Who's been in my office?

Inspired by blog talk of magic creatures.

Someone's been in my office. I first noticed it two weeks ago when I saw that the Rottweiler puppet and voodoo doll had been moved from the windowsill to the bookcase. A few days after that, I found strange indentations in the walls. They were similar to nail holes—left after removing a picture—but shallower and more conical in shape. Also they were each only one foot above floor level. That seemed too low for even a leprechaun to be hanging paintings.

Given the usual disorder in the room, it was a wonder I'd noticed at all, but last Monday I stumbled upon, or rather stepped into, something that could not be missed, a fresh pungent pile of dung. The pile was the size of that which you might find behind the back end of a small spaniel. But, as I cleaned it off the bottom of my shoe, I noticed that the smell and texture reminded me of horse back riding. Had someone brought a miniature pony into the office? Had they defied the pet ban, which I, however sadly, obey?

If they were going to defy the ban, why couldn't they just introduce me to their pet instead of leaving me with a pile of pony poop? Flustered, I asked around the building, but no one else had seen anything unusual. On the off chance that some stray creature was on the loose, I called security, but without an actual sighting of the beast, there wasn't much any of us could do.

That afternoon, with the scent of barnyard still lingering in the trash, I decided I needed to know more. I took the trashcan over to my friend Jon in biology and asked him if he knew anyone there who could analyze the dung to determine the species. A few days later I got an e-mail saying it seemed equine in nature, but appeared to have been eating grasses native only to India. Apparently these grasses aren't normally imported as livestock feed, so this information didn't get me any closer to solving the problem.

Trying to forget about my mysterious visitor I got back to the tasks at hand. But the next day, after lunch, I found more dents in the wall. This time I also found bits of debris on the floor. Upon closer examination I saw that the bits weren't broken drywall, but something harder, more akin to ivory. They looked like they'd splintered off a sculpture, but I couldn't find anything else that looked like it was made from this substance.

Curiosity piqued yet again, I took some samples over to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and asked a curator friend if we could examine the substance more carefully. He brought in another expert and together they determined that the bits had a molecular structure almost, but not exactly, like that of a Narwhal tusk.

Needless to say, each new bit of information has brought more confusion than the last. Yesterday I found some red spatters near the dents in the walls, but at this point I'm not sure I want to know what that could be.

Today I think I'm closer to postulating a theory. When I started typing this on my Macintosh, I noticed a clicking sound coming from the other side of my desk. I looked over to see the keys on my PC moving up and down, as though a ghost were typing. A few weeks ago this might have seemed startling, but these days anything seems possible.

The typing continued unabated until a few moments ago. But now I can see that someone has been writing. Onscreen is a poem entitled, "Beware the virgin huntress." It's written in rhyming couplets and has something to do with medieval forests and bloodletting. I'd share it with you but it's rather sappy.

It has however given me some ideas. What sort of equine creature would have a tusk and live in fear of a virgin huntress? The only thing that comes to mind is a unicorn.

This one is apparently invisible, rather small, and possessed of magical qualities, but what other explanation could there be? Also, now that I know there is a magic unicorn in my office, how do I make him leave? I don't think the animal warden is trained for this sort of thing.