Minnie thinks outside of the box, up until the moment she hits a wall and realizes she’s stuck inside an even bigger box, which begs the question, How many layers of boxes are there?

In fact, many questions come to Minnie’s mind, such as, If I’m stuck within the confines of this box, at what point might I reenter the previous box without knowing it? and, If there are endless layers of boxes beyond each box, is each attempt to ascend a box rendered fruitless? 

Extending one’s mental reach beyond one’s current entrapment is no easy task, and often this brave mind arrives outside its box with something lacking.

Minnie is kept awake all night pondering these questions of the box, partially because her thoughts stop when they hit the wall, partially because her home is still in the previous box.

Minnie thought outside the box once before in her life. Only once. Having found the extended space refreshing, she laid down blankets to sleep. This became a bed, which became a camp, which became a house, which became comfortable.

A husband joined her there, and they began thinking of children.

Though restless, Minnie rests her back against the wall and recalls the first night she looked past her house and saw there in the distance another wall. How could this be? she’d thought, I’ve thought outside the box already! The following morning, Minnie ventured halfway to the wall, to (if nothing else) confirm its existence.

Walking back, she began conceiving ideas for how to get her house past the wall. Carrying the house was out of the option; perhaps pushing the house could work, if she could find enough help. Yet the more drastic Minnie’s ideas became, the less probable they seemed.

She decided not to tell her husband what she’d seen.

A memory comes to mind, a platitude handed down to Minnie when she was a child. It’s the thought that counts. She repeats this to herself, saying, It’s the thought that counts. But how high does it count? Does the thought count to ten? To one hundred? Infinity?

By choosing the next day to leave her house and husband behind, Minnie traveled all the way to the wall–to the edge of the box–to discover she could walk straight through it. Walking straight through was how she’d exited her original box, too, back when she had naively thought there existed only one box.

Minnie misses her bed, her house, her husband, more than she predicted. Banging her head back against the wall, lightly yet rhythmically, she counts, 1…2…3…4…, and hopes the wall will give way to her weight, so she can fall back, crash onto the other side, achieve enlightenment.

Maybe if she counts high enough, 5…6…7…8…, but, losing things to count, she begins counting the costs of leaving her previous box. 9…10…11…12…

Standing up,

she counts her steps back to her house,

1…2…3…4…,

unsure whether or not the old box

will let her back in.

But it’s worth the thought.


Read drafts #2-4.