Illustration by Madison Hoiby

Kidnapped and Kickin’ Back

By Caroline Smith

Like many great mysteries of the world, @csulbcuriosities was once but a little pile of filth in the night. But very quickly, that filth turned into a landfill of grime. The humble Instagram account boasts just over one thousand followers and it continues to grow and fester like a blister in the sun. They emerged from the wave of LBSU-oriented Instagram accounts such as @csulbaffirmations and @csulbconfessions. These accounts bond the student community together like free food in the University Student Union building.

The mission of @csulbcuriosities is not a malicious one, it only seeks to admire the strange, absurd, and unusual phenomena that make our campus the magnificently mundane locale it is. Their posts often include some socks on the ground, taxidermy creatures deep in the fine arts buildings, or mysterious substances in the dining halls.

I reached out to @csulbcuriosities to organize an interview, but of course, the master requested measures to be taken to protect their anonymity. I was told to meet them in the trash can where all the student pottery gets dumped. When the sun set, I waited for a figure to come my way, but instead the lid was put over my head and I heard, “Can’t have you snitching on me, can I?” I was taken to a second location, and I woke up in a room with a singular, hazy light bulb hanging from the ceiling.

The master blends with the shadows, I could never tell their true form. It was as if they were the darkness itself. Their body was babadook or slenderman-esque, but their mannerisms were squirrel-like. They moved in fluidity, like a water balloon filled with Cran-Mango. They seemed like the kind of being that was always at the right place at the right time. And despite their mysterious appearance, they were very comforting and friendly.

“Sorry for tying you to the chair and stuff, but are you comfortable? Can I get you anything? Would like a sandwich?” The master spoke with a thousand voices, but also no voice at all.

The master handed what appeared to be a sandwich, but it was really just cardboard with a slice of ham in it. My “glass of water” was a mug that said “Drama Queen” filled with dust and lint.

“Sorry there’s no food in the shadow realm,” they shrugged.

The master watched as I pretended to eat the sandwich, tossing it behind me. When I assured them that it was tasty, we started the interview.

Why are you so dedicated to staying anonymous?

“The second any detail comes out about me–gender, age, major– the magic is ruined. The people should think I’m everything and nothing to them. I exist only to impart curiosity about the world around them.”

What are your favorite kinds of submissions?

“What a great question, Caroline Maria Smith. My favorite submissions are the ones that involve the students themselves, being at their silliest. The ones that are uncalled for, but completely called for. However, I don’t like to make fun of people, just simply admiring that we can all be a bit curious. I especially like the dead fish in the gardens, the mask on the bathroom floor, and the flyers with the young man advertising his cereal eating. The strange makes me go absolutely cray-cray.”

What are your least favorite submissions?

“Shit that aren’t dope as hell.”

Any word on your love affair with @lb_confess?

“Our love is mutual. Out of respect for our craft and I wish them a wondrous journey.”

What is the best possible curiosity you could find?

“I’m searching for something that will change the world. I often compare it to Gal Gadot’s ‘Imagine.’”

Favorite food?

“Grass.”

Favorite toe?

“Hmm… There’s so many good ones. I think my favorite toe on me personally is gonna be my ring toe because I think it’s a little bit messed up looking.

At this point the figure started hacking, loud and crunchy.

“Excuse me” they said, continuing to cough until a squirrel spilled from their mouth. The master burped rancorously in my face.

“I thought it was my pepto,” they said as they watched the squirrel scurry away.

Take us back to the day that @csulbconfessions was born?

“Well it was the happiest day of my life,” the master smiled, like a mother about their newborn baby. “I was having a normal day, just catching up with my buddies, the chupacabra and the Fresno skinwalker, in the Carl’s Jr. in the USU and I was walking back to my car– er I guess it’s more like a tandem bike, but it’s invisible, cuz I walk actually. Anyways, I was walking by the grass and I saw this squirrel, just scurrying around. I stood there admiring it for a while and I noticed the most, get this, curious thing. The squirrel had a double chin.”

The master grinned and giggled, their smile like a devious little leprechaun.

“And with that I just thought, isn’t that wonderful. It made me feel like I understood poetry. Life had so many colors all of a sudden. I realized that I loved life, and this was exactly where I wanted to be.

Who knew that this little school, hardly even in LA county, had so much curious power. This squirrel, with its double chin, shoving an acorn in the dirt, had this power to make me so excited in the tiny aspects of life. There had to be more like him.

That’s when I knew I had to start CSULB curiosities.”

Then the master paused, and thought very hard for a moment.

“Wait, no. That was Claremont Mckenna. No yea, the first curiosity I saw here was a pair of chonies on the bathroom floor. But you get the idea.”

After that, with silent tears, the master patted my shoulder and left me alone in the room to think of the conversation I just had. What a great and insignificant moment in time, to speak to such an entity whose only wish is to see others experience the same curiosity and love of life that they did.

It took me a while to free myself from the chair, and when I escaped the room, it turned out that I was only in a custodial closet in Liberal Arts 1 this whole time.

How… curious.