As I walk through this world
Nothing can stop the Puke of Hurl
And you, the trap you unfurled
And you can so hurt me, oh yes
TWO DAYS EARLIER
I love leftovers. There I was at the fast food restaurant picking up dinner when I had my aha moment. I’ll get extra deep fried things on purpose so I’ll have enough for leftovers in the future.
It would be something, a small thing, that I was actually looking forward to.
Meanwhile, deep in the Pacific Ocean, somewhere over the Great Pacific garbage patch, ominous dark swirling clouds began to form.
It was almost lunch time. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was in a good mood. I was on the way to the kitchen to prep my lunch. The lunch I had been looking forward to for two whole days. There was a bounce in my step as I walked down the hall. I hummed a little song to myself. I paused in the living room and played a game of peek-a-boo with the cat.
In less than five minutes I would be dead.
I put the deep fried things on a plate. I carefully covered them with a napkin. They had been known to splatter and I had recently lovingly cleaned the microwave.
It’s a bit of a journey to our microwave. Our 700 square foot home has a small kitchen. I call the house the Submarine and the room where we prepare food is known as the Galley. Everything has to be stowed in space efficient ways. If you want a bowl, you have to unload an entire cupboard and conduct a Towers Of Hanoi exercise to extract the desired item.
Yeah, the Galley is small.
A microwave just wouldn’t fit. So that appliance is found in a the laundry room adjacent to the Galley. You have to open a door and go down a step to get to the microwave.
I carried the plate out and started cooking. Meanwhile, back in the Galley, I busied myself with remaining lunch prep. I prepared a drink, napkin and silverware.
The microwave beeped. I went out, opened the door and checked on the progress. Nice. But I wanted it piping hot. I calculated the additional time that I thought would be just right and started it again.
Back in the kitchen, still humming a happy little ditty with my toe tappin’ along, I got a ramekin ready with two different kinds of hot sauce. This was a bit more elaborate than my normal lunchtime snatch-and-grab. This was a special occasion. And I was still blissfully unaware I had slipped dangerously into a good mood. If only I had payed more attention.
The microwave beeped for the last time. I stepped down into the laundry room and opened the microwave door.
As I did, I noticed, for the first time, a pool of cat vomit at my feet. That’s odd, I thought. I must have been lucky to have missed it so far. This was my third time at the microwave and somehow my bare feet had avoided it each and every time. Am I lucky or what?
The microwave door was open and my left hand was on it. I took one step to the right and was reaching for the plate of food. At last! The moment I had been waiting for was finally here. Days of planning were about to pay off. Sweet anticipation.
It was amazingly loud. No slow motion was involved. In fact, for a brief moment in time, I believe I exceeded the speed of light. Warp speed. The next thing I knew I was on the floor. With a crash the microwave was in my lap, the cord ripped from the wall. The bread making machine, which had been stacked on top of the microwave, came next, tumbling down and cracking sickeningly on the perfectly smooth concrete floor.
Now the slow motion kicked in. I was aware my wife was screaming from across the house. I was vaguely aware the cats were bouncing off the walls in fright. “What happened?” my wife yelled. “Are you alright?”
I don’t think I answered until she arrived at the door. “I guess I stepped in cat vomit,” I said intelligently before letting out a blood-curdling scream and punching the wall with my fist. I think my wife would be more than happy to describe in vivid detail how I failed to handle the moment with grace or any pretense of dignity. Later she would ask, “Do you have any shame?”
Looking down, I saw my feet were covered in cat vomit. The door to the microwave was open, the power cord had been ripped from the wall and, somehow, the plate was still inside the microwave. But, and this is the important part, both of the deep fried things were
magically transported to a dreamworld of magic sitting in the exact middle of the pool of vomit. I quickly calculated the odds at 14 trillion to one.
Getting to my feet, I assessed the damage. My right foot was throbbing, my right knee had been taken out and my back was clearly in distress. A finger on my left hand was somehow bleeding.
I’m here to report that I survived the attempt on my life. But my lunch was relegated to the organic compost bin my previous mood had been adjusted and then some. Well played, universe. I let down my guard for a nanosecond and you teach me my lesson with a nicely measured and proportional response.
The planning. The purchase of food for the sole purpose of having it later. The waiting. The anticipation. All of it for naught.
Dejected, I slurped up a can of Progresso chicken and noodle soup. It wasn’t anything near what I had dreamed. And then depression set in…