Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Eek! (02/25/10)
TITLE: Bachelors and Turkeys and Ashes - Oh My!
By Beth Muehlhausen
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Hey dudes! Well, last Friday night I decided it was time to shake things up a little bit. You know, do something entirely atypical. So I invited about twenty-five friends over for dinner on Saturday.
Just in case you don’t get the picture here, I don’t cook. I NEVER cook anything other than boxed macaroni and cheese. The kitchen traumatizes me. But I have a friend named Tom who likes to cook and together I knew we could pull it off.
On Saturday morning we hit the grocery store and bought two turkeys, a big bag of potatoes, and some other supplies. Then we spent the afternoon getting ready. Actually Tom did a lot of the cooking while I cleaned house Joe-style with a lick-and-a-promise.
We planned the meal for 6:30-ish. The sissies would dine in relative comfort inside; the roughnecks would chow down at a picnic table we’d judiciously placed over the big oil spot in my pole barn. A kerosene heater would keep them from freezing to death.
At 6:15 Tom was slaving away over two pots of boiling potatoes while watching for the plastic thermometer to ‘pop’ in Turkey #1 (the BAKED big-bird). I was timing Turkey #2 (the DEEP-FRIED big-bird). Everything was under control.
At the last minute I decided to light a fire in the wood-burning stove between my kitchen and living room. It seemed a good idea; I keep the furnace thermostat set at 55 during the cold months. (It was 31 degrees outside at the time.) I also thought a friendly fire might provide a touch of … ambiance.
Anyway, the fire didn’t burn very well; the logs were too green. So I said to myself, ‘SELF! What should you do?’
I did just what my self told me! I went out into the garage and looked around at my drum set, a very ripe kitty litter box, my golden retriever named Buddy who was chewing on a stray sock, and a few hammers and screwdrivers. Finally I spied THE LEAF BLOWER! Ah, the perfect solution! No-effort billows. Genius. Pure genius.
I revved up the blower – reeeeeeeeeeeeee – walked inside past Tom’s bubbling pots – reeeeeeeeeeeeee - and took aim at the wood stove. POOF! The fire crackled to life, and a million ashes flew EVERYWHERE. My floor, my beautiful semi-clean FLOOR! It was now well covered with volcanic Mt. Saint Helens ash.
There was only one thing to do: get out the trusty Eureka vacuum. The clock stared at me: 7 minutes and counting. Da-da-DA! Vacuum TO THE RESCUE! Rrrrrrr …. rrrrrrrrrrrrrr … rrrrrrrrrrrrr. Go girl - suck it up! Get rid of the evidence!
Oops, a live ember on the floor? Oh well. No biggie.
Rrrr …. Rrrrrr …… rrr …… rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I didn’t worry about the hint of smoke coming from the sweeper bag. Nope. I told myself that ember would soon be smothered and dead.
I was wrong.
When Tom started hacking and yelled, ‘Hey, I’m gagging in here!’ I knew there was a problem. So I yanked the plug and ran outside holding a smoke-billowing Eureka in midair with both hands.
Once outside I unzipped the dust bag, and right before my eyes it transformed into the gaping mouth of a fire-breather! This thing’s a DRAGON!’ I yelled. ‘Eeeeeek … Eureka’s eating me aliiiive ….!’
Tom glanced out the window to see me dancing a primitive tribal-style jig with Eureka as mega-flames shot from her yawning mouth. Evidently the introduction of a live ember in a well-oxygenated bag full of dog and cat hair had provided a perfect environment for Eureka’s dragon-mouth. ‘Eur-EEK-a! You’re…EEK-A! Stupid geek-a … you FREAK-a … !’
Eureka had become a flame-thrower!
The bag was now a fiery furnace. I yanked it free by the hardest, and then smothered it with the waffle-design rubber welcome mat that just happened to be full of mud. Then I dragged the wounded, battle-weary Eureka back inside, assessed her damages (some melted parts), inserted a new bag, plugged her in, and started sweeping. EUREKA! She still worked!
The ashes were gone before the first guest arrived, both turkeys were delicious, and I don’t think anyone even noticed the faint smell of smoke and melted plastic.
*The main character’s name has been changed but his story is 90-some percent true!
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