It was beastly hot and there was no way we were going to roast the house—and ourselves—just to do up a chicken for our guests that Sunday.
They were special guest, but not that special.
“Why don’t you do something up on the barbecue?” suggested my wife, The Pearl of the Orient. The Pearl is very good at delegating chores to me—even if I am resistant to taking direction.
“I think we’re about out of propane,” I offered, hoping against hope, that would put the ball back in her cooking court. You see, I had the afternoon all planned out with a cold six-pack.
“Well, fix it, dear Jackie, dear Jackie, dear Jackie. Well, fix it, dear Jackie. Dear Jackie, fix it!” the Pearl rhymed off in here best Harry Belafonte accompaniment fashion.
I dragged out the obsolete, rusted, empty propane cylinder and headed off to the service station for an exchange.
“I can’t give you any credit on that old piece of junk. It’s obsolete,” the attendant informed me.
“Obsolete! Why I just got it from here two months ago!” I lied indignantly; hurriedly trying to wipe off the five years of accumulated cobwebs and grime it had collected in my garage.
“Yeah, right!” commented the attendant, ringing up 23 bucks for the refill plus another 25 for the replacement tank. I grumbled all the way home.
As I lay on the deck hooking up the propane, the first of the six-pack sitting at the ready to soothe my parched throat and assuage my soon-to-be scraped knuckles, the mosquito settled lovingly on my head and proceeded to extract a blood sample.
I gave it a good swat with my free hand, remembering too late, that was the hand holding the crescent wrench. I missed the mosquito, but not my skull.
Parents and children exiting the church next door made a pointed retreat for their cars rather than tarrying around to exchange pleasantries. Looks like another friendly neighbourhood petition will be circulated.
Now, what to cook? The Pearl handed me a hunk of metal that came with the new barbecue and announced, “Beer can chicken. Read the directions.”
To my horror, those directions included the sacrifice of half a can of beer to be shared with the chicken—stuffing can and all up its backside. Well let me tell you, no way was I sharing half a beer with any chicken.
It’s all or nothing.
Fortunately, beer is considered a necessary service during the summer season in a tourist community, so I was able to obtain a re-supply at the local snakebite remedy store. Otherwise, I would have been forced into a smuggling run and probably would have wound up in the slammer for the rest of the weekend.
In the end, I got more beer and managed to get the chicken on the barbecue shortly before the guests arrived. Norm and I settled onto the deck in the shade, with the new six-pack as I explained how I had set up the beer can chicken.
“I know,” interrupted Norm. “I’ve done it lots of times. Just open a can of beer and stuff it in the chicken and sit ’er on the grill.”
“Open?” I asked as the dawn of reason began to suffuse my befuddled brain and I headed for the barbecue.
With a look at first of amazement and then one of sheer terror, Norm dove for cover behind the picnic table as I raised the lid on the grill.
It was just the little added shock the beer can needed as the pop-top popped and the chicken achieved lift-off. By the time it reached the top of the house, it had achieved orbital velocity.
It must have burnt up on re-entry as we never found it, but the neighbour’s shiatsu did develop an awful case of indigestion.
However, the take-out pizza was great and we had just enough left of the six-pack to wash it down.
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