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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the HUMOR genre (04/12/07)

TITLE: Cleaning Up
By Shari Armstrong


“I’m going to cook Thanksgiving dinner,” Mary announced.

”Are you sure about that?” He glanced at his wife over his newspaper and coffee

“Yes, and I’m going to invite the Smiths. We’re all stuck here on base and no family around. It’ll be fun.” She pulled a cookbook off the shelf. “How hard can it be to cook a turkey anyway?”

He folded his paper and moved to stand near Mary. “I’m sure it will be wonderful.” He kissed her. “I need to go, or I’ll be late. Love you.”

“I love you, too.” She sat down and started pouring over the pages looking for the perfect Thanksgiving meal.

She closed the book after making an extensive shopping list. She let out a sigh. “This is going to be harder than I thought, but I am going to do it.”

* * * * *

She read the directions to herself. “This is easy.” She hummed as she began to clean the turkey before placing it in the pan. Once the turkey was tucked away in the oven, she moved on to the side dishes.

She pealed and cut up potatoes to get ready for mashed potatoes. Dumping them in a big pot of water, she turned on the burner. “Ok? Now what?” She looked around her kitchen. “Oh, I need to make the pie. She had decided to make the pumpkin pie, as it seemed the simplest. She took great care to read over the directions.

She examined the pie before placing it in the oven on the rack above the turkey. “Perfect. I’ll just take it out before the turkey’s done, and that will give it plenty of time to cool before dinner.”

The phone rang. “Hello? Oh, hi, Laura. Yes, dinner will be at 5:00. Rolls? Oh yes, please feel free. That would be great.” They talked for a few minutes until an odd hissing sound caught her attention, she turned to see her pot of potatoes boiling over. “I need to go. See you later.”

She turned the burner off and lifted the pan carefully as water steamed around her. “Oh, no. They are ruined!” The potatoes had scorched. She dug through the cupboard. “Maybe I have some instant in here somewhere?”

* * * * *

She looked around her at the battle zone that used to be her kitchen. “Goodness, what a mess.” She began to load the dishwasher. “This old thing is going to never be able to handle all this without a little help.” She grabbed the bottle of Dawn off the sink. “This should cut that layer of grease.” She put a couple drops of the blue liquid in with the powder, started the machine and went to shower and get ready for her dinner guests.

* * * * *

“Oh, no!” She discovered herself in the middle of an “I Love Lucy” episode as she returned to her kitchen. A layer of bubbles almost an inch thick covered her linoleum. She grabbed some towels and attempted to clean it up.

She heard the back door open. ”Hi, Mary. How are things…” Her husband stopped dead in his tracks as he saw his wife on her hands and knees mopping up bubbles.

She glanced up at him, “Umm.. I decided to clean the floor?” She grinned.

He chuckled. “What did you do?”

She told him about the idea to use the Dawn. “The floor’s never been cleaner,” she announced as she finished.

* * * * *

Their guests, Laura and Matt, were seated at their small dinning room table as she brought out the turkey, placing it in front of her husband. She handed him the carving tools. He said grace before he began to carve. He gave everyone their preferred cut, and the other bowls of food began to be passed around the table.

Laura took a bite of the meat. She tried to hide the face she made with her napkin. “Mary, dear, what a … unique flavor. What did you use?”

”Just some salt and pepper. I didn’t want anything too fancy. Why?”

Her husband then took a bite. “This tastes like…soap.”

Mary took a bite. “Oh, this tastes awful.” She bit her lip to try to hold back the tears.

“Honey? How did you cook this?”

”Well, the directions said to clean the turkey, and Comet cleans anything, so I scrubbed it with Comet.”

Matt cleared his throat, “Pie, anyone?”

* Based on a true story of a family friend and a few personal experiences blended together

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This article has been read 1364 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanney Uthe04/19/07
"I Love Lucy" was a great reference for this entry. I can't imagine! Good job!
Julie Arduini04/19/07
Oh my goodness, I never saw that end coming! This could have almost ended up a tragedy! What a fun read, and great descriptions, I could smell those scorched potatoes!
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/21/07
This was funny; it brought back memories of my learning to cook as a new bride.
Marilyn Schnepp 04/22/07
Comet? Oh well, don't feel bad, I didn't even know a turkey had to be cleaned; I thought they came clean. So much for my cooking ability. Cute story. Well written.
Joanne Sher 04/23/07
You definitely put us right into the MCs mind - and I loved the ending! I've made some mistakes somewhat reminiscent of these - thanks a million for the reminder LOL Seriously - a delightful read.
Jan Ackerson 04/23/07
The charm of this is that it taps into a similar cooking disaster in almost every household, and thus elicits knowing grins. We're definitely all the same, in this regard!
Sara Harricharan 04/23/07
This is hilarious! It sounds like something that would happen to me if I ever tried to prepare a turkey (thank goodness for vegetarians! ^_^) I could already the soap overflowing to the floor, but I think this could've expanded more into a slightly longer piece to smooth out a few of the jumps in time. Very fun though!
Rita Garcia04/23/07
ROFL! "Comet cleans everything." Entertaining and sooo funny!
Val Clark04/24/07
Being not much of a cook myself I can really identify with this! Ending really capped the story off well. Smiling. yeggy
Tabiatha Tallent04/24/07
Wow, a new use for Comet (NOT). Great job, I loved this!
Marc Smith04/25/07
This is funny stuff. Well done! This is why I am not allowed in the kitchen. Quick question though, how are you supposed to clean the turkey? Comet sounds logical to me. ;)
dub W04/25/07
Other than repetative pronouns this is a delightful piece. Thanks for sharing.
Jacquelyn Horne04/25/07
I can identify with this. I made fudge with two cups of salt once! I put the bowl of liquid fudge on the table. You should have seen the faces of those who couldn't resist! Good job.
Marty Wellington 04/25/07
Good job, Shari. A truly enjoyable read with a kicker of an ending. Comet, huh? (eeeewwww)
Catrina Bradley 04/25/07
Excellent! I did that soap thing with my first dishwasher. How was I to know? Love the end.
Sandra Petersen 04/25/07
Cleaning the turkey with Comet? Oh, boy, I've heard everything! I can only guess how the pie turned out.

I haven't ever done that but I have scorched rice, potatoes, and noodles.

There were a few misspellings: "started pouring over the pages" should be "poring," "She pealed and cut up potatoes" should be "peeled," and "small dinning room table" is "dining." I would try to combine some sentences and actions so that "She" doesn't have to be used to begin so many of the sentences.

But as far as humor, this was truly an "I Love Lucy" day! Good job of capturing it!
Shari Armstrong 04/25/07
Author's note -thanks for catching my boo boos. I honestly didn't realize how many times I'd used "she" till Dub pointed it out lol. Considering I cranked it out with 15 minutes to spare, I'm surprised y'all didn't find more boo boos lol.

Just for the record for folks who didn't see the hints - While I was the one who flooded the kitchen floor with bubbles and have scorched some food in my day, an old family friend did indeed clean her first turkey with Comet. Mom assures me that the lady in question did learn to cook - eventually :)
Betty Castleberry04/25/07
I felt Mary's pain...LOL! Very cute, and the beginning reminded me of stories my mother used to tell us of when she was an army wife.
Myrna Noyes04/25/07
These are definitely scrapes Lucy Ricardo would find herself in if she attempted to cook a Thanksgiving dinner for the Mertzs! :D Good job!
Helen Paynter04/25/07
Laughed out loud at the end. A great fun piece.
Cheri Hardaway 04/25/07
Your title ties it all up perfectly, and I never saw the end coming. Funny. I loved this: She discovered herself in the middle of an “I Love Lucy” episode as she returned to her kitchen.
Thanks, Cheri
william price04/25/07
Nothing like coming clean with a good humor story.
In fact I just hid the Comet from under the kitchen sink and put it in the bathroom. Nicely done. God bless.
T. F. Chezum04/26/07
LOL - this is great, thanks for the laugh
Laury Hubrich 11/21/07
This was very funny because I could certainly relate:) I'm still not much better of a cook than I was when first married:( Thank you for giving me a good laugh tonight!
Seema Bagai 11/21/07
This is funny. It felt like an episode of a slapstick comedy show. It being a true story makes it even funnier.
Dee Yoder 11/22/07
"Comet! It makes your face turn green,
Comet! It tastes like gasoline.
Comet! It makes you vo..." Uh-better stop there! Funny, Shari. Who was the "relative"?