The Chair in the Closet

📅 Published on May 26, 2022

“The Chair in the Closet”

Written by Bryan Asbury
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
Please wait...

Nine Months Earlier

A computer programmer working at Simitrek, a software development company, typed at his office computer.  He looked at the stack of forms on his desk, then looked back at his computer screen.  Suddenly, his stomach let out a gurgling noise.  He rubbed it and grabbed an opened pack of antacids next to his keyboard, placing one in his mouth.  Just as he shifted his attention back to his monitor, his stomach cramped violently.  He hunched over and winced in pain.  A look of horror came over his face, and he grabbed the cross that hung from his neck.  Several of his co-workers rushed to his aid, but he lost control of his bowels, and diarrhea slowly dribbled down his pant leg before getting to his feet.  His body rocked back and forth, and he continued clutching his cross as he prayed quietly to himself.

After cleaning up in the restroom, he wiped down his soiled chair and looked around the room in humiliation.  His co-workers looked back at him and whispered amongst themselves.  He spoke with his supervisor and left work early.

A few minutes later, the office janitor walked into the room after being dispatched over the radio.

He frowned.  “Hijole chingao,” he said to himself as he looked at the chair.  He wheeled it out into the hallway and pushed it into a closet.

Present Day

Simitrek had undergone a lot of employee turnover.  It wasn’t uncommon in a place like that; it was a high-stress environment that had a way of using up and disposing of people.

Greg Denton was brought in as a Project Supervisor.  He was a nervous, fidgety man. His hands were always moving like a kid with ADD on an indefinite sugar high.  He fit the role perfectly.

“Dana, Dana!” Greg called out as he headed towards her, weaving his way between the cubicles like a slalom course.  “That proposal is due by noon tomorrow, and I still haven’t even seen your outline yet.”


“I’m on it, Greg.  We barely got here,” Dana said in an annoyed voice.


Greg sat in his office having his lunch and visiting with Tim, the other supervisor.


“I got the higher-ups breathing down my neck,” Greg said as he chewed his sandwich.


Tim nodded as he checked his phone.


“Then we got this damn audit team coming in here next week.  Speaking of that, are you coming in…” Before Greg could finish his sentence, the backrest on his chair made a loud pop, launching him backward and causing his sandwich to fly onto his dress shirt. “Motherfucker!” He yelled as he pulled himself up.  He wiped the mustard off of his tie and looked at what was left of his sandwich that now littered the floor.


“This was my favorite tie,” he said glumly.  He threw his arm in the air.  “And look at my chair!”


Tim managed to take his attention away from his phone and search the office for another chair.  He got to a closet next to the exit and tried the handle.  It was locked, so he grabbed his keyset and rifled through the keys until he found a match.  He flipped the light switch and saw a burgundy leather office chair sitting next to some old, discarded filing cabinets.  It looked to be in even better condition than the chair that Greg had broke.  He smiled widely and pushed it into Greg’s office.


“Look what I found in the closet…you owe me.” Greg smiled a half-cocked grin as he continued scrubbing his tie.  He threw the napkin in the trash and looked the chair over.


“Holy shit, these things got three adjustment levers.  I think there’s even an adjustment for my pecker on here.” He chucked obnoxiously and went to sit in it.  He sunk securely into the seat and had it positioned perfectly with a few cranks on the handle.


Later, after Tim had left, Greg sat at his desk when an unpleasant odor grabbed his attention.  He sniffed the air, trying to figure out where it was coming from.


“Dana!”  He waved her into his office.


“I already turned that outline into you…”


“No, it’s not about the outline.  Does something smell in here?” Dana smelled around and looked down at the trash can, which was empty.  “I don’t smell anything.” Greg shook his head.  “Okay.  Thanks.” He sighed and continued his work.




Greg sat in his recliner, studying personnel rules.  His wife, Jill, brought him a glass of ice tea.


“Here you go, Mr. Denton,” she said with a smile.  Greg jumped, then smiled as he took off his reading glasses and rubbed his weary eyes.


“I was so deep in thought that I didn’t even hear you come in.” “I noticed.  I know how bad you want this promotion,” she said.


Greg sighed.  “Tim said he overheard a member of the audit team saying that my area was the most squared away that they’ve ever seen it.”


Jill smiled warmly.  “Don’t stay up too late.”




It was a Wednesday afternoon, and Greg had just finished his interview for the Division Coordinator at Simitrek.  He closed his eyes and rubbed his temples when one of the office admins popped her head into his office.


“I’m going to lunch.  Me and Nathan switched, if that’s okay?” Greg nodded.


“Are you okay?” she asked.


“Fine,” Greg responded.  “Just got another headache.” Greg opened the refrigerator and grabbed his cheeseburger.  He warmed it up in the microwave, opened the wrapper and took a bite.  The odor he had smelled a few weeks earlier was back and now more pungent than before.  Greg dropped his burger on the table and sniffed around the room.  He then turned and looked down at his office chair.  He curiously lowered his nose to the headrest and took a whiff.  He stood back up and looked around to see if anyone had seen him.


“Hmmm,” Greg murmured, still unable to locate where the smell was coming from.  He sat back down and tried to eat but threw his lunch in the trash.


By the end of the week, Greg still hadn’t heard a response on the job opening.  He sat at his desk, nervously tapping his thumb and staring at the phone.  He picked it up and dialed.


“Hi, Mr. Thurston, how are you doing?  It’s Greg Denton.” “Hi Greg, how are things going over there in Development?” Greg had mastered the art of making awkward small talk.  “Well, let’s just say if the paperwork was an embassy, I’d be the ambassador.”  The two men laughed, but Greg quickly got to the point.  “So Nina said I could expect to hear something about that position that I interviewed for by the end of today?” Greg looked down at his watch.  It was just after 4:30 PM.  There was a silence on the other end of the phone.


“Yeah, well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the board decided to hire someone from outside the company.”


Greg’s voice cracked.  “I see.  Was there…any particular reason?” Mr. Thurston sighed.  “Could be they were looking for someone with a more diverse background.  It could be they wanted a fresh set of eyes.  Who knows for sure?  Sorry, Greg.” Greg hung up the phone in disbelief.  This couldn’t be right.  He was almost guaranteed that spot.  He laid his head on his desk and slammed his fist down.  Then – there it was again.  That familiar stench seemed to manifest itself out of nowhere.  Greg slowly lifted his head off the desk and began sniffing the air.  He then burst out of his office.  “Tim!” he hollered.


Tim turned his attention away from a software engineer he was helping and looked over at Greg, flailing his arms in the air.


“Oh shit, “ Tim said.


“Go smell the inside of my office.  It smells like a dumpster in Chinatown in the middle of a heatwave!”


Tim rushed towards Greg, and the two men stepped inside Greg’s office.


“I’ve had the carpet cleaned, and we’ve disinfected every inch of this place!” “Easy, Greg.  What smell are you talking about?” Greg sniffed the air, but strangely, the odor seemed to have left just as quickly as it came.


“It smells like an air freshener in here…like a really strong air freshener,” Tim said with a confused look.


Greg had plugged air fresheners into every outlet to try and mask the odor.  He looked down at the ground and shook his head.


Tim put his arm on his shoulder.  “You doing okay?” Greg bit his lip.  “I just found out that they hired someone else for that position I put in.” “Corporate bastards!” Tim exclaimed.  “Sorry, man, I was sure you had it.” “So was I…”


“If you need anything, you know where my office is.”  Tim patted Greg on the back and left.


Greg sat down in his chair, leaned back and let out a heavy sigh.  Then, he smelled the odor once more.  It was putrid, even worse than before and like nothing that could have originated from this earth.  His eyes got big, showing the whites, and he catapulted out of his chair.  The chair, it had to be the chair!  He hesitated, then got down on his knees and sniffed the seat.  The smell was so bad that he had to turn his head.  He started coughing and grabbed a tissue off his desk to spit up in.  “Son-of-a-bitch!” he said in a garbled voice.  In a fit of rage, he wheeled the chair out into the hallway and through the exit door.  When he got to the dumpster, he grunted and hoisted it up over his head and hurled it inside.  He slammed the lid and stood there for a moment as if paying his last respects.


The next morning Greg pulled into the parking lot.  He walked inside and acknowledged Tim, making coffee in the break room.  He unlocked the door and flipped the light switch when he got to his office.  He went to walk towards his desk when he suddenly stopped dead in his tracks.


“Tim!  Tim!”  Greg shrieked.  Greg ran towards the break room.  Greg grabbed Tim’s shoulders with a look of despair on his face.  Tim put down his coffee and walked briskly towards his screams.


“Has anyone been in my office?”


“No – why?  What’s wrong?” The color had drained from Greg’s face, and he paced back and forth like a caged animal.


“What about that fucking janitor?  Does he clean in here at night?” “I don’t think he has keys to our offices…Greg, what the hell is going on?” Tim said sternly.  Greg stopped pacing and turned and faced Tim.


“I threw that chair in my office in the dumpster yesterday!  Now I don’t know what is happening or if someone is playing a joke on me.”  Greg turned and looked at the office workers that began to crowd around the two men.  “But now somehow that chair is back in my office again.”  Greg pointed at everyone.  “If it was someone in here playing a joke, I don’t think it’s a damn bit funny!”  He heard the sound of the trash truck’s air brakes as it rounded the corner into the parking lot.  He parted the blinds, saw it making its stops, then darted back to his office and grabbed the chair.


“Here!  Here!  You forgot something!” Greg yelled at the trash can.  The trash man grabbed the chair and threw it into the back of his truck.  Greg watched in delight as the hydraulic trash compactor was activated and crushed the chair into a flat pile of burgundy upholstery.


Greg came back inside out of breath.  His heart was racing, and he leaned up against the wall and grabbed his chest.


“Greg, Greg, are you okay?” Tim said in a worried voice.  Tim looked at Dana.  “Call an ambulance!”


Greg lay on the floor and sipped some water until the ambulance arrived.  It left with him in the back.  No lights or siren, and as Tim watched it pull away, he picked up the phone and called their boss, Mr. Thurston, to explain what had happened.




Greg spoke with the doctor in the E.R.


“Well, the good news is that your EKG returned good, so you didn’t suffer a heart attack. With everything you described, you may have had an anxiety attack.  Or the old fashion term, a nervous breakdown.”  Greg’s smile faded.  “You had mentioned a chair to my nurse.  What involvement did this chair have in this?”


“Well, it probably sounds strange, but I had this office chair that I had gotten rid of, and it seems that it had found its way back into my office.”


“Have you been under a lot of stress lately?”


“Always.  I’m a project supervisor, so the buck stops with me.” The doctor smiled at Greg.


“I’ll tell you what.  I’m going to advise you to get some rest.  I’m going to write you a note, and you can give it to your employer and take some much-needed time off.”


Greg piped up.


“I don’t think that’s a good idea right now.  We’re right in the middle of…” His wife interrupted.


“Actually, hun, I think that might do you some good.” Greg looked at her with a defeated look on his face.  “Okay.  I guess you’re probably right.” “I’m going to request two weeks.  After your two weeks is up, you’ll meet with your family doctor, they’ll give you a medical clearance, and you can go back to work.  Also, I will write you a prescription for an antidepressant.” Greg raised his eyebrow and looked over at his wife.  The doctor happened to notice.


“Oh, don’t worry, antidepressants aren’t just for people who are depressed.  They treat several mental health conditions.”


After being discharged from the hospital, Greg dreaded dialing his boss’s number.


“The doctor in the E.R. thinks it was a mild anxiety attack.  It was more like heartburn from Jill’s leftover enchiladas,” Greg laughed nervously.


“Well, it doesn’t sound like it was that mild.  Tim told me he had to help you to the floor and waited with you until the ambulance arrived,” Mr. Thurston replied.


“Yeah, the doc seems to think I need a few weeks off work to clear my head.  After that, I can get a medical release and come back.”


“Listen, take whatever time off you need.  Tim’s gonna cover your area until you get back.  I know you’ve had it a little rough lately.”


Greg hung up the phone, thinking it didn’t go as bad as expected.




As the week ended, Greg was doing much better.  He and Jill had started walking together in the mornings and even planted a small vegetable garden in their backyard together.  He spoke intimately to her as they sat together on their back patio one evening.


“I know I’m a little bit much to handle sometimes.”  He held her hand.  “Maybe this whole experience made me realize what matters.  I’ve never felt better than I have this past week.”  Jill smiled and squeezed his hand.  “As crazy as it sounds, I’m glad that everything happened the way it did.  I don’t think it was even that damn office chair that caused my breakdown…it was me.  But things are gonna change.  I mean that.  I’ll go to the doctor on Wednesday, get that release, and hopefully be back to work on Monday morning.”


Jill gazed lovingly into his eyes.  “It’s just nice to see you laughing and smiling again and taking an interest in things I didn’t think you cared much about anymore.”


Greg sat patiently in his doctor’s office waiting room.


“Greg!” the nurse yelled from behind the counter.  He looked up and followed her into one of the exam rooms.


“So, how are you feeling?” the doctor asked.


“Much better.  I was wound so tight before that you couldn’t pull a pin outta my ass with a pair of pliers.”


The doctor grinned.  “Are you taking the medication that you were prescribed?” Greg nodded.  “Haven’t missed a day.”


The doctor took notes, then looked up from his tablet.  “Greg, there’s one last requirement mandated by your FMLA.  You have to participate in at least one session with a certified psychotherapist.”


Greg shook his head defiantly.  “Oh, no!  I think that’s a little overkill.” “Well, listen, it’s only one session.  A group meets on Thursday evenings, and Dr. Hill is a good friend of mine.” “I’m not going!” Greg barked at his wife as he spoke to her in their kitchen.


“Well, I don’t think you have a choice if it’s required.” Greg frowned.  “Therapy is for nutjobs and snowflakes.” Jill smiled disarmingly.  “Well, I don’t think you’re a nutjob, and you’re certainly not a snowflake.” The next day, Greg sat in his car outside Park Hill Psychological Services.  Inside, he was met by a young lady working the front desk.  He looked up at the large metal sign in the parking lot and sighed dismissively.


“Hi, I’m Greg Denton.  I’m here for the counseling session.”  Greg probably looked as uncomfortable as he felt.


The receptionist smiled.  “Okay, just go right down the hall, second door on the left.” Greg lumbered down the hallway and stopped in front of the door.  He nervously opened it and was greeted by a large man in a tan suit jacket with glasses and a beard.


“You must be Greg.”  The man extended his hand.  “I’m Dr. Hill – we’ve been expecting you.”


Greg shook his hand, and the man stepped to the side.


“Please have a seat.”


As Greg peered out into the group of people seated in a circle, one chair was left.  It was the same burgundy office chair that he watched get crushed in the garbage truck, sitting, waiting for him.  He took a few steps, then suddenly froze.


Greg got a twisted look on his face, and his heart began to beat like a snare drum.


“No…” He shook his head as he slowly backed away.


“What’s wrong, Greg?” Dr. Hill asked tranquilly.


“The chair…” That was the only word that he could mutter.


Greg frantically searched his pockets for his bottle of medication.  His hands trembled as he opened the lid, spilling some pills out onto the floor.  He looked around in horror. Every face seemed to scowl at him with evil intent.  Dr. Hill tried to usher him to the open seat.


“No…no, get your damn hands off of me!” Greg cried out.  “No!!” Greg collapsed after being restrained by Dr. Hill and several other participants in the group.  When he came to, his hands were cuffed, and two paramedics loaded him up into the back of their ambulance.  A police officer spoke with Dr. Hill.


“So Mr. Denton had a physical outburst once he went to sit down?” “Specifically when he saw that chair.”  Dr. Hill pointed at a black plastic classroom chair.


“That’s strange.  Do you know why?”


“I have no idea?”


Greg looked up at one of the paramedics tending to him on the ambulance ride.  “I remember you.  You were the guy that took me to the hospital last time.  Could you do me a favor?”


The paramedic looked over at Greg as he took his vitals.  “Sure, Greg.  What do you need?”


“Keep it away from me…”


“Keep what away from you?”


Greg turned his head and pointed.  “That damn chair that you loaded into the ambulance with us.”


The paramedic looked around the inside of the ambulance, but there was nothing there. He grinned.  “I think we’re gonna have to check what’s in that oxygen tank that you’re hooked up to.”  He gently patted Greg on the arm.  “We’ll get that thing out of here just as soon as we get to where we’re going.”

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
Please wait...

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by Bryan Asbury
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Bryan Asbury

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

More Stories from Author Bryan Asbury:

The Mariachi Man
Average Rating:

The Mariachi Man

Related Stories:

No posts found.

You Might Also Enjoy:

The Cage
Average Rating:

The Cage

Why We Need Sleep
Average Rating:

Why We Need Sleep

The Empty House
Average Rating:

The Empty House

The Death Witch
Average Rating:

The Death Witch

Recommended Reading:

The Children at the End of the World
Too Spooky Tales: Book Three: Echos Of The Passed
On a Hill
Year's Best Hardcore Horror: Volume 2

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Skip to content