I smelled it before both feet crossed the threshold. A charred odor. Like somebody had used that oven-cleaning setting and burned oven droppings to charcoal. A haze hung near the ceiling. Not so much near the ceiling, as halfway down to the carpet. I imagined that Hick had burned the pizza. The Walmart pizza that I had bought for him Sunday, a thin crust meat trio, just what he likes.
I told him I would be gone three evenings during the week. And he agreed that such a pizza would be easy for him to make. Turn on the oven to the temperature on the box. Take off the plastic, slide it on a pan, and put it in the oven. Let it stay there for 10-12 minutes. Even a child could do it. Even a Genius could do it, although he would let it sit out 24 hours on the stove top and then eat it.
“What’s that SMELL?”
“The stench of charred food!”
“I don’t smell anything.”
“Dad. It stinks in here. Like something burned.”
“What’s going on?”
“I’m just eating my supper, Val.”
“The pizza? Did you burn the pizza?”
“Nooo. I didn’t burn anything.”
“Hoo hoo…that’s a good one. My eyes are watering from the smoke. You’ve got to be kidding me. What are you eating?”
“My hot dogs.”
“You made hot dogs? I bought you pizza!”
“We can have it another night. I wanted hot dogs.”
“What did you do, forget about them in the oven?”
“No, Val. I cooked them. In a skillet?”
“Then where’s the skillet?”
“I washed it, Val.”
“Uh huh. So I wouldn’t find out. I notice that you only washed your secret skillet—
“And my knife and fork, Val.”
“-- not the additional silverware and that one bowl on the counter by the sink.”
“Oh, and while you’re sitting there feasting on your charred hot dogs, your field is on fire. We saw it on the way home. I thought that was the smoke inside the house at first.”
“I’ll go check on it when I finish my hot dogs.”
Hick lets nothing come between himself and his hot dogs. Not even a raging forest fire.
Sing along, if you dare...
Sing along, if you dare...
The Smell of Hot Dogs
Hello hot dogs my old friend
I’ve come to sup on you again
In the kitchen without Val here
I open Frig II’s door to peer
And the vision I behold before me glows
Saliva flows, anticipating hot dogs.
All by myself I feast alone
On tasty hot dogs without bones
In my La-Z-Boy I recline
On my hot dogs I begin to dine
And my gut is stabbed by the char of a burnt tube steak
Bad food I make
When I prepare my hot dogs
And in the living room I saw
Val had returned and sensed my flaw
Val was choking and not breathing
Val was questioning my cooking
‘Cause her eyes were singed by the smoke hanging in the air
How she did glare!
Because I fried my hot dogs
“Fools,” I said, “You do not know.
Charred hot dogs through your bowels flow.
Hear my words that I might teach you
Cure constipation now for you
But my words like silent mustard fell
Extolling the benefits of hot dogs.
Later I bowed and prayed
To the porcelain god I betrayed
And then Val cried out her warning
As I left for work this morning
“The words of the wise aren’t found in a toilet clog, but in Val’s blog.”
Advising you: Lay off the hot dogs.