The gym manager stands in the locker room perplexed. In front of him a bench is covered in a dust film; beneath it, a pile of sawdust, a half inch high. The third time someone has sanded this bench. Why in the world...?
The bench rattles from the neighboring aerobic class’s music — Metallica.
Stepping closer, on the ground he finds a five inch by five inch piece of sandpaper, worn down to its waxy back. He flips it over, looking for anything to identify the sandman. Its back is blank.
In the sawdust, a stringy black strand of hair pokes its head out. He pulls it out. The black hair curls down, near three feet in length. One person he knows has hair this long. Dave, the aerobics instructor. He charges to the class.
“Two more ladies,” Dave shouts over the music to a class of 15 elderly.
The manager enters.
“Last one. Pull! And ya.” After high fives and farewells by name, Dave greets the manager, hey.
“Is this your hair, Dave?” The manager holds it up.
“Right, looks to be.”
“This is a strange question,” the manager says — Dave playing air guitar to the song — “Do you have an affixation with sanding things?”
“No. Why do you ask?”
“Do you know who the sandman...” The manager suddenly recognized the song playing — the opening riff, bing, ding ding ding, bing, ding ding ding. He points up, towards the speakers.
Dave’s eyes widen.
“Metallica. ENTER THE SANDMAN.”
Dave flees out the door. The manager chases. Outside, at Dave’s truck, the manager plows into him, bounces off and staggers backwards.
“Dave!? What the hell has possessed you?”
Dave yanks his door open. Out falls sheets of five by five sandpaper. Their backs are blank.
“Dave!” The manager says.
“They made me do it.” He slams the door and locks eyes with the manager. "Metallic made me do it,” and slowly he drives away, his head swiveling like an owl, fixated on the manager.