In the fifth grade of school, you might have heard of Gallon Man. When I was in school, they taught it to me and my class. It is a drawing to help children understand gallons, quarts, pints, and cups. My school used a drawing that kind of looks like this:

It has a big, red box in the middle representing a gallon, smaller blue boxes (quart) making his arms, even smaller green boxes (pint) for two hands on each arm, and finally, little yellow boxes (cups) making two fingers for each hand. To top it all off, he had a simple, yellow smile emoji for a head.

However, I very distinctly remember the time he didn't.

Back in fifth grade, I think around February of 2004, I remember heading to math class, which was our final switch of the day before lunch. I sat down in my usual seat, about two rows away from the front of the class. As I looked out the window, I very distinctly remember the monotone grey sky, despite not having a rain cloud in sight.

A few minutes after we all sat down our teacher, Mrs. Berg, walked into the classroom and shut the door behind her. Mrs. Berg was our math teacher, very strict but nice if you don't get on her nerves. We were going to be learning about measurement.

We started with the simple measuring, inches and feet, centimetres and yards, the basic tools for measuring. Afterwards, we started on liquid measuring. She taught us about how two cups make a pint, two pints make a quart, etc. But to teach us gallons, she decided to show us the Gallon Man.

We had never heard of the gallon man, it was completely new to us. When my teacher downloaded the image, it looked exactly how I had described it. A box body with an emoji head. However, when she opened the image on her desktop, it looked different. Nothing huge had changed, except that the smiling, yellow head was replaced with what seemed to be an empty milk jug, devoid of a label. The background of the image had also changed from white to black for no apparent reason. She didn't think much of it, and neither did we. She continued with class normally.

It was odd, though. Despite not thinking anything of this change, I kept getting a feeling that something was going to happen. I didn't have even the slightest semblance of what I was thinking, but I felt it none the less. As the feeling grew stronger, the more I became impatient. Impatient for something unusual to happen, but it never did.

But then it happened.

The jug almost seemed to fill up slowly. The body stayed completely still, but the jug head was filling up with clear liquid. The image was changing, a PNG format image, not a GIF, was changing. Some of my classmates noticed it too, soon reaching as far as to let the teacher know. She turned to the screen to watch as the liquid filled the jug. She just stood there and watched. Her face showing none more than a mix of surprise and fear. We were all stuck there, unable to move, almost in a trance. It was as if we were paralyzed.

As the liquid filled up further and further, I started to notice red blotches fade onto Gallon Man's "fingers". Soon, the clear substance came to a stop, almost completely full. As me and my classmates tried to get a grip on what happened, we could only watch as the mysterious liquid...

turned red.

Gallon-man-printable-1-768x1024.jpg

- Christian Meeks

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