Sunday, March 28, 2010

Recipes: III (aka Blazing Chickens)

The night I met Dorf, aka the Gorilla, sticks out in my mind.

I'd met his roommate, Max, at the place I worked at the time, and Max had suggested we all get together for dinner. He mentioned that his roommate would make dinner, and since everyone had heard about my insane videotape collection, perhaps I could bring some videos?

It sounded good to me. About then... the phone rang.

I picked it up. A crazy high pitched voice screamed and jibbered at me. I recognized Max's name though. "It's for you... I think," I said, handing Max the phone.

Max looked at me funny, and took the phone. He listened for a minute, and his face showed shock. "Holy CRAP!" he cried. "That was Gorilla! My house is on fire! We've got to get over there, NOW!"

And Max ran out the door.

I followed, stopping to lock the front door, and to ponder why Max had a gorilla, and how it had gotten my phone number. No one had bothered to inform me, yet, about Dorf's nickname.

We ran through the darkened evening streets. In the distance, I heard sirens, of fire engines to come. Max was a skinny little bugger, and I had to run hard to keep him in sight. Fortunately, he didn't live more than a few blocks from my place. He ran into a complex of apartment buildings, and into a little breezeway between two buildings... and stopped cold.

When I caught up with him, I saw why. The pavement was covered with broken glass. This one apartment faced into the breezeway, and the two large windows flanking the front door had blown out. Max stood there in shock. Plainly, this was his apartment. Cautiously, I stepped into the breezeway. The front door was standing wide open, which may have saved it from being blasted off the hinges.

About then, a hairy man wearing a towel ran out into the breezeway. "Max!" he cried. "It's okay! It's all right! I-- YEAAARGH!"

Seizing his foot, he hopped backwards into the apartment. He was barefoot. I guess he hadn't noticed all the broken glass.

Max and I cautiously stepped forward, and peered into the open window. The apartment did not appear to be on fire. Nothing was burning. There were no soot marks or black smears, or anything to indicate that it had been on fire. I noticed the aquarium sitting on the breakfast bar was shattered, though. I also didn't see any gorilla. I did smell a strong odor of burnt hair, though. Was that it? Had they been meaning to serve the gorilla for dinner, and it had somehow managed to escape? That still didn't explain how it had gotten my phone number, though...

Meanwhile, the hairy man continued to hop around the living room holding his foot. His towel fell off. He was naked. He fell down behind the couch, and I saw him no longer.

About then, the fire department showed up. It seems someone had reported a fire. Did we know anything about it?

Max and I couldn't tell them anything.

About then, the hairy man emerged from behind the couch, firmly wrapped in his towel again, and limping slightly. Yes, he was the one who'd reported the fire. He was also the one who'd called my house.

Meanwhile, the firemen, in full firefighting gear, had spread through the apartment, looking for signs of fire. One noticed that one wall of the kitchen had scorch marks on it. He also noticed a twisted cylindrical thing on the kitchen floor. It looked like an exploded bombshell to me. What the %$#@ HAD these crazy people been meaning to serve me for supper?

About then, the hairy man began to explain himself... and the story fell into place:
Gorilla had set up a dinner date with his girlfriend and his roommate that evening. His roommate had mentioned that he worked with this guy who had every videotape ever released, and what say we invite him, and ask him to bring some videos? Gorilla was agreeable, and Max had set out on foot to my place. Meanwhile, Gorilla had showered, and begun dinner.

Dinner was a sort of open faced sandwich thing with chicken breasts and molten mozzerella that Gorilla called "Atomic Chicken". It involved careful baking at medium temperatures. Gorilla was running back and forth between the kitchen and the bathroom, dressed only in his Fruit Of The Looms, trying to get cleaned and shaved and coiffed and make dinner at the same time. At one point, he was shaving himself by the reflection in the chrome parts of the stove. Kitchen utensils and hygiene supplies were scattered throughout the kitchen. He put on a pot of green beans to cook, and then went back to the bathroom to find his toothbrush.

While he was in there, he heard an explosion in the kitchen.

He ran back in... to find the kitchen in flames.

The entire north wall was ablaze. The stove was wrapped in flame. The kitchen was an inferno.

Dorf stood there, goggling at it. What the fuck? He'd only been gone two seconds. How the hell does a fire this huge start in two seconds?

About then, a tiny part of his mind interrupted his ponderings to point out that his house was on fire, and to suggest that he do something about it.

Um... okay. How does one put a fire out? Water! You put water on it!

Dorf ran to the sink, and turned on the water. It ran ineffectually out of the faucet into the sink. Dorf began grabbing handfuls of it and throwing it at the burning wall. It didn't seem to do much good. Was the fire SPREADING? Man, this wasn't WORKING! How ELSE did one put out a fire?
Um... well... you BEAT it out!

Dorf ran to the wall and began slapping at it. VERY briefly. He then jerked back sharply to blow on his newly hairless knuckles to cool them. Plainly, barehanded wasn't going to work. What else was there to beat the fire out with? He cast around him for a dishtowel, a blanket, SOMETHING--


Desperate, he yanked off his underwear and frantically began trying to beat the fire out with them. He whacked the fire three or four times without much visible affect. On the fifth swing, he realized that his Fruit Of The Looms were on fire, and let go of them to keep from getting burned.

After that, he decided to just stop doing anything and stand there and scream for a while. After several good screams, he felt a little better, but his house was still on fire, and now he was naked.
What else did one do when the house was on fire?


He ran into the living room, grabbed the phone, and dialed 911, and yammered his address into it, adding "FIRE! FIRE! HAAAALLLPPP!!! before he slammed the phone down again. About then, it occurred to him that perhaps he should tell his roommate about this. He saw, on the notepad next to the phone, "Am at Doc's, 555-6431", so he called my place, and screamed at Max that the house was on fire.

Oddly enough, having successfully DONE something about it, he felt better, and lit a cigarette, and waited for the fire department to arrive. He took a drag, and glanced into the burning kitchen.

...and realized that he was sitting on his butt, naked, in a burning house. He was in actual physical danger.

His mouth dropped open, and his cigarette fell out of it.

Into his crotch.

I should probably point out that Dorf was so rattled he hadn't hung up the phone. Max was still standing there, listening to nothing. Suddenly, Dorf began screaming, and Max was convinced that his roommate and bosom buddy was burning to death, and that's when Max shouted at me and pelted out my front door.

Well, yeah, Dorf WAS burning alive, just not quite the way Max thought.

Meanwhile, Dorf had retrieved his smoke, and ran again into the burning kitchen. What the hell? What to do? It would take the fire department too LONG, what was he going to DO--

...and his eyes fell upon the fire extinguisher hanging in its little bracket, next to the stove.

I wasn't there, of course. I can only imagine the look on Dorf's face. It must have looked exactly like in the movie Army Of Darkness, where Ash is facing the horrible undead monster in the pit... and suddenly, someone throws him his chainsaw.

Dorf seized the fire extinguisher with alacrity... and burned himself on the hot metal. It hadn't been IN the fire, but close enough long enough to heat up significantly. He dropped it. It landed on his toe. He hopped around screaming for a few seconds, all the time he could afford, and then grabbed the thing again. It was still too hot, but by Ghod, he was going to put the fire out. He grabbed the handle, aimed it at the fire, and squeezed the trigger.

Nothing happened.

He squeezed again. Nothing.

After that, he went a little nuts, and began beating the extinguisher against the burning wall, weeping and crying and screaming and cursing the evil rotten appliance that had so failed him and refused to put out the fire.

About then, he noticed that there was a tag hanging on the extinguisher. Of COURSE! Read the INSTRUCTIONS! He quickly backed away from the fire, and took the tag in hand to read it.

The tag was on fire.

Screaming and howling, he tore the tag away and slapped out the flames. Too late. It was unreadable.

At that point, he jumped up and down screaming, ready to break the damn extinguisher over SOMETHING--

--when he noticed the little ring/pin thingy sticking out of the trigger assembly. It was intended to prevent accidental discharge. Bob immediately slipped a finger through the ring and yanked--
--and it stopped. It was held onto the extinguisher by a little plastic loop, the same one the tag had been hanging on.

Dorf yanked again, HARD. Nothing. It was too tough. It wouldn't give or break.

Screaming and shrieking and howling like the damned, Dorf PULLED--

--and the cord broke. The ring came free. Dorf flung it across the room. The extinguisher was in hand now. The pin was gone. NOTHING would stop him from raining foamy death upon the enemy flames! And Dorf spun around to face the burning wall and squeezed the trigger--

...the wall wasn't on fire.

Dorf let go of the trigger. He stood there and goggled.

The wall was not on fire.

Dorf stood there some more. He stared. The wall was not on fire. The wall HAD BEEN on fire, but now was NOT. What the hell was this? How does a fire go from nothing to Firestorm in two seconds, and then from Inferno to nonexistence in two seconds? The wall wasn't charred. Nothing seemed damaged.

Had... had there actually BEEN any fire? Was Dorf losing his MIND?

He stepped forward ... cautiously... and put his hand on the wall.

The wall was hot, hotter than it should have been, but not so hot that you'd think it had been burning. Hey, there were scorch marks, up near the ceiling? Dorf felt the stove, and promptly burned himself on the hot metal.

Plainly, the wall HAD BEEN on fire... but now ... was NOT.

A flicker of flame caught his attention! Dammit, the evil sneaky rotten fire had MOVED! It had OUTFLANKED HIM! He spun around, extinguisher at the ready!

A thin tailing of smoke and the stench of burnt vinyl flooring rose from a little white mound. Dorf's underwear was still on fire, where he had dropped them. Dorf pointed the extinguisher, squeezed the trigger. The extinguisher worked fine, and killed the little flame immediately.

About then, he heard sirens, and someone screaming his name, nearby. Dorf abruptly remembered that he was naked. He ran into the bathroom, to get a towel...

...and that was where we came in.

The firemen were mystified. The wall did have scorch marks, and SOMETHING, some sort of sudden thermal effect, had blown out the windows and shattered the aquarium... but what the heck was it? The firemen knew any NUMBER of things that would cause a wall to burst into flames suddenly... but NONE that would suddenly vanish, leaving only traces of scorch instead of total destruction. What the hell?

About then, one of the firemen picked up the exploded bombshell looking thing. He looked it over, and then called Dorf over.

It was a can of hair spray. "Where did you leave this last, before the explosion?" the fire chief asked.

Turned out he'd been doing his hair and shaving, all at the same time, right there on the stove, in the reflection off the chrome. He'd left the hairspray right on top of the stove. It had heated up and exploded, hosing the entire stove and the wall with wet hairspray, which had then ignited off the heat from the burner with the saucepan on it.

Fortunately, hairspray doesn't burn real hot. It hadn't ignited the ceiling (although it had scorched it pretty well) or the drywall. The only things it really COULD ignite were flammables like clothing and paper... and when the fuel had burned out, the fire had simply vanished. Luckily for Dorf.

The fire marshal gave Dorf a nasty lecture about flammables and kitchen appliances. Dorf stood there, head bobbing, yes-sir-no-sir-three-bags-full-sir, and took it. Max and I examined the rest of the apartment. Max mourned the loss of his beloved fish. Finally, the firemen left.

Dorf staggered to the couch and lit another cigarette, to steady his shattered nerves. Max and I sat down with him. Man, what a night...

About then, a sort of thin, distant grinding shrieking noise was heard from the kitchen.

Dorf about had a conniption fit, right there. WHAT THE HELL NOW?!?!

I leaped to my feet, ready to flee. This place was DANGEROUS!!!

Max leaped to his feet, too... but then walked into the kitchen, toward the source of the sound.

It was the somewhat melted, damaged but still functional, kitchen timer.

Dinner was ready.

(This story originally included Dorf’s toasted chicken sandwich recipe, but it has been lost. Perhaps this is for the best.)

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