot and my Oklahoman grandmother (who also reeks of pot, strangely) shopping on the same grocery aisle. Last summer I went to a show in a tiny elementary-school-auditorium-turned-movie-theatre with an audience who wouldn’t have looked out of place in Twin Peaks.

"That's a damn fine blunt. And hot, too."

“That’s a damn fine blunt. And hot, too.”

Every March, Nederland celebrates Frozen Dead Guy Days, so named for Bredo Morstøl, a Norwegian who was already frozen and dead when his grandson, Trygve, brought him to a cryogenics facility in the US. Trygve later moved Bredo’s body to his mother’s Nederland basement, where they planned to build another facility, but he was deported and his mother was evicted before they could begin. Worried Bredo was thawing, she confided in a local reporter that she was keeping her father and two other bodies beneath her house on dry ice.

Nederland passed an ordinance outlawing keeping dead bodies on one’s property, but made an exception for Bredo, who was a media sensation and therefore– wait for it– grandfathered in. A radio station and the local Tuff Shed business collaborated to build Bredo a new icy home, where his remains remain to this day. In recognition of this, Nederland treats its citizens to an extremely slow parade, a dance called “Grandpa’s Blue Ball” and tours of Bredo’s shed.

I guess that’s why I will always associate sheds with dead Norsemen, and why I haven’t opened two of the three sheds in the back yard of my new house. Who needs three sheds? People with secrets, that’s who. People whose dark deeds require a lot of storage space for things they can’t keep inside the house without raising suspicions/cluttering up the place.

The shed I’ve already opened is the scariest looking of the three. I put a picture of it on Facebook and it was immediately dubbed The Murder Shed. I only opened it because I’ve been using it as bait for stray cats and one day I noticed a fresh trail of kitty prints headed towards it. It helped that my dad was in town and volunteered to go first.

There was nothing inside but dusty shelves and old wire. Oh, that and ancient screaming.

There was nothing inside but dusty shelves and old wire. Oh, that and ancient screaming.

The other two sheds are plain, corrugated metal with rusty doors. I haven’t gone near them because I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know what’s inside.

Things That Could Be in My Sheds

1. A frozen dead guy. Or two. Or three. For some reason my basement has a random shower in one corner. There’s exposed wiring above it and a giant sink beside it. I’m not saying anyone was murdered there, I’m just saying that if someone was murdered there it would make for an easy clean up. And where would you store a body you had cleaned up in your weird basement? In one of your freaky sheds, naturally.
2. A frozen live guy. Or two. Or three. I once lived in a building that had a tiny boiler room with an outdoor entrance. A few of my neighbors and I poked around and found a cot and a panhandler’s sign, confirming our suspicion that a homeless person was sleeping in there. My sheds are positively roomy, if a little cold, compared to that boiler room.
3. Lawn equipment. This would be the ideal outcome, as I do not own a lawn mower or even a rake. I have a snow shovel. I keep it next to my bed because I don’t have any outdoor storage spaces that aren’t potentially full of all of Pandora’s evils.
4. All of Pandora’s evils.
5. Spiders. Someone (read: not a spider expert) told me that Black Widows winter in sheds like mine, plotting ways to kill you in the warmer months. I’m not afraid of spiders, but it’s never nice to hear that someone doesn’t like you.
6. Nothing. This would be a both a tremendous relief and a huge letdown, especially after I wrote this list talking it up. I’d feel like Geraldo Rivera with Al Capone’s vault.

Geraldo Rivera.

And that sounds like the worst possibility of all.

What I’d Have to Do if Those Things Really Were in My Sheds

1. Report the frozen dead guys to the police. But who’s going to believe they’re not my frozen dead guys, especially once they get a look at my murder-ific shower? I don’t want to be a murder suspect without the satisfaction of knowing I actually murdered someone.
2. Shoo the frozen live guys off, I guess? I’d probably just let them keep living in there, because even though it’s my property, it’s kind of their house and I can’t throw them back out on the streets. Then I’d probably start feeling guilty and buying them groceries and inviting them inside, and before you know it I’m sharing my single bathroom and terrifying shower with five other people.
3. In this best of all possible scenarios, all I’d really need to do is a happy dance.
4. Apologize profusely to humanity for re-releasing the evils. Where do you even begin?
5. Hire an exterminator to clear out the spiders, or burn the shed down. I could let the spiders keep spidering, but I’d have to embrace the knowledge that I’m allowing two sheds full of Black Widows to exist feet from where I sleep. This knowledge would inevitably turn me into a Tim Burton-esque witch and alienate my loved ones.

Future Stephanie.

6. Nothing. See? This is the least interesting possibility.

The way I see it, I only have a few choices left to me.

Ways to Open the Sheds

1. I can wait until Jordan is in town and briefly abandon feminism while I make him open them.
2. I can host a house-warming party that’s actually a surprise Open My Sheds party and trick my guests into opening them while I watch from inside.
3. I can never, ever look inside them because ignorance is bliss.
4. I can take a deep breath, march across the lawn and open them right now.

Ok, you guys. I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna open the sheds.

…Nope. No. No, no, no, no. I’m not touching those.
You guys wanna come to a house-warming party?


  1. Miriam Joy

    Nah, it’s not abandoning feminism, it’s being sensible. (Feminism is about the fact you have the choice to open the sheds – whether or not you do it is irrelevant because you made the decision. By this logic one is never *obliged* to open sheds simply to prove their independence – only appear to consider the idea as an option.) I’d not go near them with a team foot bargepole, especially when there’s the possibility of spiders. Or frozen dead people.

  2. Yael

    Well, it’s only sensible to keep your snow shovel next to your bed, because you never know if something from the sheds will decide to do some sight-seeing.

  3. DrFrood

    It’s not abandoning feminism or any other ism to get someone else to open your shed – it’s just good sense. After all, if your sheds do in fact contain mythological evil or preserved cavemen or the spider queen and her minions, better someone else’s name goes down in posterity as being responsible for all the unleashing and future wailing and gnashing of teeth and so on.

    especially if they’re frozen spider people hybrids who go on to become the evil overlords of humanity.

    Just sayin’.

  4. kaycreate

    I am actually far more terrified at the possibility of a shed full of Black Widows than a shed full of dead people. Definitely go with the housewarming party – sacrifice those guests!!

  5. emisformaker

    Three whole sheds! Who knows, one might be full of squirrels. Or treasure. Or candy! Heck, I’ll come open them for the low, low price of return airfare from Toronto.

  6. Michael

    I had never heard of Frozen Dead Guy Days before now. I would say this should be a major national holiday, like Christmas or Halloween, but then it’d get commercialized and all, and people would lose sight of the true meaning of Frozen Dead Guy Day, until they were reminded by a heartwarming Frozen Dead Guy Day movie. Like Dead Guy on 34th Street, or something.

  7. Mal Content

    I’m thinking your best case scenario here is: Frozen Viking. Once you defrost him, you could teach him about the wonders of our modern world while he comically misunderstands everything. Watch as he gets startled by an iPhone and hits it with his axe! Will there be a wacky music montage in which you take him shopping for new clothes? I’m betting there will be.

  8. glen van alkemade

    I’ll sponsor a Shed Pool. Buy a square for a buck: What’s in Shed #2? What’s in Shed #3? I’m putting my money on #2:Rusty cans of dried paint, and #3:Rearden Perpetual Motion Machine

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