Great Balls of Fire!

fryingpan_fredsharples.jpg

The names in this post have been changed to protect the innocent, well except for mine because I think I gave up on the whole innocent thing when I was 8. I moved out when I was 18 and my first roommate (we’ll call him Henry) was a great guy. He helped me to get out of a house which was poisonous and unhealthy. He had a lot of qualities I really admired but one I really didn’t. He was a slob. Not just a run of the mill slob but a sanitize your hands whenever you enter or exit any room his stuff was in kind of slob. The kitchen was the worst. You would literally have to clean the whole kitchen to cook any meal. Gordon Ramsay’s head would have puffed up and exploded if he had ever had the unhappy experience of visiting our kitchen.

Henry’s absolute most bizarre habit was his tendency to cook in the same frying pan all week long. When I say all week long, I mean without cleaning it once. He would cook meat, vegetables, more meat, eggs, pancakes, anything and everything. Every time he used the pan more gunk and grease would build up. Everyone who lived in the house would beg him to clean it. It was beyond nasty. I would plead with him about the dangers to his own health and the possibilities of lighting his big shaggy beard on fire. Nothing got to him. We used to secretly clean it but this would anger him. He said the leftover grease and fat flavored his food. When he cooked in the kitchen I made sure to stay away. Sometimes the smell would be so bad my gag reflex would immediately start kicking in.

One morning I was heading out to work when I opened my bedroom door and saw a thin layer of smoke wafting out of the kitchen. I walked hurriedly over to the entrance and peered in. Henry was at the stove dancing around like a chicken with its head cut off (this by itself was laugh inducing. You see Henry was a very big man and he did not do panic with any level of grace). It had finally happened. While cooking breakfast he had managed to turn his favorite frying pan into an out of control fondue pit.

The fire was raging and appeared to be getting larger. I screamed for him to smother the fire with another frying pan. Henry reached over the stove, bypassing his extra large pan, and grabbed a medium pot and slammed it down on the raging pile of malignant grease. Unfortunately, the pot was way too small and instead of cutting off the fire, the flame engulfed the smaller pot (I am guessing something in the smaller pot was somewhat flammable because the fire really started popping now). Henry completely lost his shit at this point. He grabbed the handle of the frying pan and began to run straight at me. The flames danced back towards him as he began screaming, “Open the door, open the door!”

I quickly reached out and opened the front door. Henry ripped around the corner and headed for the exit looking like an oversized wizard with an out of control fire ball. I barely had time to utter the words, “Henry, the screen!” When he smacked into the screen door, dropped the pots, melted the floor, and set the screen door on fire. It was then he decided to take drastic action. Henry reached up and grabbed his bathrobe and pulled.

I have to take a moment here and tell you about this bathrobe. I told you Henry was a large guy. His weight sometime made it hard for him to find comfortable clothes. In a fit of inspiration he had taken a quilt and sewn it together to create a pull over bathrobe. He loved that bathrobe. When he yanked it over his head he began to furiously beat the fire into submission. It was then I discovered a fact I could have gone the rest of my life without knowing…Henry went commando under that damn robe. We now had a 300 pound naked man beating a fire to death with a giant quilt.

It was at that exact moment the cable man chose to walk up to the front door. He was greeted by smoke, flames, and a giant ass. He didn’t even ask if we needed any help. He stooped saw the flames were almost out. Turned around and walked away. I am sure when he went back to the office that day nobody believed the story he told.

Henry did finally put the fire out. He stood up with as much dignity as he could muster. Made sure his quilt wasn’t on fire and then gingerly put it back on. As it settled back down onto his body I could see the fire had burned holes straight through the quilt exposing large parts of his pinkish flesh. I looked at the bathrobe, I looked at the melted floor, I looked at the singed hair on his beard. I burst into the loudest and longest fit of laughter I have ever experienced. I walked out of the house with him screaming behind me, “It’s not funny!” As I passed the cable truck, still parked in the driveway, I could see the cable man shaking and tears rolling down his face. Our eyes locked in uncontrolled mirth. I nodded and cried all the way to work.

About csdaley

C.S. Daley was born in California but has spent most of his life in his imagination. His first short story written in third grade, the now classic "Close Encounters of the Turd Kind," was sold to his next door neighbor for a quarter. The neighbor promptly demanded a refund. An unhealthy obsession with the writings of Neil Gaiman, Christopher Moore, and Terry Pratchett have left his mind warped and broken. He spends most of his evening swilling down coffee while tapping at a keyboard under the watchful eyes of his kittens. They are there to make sure he doesn't snap. He likes to write fantasy for adults and teens.

5 Responses to “Great Balls of Fire!”

  1. >Oh my gosh…that is hilarious!!I think my brain now has that mental picture burned into it. Was the pan cast iron? I know there is some rule about "seasoning" those and you don't wash them the normal way. Of course, I would still think that there is some process you use in between cooking different items. That is random!

  2. >Fantastic story! LOL

  3. >That story is brilliant. I don't think I would have been as discreet in my obvious amusement as the cable guy.While I have lived with other people from time to time, I have never shared a space with anyone so messy. I don't think I would be able to cope with the chaos which an untidy place would bring. I have spent time sharing with someone whose idea of appropriate housewear was rather suspect, but I made sure to avert my eyes to avoid the sight of things which cannot be unseen…

  4. >That was hilarious. Thanks for the laughter today!!

  5. >Hilarious!Tears in my eyes funny.

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