Flash Fiction #136

Vegan

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

CONDEMNED MAN’S HEARTY MEAL

Come on! Give it a try.  You said you agreed that we eat too much artery-clogging meat, and were willing to give a healthy vegan lifestyle a try.

Yeah, but when I agreed to that, I envisioned potatoes and beans, perhaps broccoli and cauliflower – possibly lots of salads, with iceberg or romaine lettuce, radishes, cucumber and green onions – even ovo-lacto, with chopped, boiled eggs and bits of old cheddar cheese. I never imagined eating flowers.  What kind of dressing do you put on them – Kim Kardashian’s perfume??

I can’t wait to put this meal on Instagram. No-one will believe it.  🙄

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Oh, Rats!

Rat

I smell a rat…. if only I could get my cats to do the same.

In our utility room, which is stuffed to the gills with various types of food – bags of dog, and cat kibble, potato chips, egg noodles, dried peas and beans, and individual packets of hot chocolate powder began developing holes.

Oh-oh, we have a mouse.  There were two things wrong with that assumption.  It wasn’t a, and it wasn’t mouse.  A suddenly-turned-on light eventually revealed a scuttling little fur ball that definitely was a rat.

How do rats get into your house?? I don’t know about yours, but mine has a flexible, 3-inch tube, from the bottom of a window well, down to the furnace, to provide air for combustion.  It’s supposed to have a steel-wire grate in it, but rats have teeth and jaws that can chew a hole in the side of a Buick.

Rat Trap 1

Food was moved, and placed in Tupperware, Rubbermaid, and Zip-Loc containers, and an unused steel canister set. Boxes of cereal went back into plastic store bags and got hung from water pipes on the ceiling, so that they couldn’t be reached.  A large plastic tote box was purchased, to safeguard my nachos.  I went to a hardware store to purchase a rat trap, thinking I’d get one like the  super-sized mouse trap, above.

Rat Trap 2

They’re not sold around here anymore. What I got, for $12, was a plastic, Hungry, Hungry Hippos kind of thing.  I baited it with peanut butter and oatmeal flakes.  Neither rats nor mice particularly like cheese.  After a week of no results, I went to a different chain store, and got one for $6 that was more like I had in mind, and safer/easier to set.

Rat Trap 3

After a week of two traps, the newer one yielded a body. I think it was a female, but I didn’t spread her little legs to find out.  A week later the Tonka Toy trap snagged an adolescent.  (Oh goody!  If they’re breeding, I’ll never get rid of them all.)

Two more weeks passed. We knew there was still at least one more, because we could hear scratching as we sat quietly reading.  At last the new trap caught another supposed female, but the next day, as I entered the storage room, I saw a larger male shinny up a water pipe, and disappear behind the fibreglass insulation.

A whole month passed, with nothing on the trap line, only scratching from the basement. I moved the traps from time to time, especially near the boxes of cornmeal muffin mix that were chewed into.  I changed the bait to moist cat food – and back to peanut butter and oats.  Finally, another dead rat, but this one seemed to be another female.  Still, the rustling and scratching continued.  That male is a canny old rat.

We considered rat poison, but with 4 cats in the house, our vet discouraged us. The son told me about a DIY glue trap.  Apparently Gorilla Glue makes a super-sticky duct tape.  You can stick together a broken car bumper, and drive 75 MPH – in the rain.  Put some, sticky side up, on a piece of cardboard, place near food and hope the rat steps on it.

I don’t have Gorilla duct tape, but I do have a roll of no-sided tape that followed me home from the auto plant.  It’s pure adhesive on a roll of waxed paper.  Stick it to something like cardboard, peel the wax paper, and there’s nothing left but sticky.  I put two layers on a shoe box lid.

Mica

When I went downstairs to place it, Mica, my Fred Astaire cat, followed me down and jumped up on the freezer to demand his usual petting and skritching. While I was doing that, the dog walked in, and suddenly began barking and lunging under the shelving unit.  He crawled in and continued barking.

As I looked, I saw the rat sneak through a hole into a plastic crate, with the dog in loud pursuit. What to do?  What to do?….Throw something, and try to kill the rat….Can’t be a jar, or I’ll be cleaning up glass shards and pickled beet juice for weeks….A can! What can??  A can of soup?  Too small!  Chunky soup – the cans are twice as big and heavy.

I grabbed a large can, and watched as the rat leaked through a hole on the other side of the plastic crate. The fat little f**ker eased under a storage cabinet on casters, popped out the other side, and headed for the shelves on the other side of the room.

I flung the soup can at him, and caught him below the shoulder blades. Apparently the can wasn’t heavy enough, or I didn’t fling it hard enough.  Hurt, but possibly not damaged, he changed direction and scuttled into the corner behind the water softener and refrigerator….

….and all the while, my cat sat serenely on the freezer, calmly watching the rat disappear. We may have to have a discussion about the fine points of his contract.  It’s been two weeks since I added the glue trap to the two others and found that the son had lost a bag of Oreos.  Who knew??  Next he’ll be down there makin’ S’mores.

Google says that a rat can live for 2 to 5 years. This Chubby Cheese-me-off could outlive me.  Have any of you had mice or rats that you couldn’t get rid of?  Any suggestions – or sympathy?   😛

P.S.

The cats occasionally climb the shelves, and get onto the air ducts above the rec-room suspended ceiling, and play chase.  Two weeks after the above, I was quietly reading, and a chase began in the basement.

Who’s chasing who today?  Contessa’s upstairs.  Zorra’s in my lap.  Tonka’s sleeping on the couch.  Mica’s redeeming himself by chasing the rat!  Go Mica, go!  Two days later I heard faint scratching on one side of the ceiling, but nothing since, and I find no further evidence of any more food broken into.  I cross my fingers (and toes, and even my eyes) and hope.

A To Z Challenge – T – Redux

april-challenge

When I published my T For Terrific Challenge post,  I made it an interactive one, promising to select one entry from those who gave me a T-word and a prompt, and write a post about it.  Susan Leighton over at Woman On The Ledge was the only one who actually did that, so she wins(?) by default.

Click on the link to her site and ask her why she would do such a thing. I guess I have to go through with this.  Since she’s a Woman On The Ledge, if I reneged, she might jump.

She submitted the word ‘tacky.’ Tacky??! I could write about tacky all day!  I have lots of inspiration.  I could go on at great length about the Kardashians or Donald Trump!  Why not?? They do!

Then she slipped the fine print to me. It had to be about cheesy B-grade movies of the 80s.  Oh, what an embarrassment of riches!  I wanted to do a piece about Clint Eastwood.  From Rowdy Yates on TV’s Rawhide, to talking to an empty chair, Clint has been quite a character over the years, both onscreen, and off.

clint-eastwood

I had hoped to write about his spaghetti westerns, but those were in the 60s and 70s.  I’ll have to go with his Dirt Harry series to get the correct decade.  It doesn’t matter.  They’re indistinguishable.  Like the remaking of the Japanese ‘Seven Samurai’ into the American western The Magnificent Seven, they are all morality plays.

dirty-harry

Everything is black and white. The Good Guys are always good. The Bad Guys are evil, and Right always prevails.  The only difference is that Clint’s character ‘Makes America Great Again’ through the application of justice with a Colt .44 Magnum handgun, instead of a .45 caliber Peacemaker.

The overall theme is to be respected, but the presentation means that each movie contains enough cheese to make me a big plate of nachos. I once watched a network broadcast of, “I know what you’re thinking. Did he fire six shots – or only five?” where the network censors edited out two gunshots to reduce the total violence, rendering the line ridiculous.

The 80s was also the decade when Clint did a couple of Any Which Way But…. movies, where he played second banana to an ill-mannered, incoherent, bright orange orangutan.  This should have been good training for dealing with the recently-crowned inaugurated, Emperor President Donald Trump.

Well, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, another composition proving that I have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, and couldn’t generate interest with Doctor Frankenstein’s lightning-rod apparatus. Don’t blame me!  It’s not my fault!  susan Susan made me do it!  😳

A To Z Challenge – P

april-challenge

The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things. This thing starts with

letter-p

PIZZA

pizza

Pizza, in one form or another has been around for centuries – Hell, millennia. People in the Middle-East baked round flatbread, and then put ‘stuff’ – highly technical term – on it to eat, vegetables, a bit of meat or cheese, some spices and oil.  The ancient Sumerians and Greeks both had a word which sounds very much like ‘pizza’, and meant bit, or bite, or mouthful.

The Greeks taught the Romans, and the tradition entered what would become Italy. The dish didn’t change much until the 1500s, when the ruling class of Naples got ahold of it.  Now, spiced meats, sauces, and other toppings were placed on unbaked bread dough and put into the oven.  No-one seems to know who came up with tomato sauce, or when.  Ooey-gooey-good Mozzarella cheese came into being, and, what had been a simple meal for simple peasants, became a gourmet meal for the nobility.

Pizza came to North America in the 1880s, with the wave of Italian immigrants. The first pizzeria in the USA was Lombardi’s, in New York City, in 1905, no matter what the bent-nose bunch in Chicago claim.  At last count, there were just over 200 pizzerias in NYC, and scores of various restaurants which include it on their menu.

It remained largely a cheap meal for Italians. ‘Pieces’ came into being when poor laborers couldn’t even afford a whole pie, but still needed some food.  Pizza didn’t really enter the American consciousness until the mid-1940s, when Servicemen returned from the Italian Campaign.  It’s sad that it took a World War to popularize one of the greatest fast-foods.

Do-gooders have decried pizza, along with the likes of chips and pop, in their fight against obesity. It took the American Council of Dieticians to point out that it’s actually one of the best foods for us.  It contains bread, vegetables, meat and cheese, all the four food groups.  Eating too much of anything will make you fat – but man, what a way to go!!

Some folks insist that there’s a ‘standard’ pizza, but after 3000 years, it’s still, ‘whatever you put on it.’ Area differences appear – pineapple and mango??  If I want a fruit salad, I’ll order a fruit salad.  To me, anchovies have all the attraction of salted eyelashes.  I prefer smoked bacon to bland ham, and add pepperoni, mushrooms and hot Italian sausage to my usual order.

New York style pizza has a thin, pliable crust, and slices are folded over, to eat on the move, with one hand. Hillary Clinton recently did this, while Donald Trump cut his into pieces and ate them with a fork.  Way to show the average Joe that you’re just like him, Dumb Don.

The same thing can be achieved when the chef folds a small ‘pizza’ over, into a half-moon shape.  If it is then baked, it is called a panzerotti.  If it is deep-fried, it is a calzone.  I love me some nice crisp calzones with marinara sauce.

The pizza chefs of Chicago went a different route. They created Chicago Deep Dish Pizza.  The crust is as thin and pliable as New York, but it is baked in a cake-pan type dish.  The rims are raised an inch or more and toppings are shoveled in like they were disposing of evidence.

They’ve even created a Stuffed Pizza. It’s built upside-down.  The ‘toppings’ are placed on the bottom, and ‘some’ sauce and cheese are added.  Then, a second crust is laid down over them, and sealed to the sides.  A steam vent hole is cut in the middle, so that it doesn’t explode, and more sauce is ladled on.

When that baby is cooked and cut into pieces, you don’t handle a slab of it with one hand.  If Donald Trump shows up, you can tell him to, “Fork you!”

There are a myriad of variations of pizza, limited only by your imagination. There’s thick crust, and thin crust.  There’s edgeless, and stuffed edges.  Your choice of toppings can make one very cheap, or very expensive.  I prefer my shrimp with tangy seafood sauce, on a bed of shredded lettuce, not on my pizza, and I can’t begin to afford black truffles or red-wine-soaked brie.

Five-cheese pizza is just silly. Unless you have an epicure’s taste buds, after two, all you can taste is Cheese.  Climb down off your pretentious unicorn and just order extra mozza.   I like a bit of grated parmesan on top of everything else.

Well class, that’s enough discussion about pizza for today. Thanx guys, for reading my stuff.  I’m a little hungry.  I think I’ll go out for some lunch.  Anybody want a burger and fries??   😳

 

 

April A to Zed Challenge – C? Si, si!

April Challenge

Dashing through the dictionary, I see that we’ve reached the letter C.  Wanna make something of it?

Letter C

Courage; the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. From Old French – coeur = ‘heart’

***

“Go ahead.  Don’t be such a wuss.”
“I don’t know.  We never had anything like this in our house when I was a kid.”
“Don’t be afraid of it.  It won’t hurt you.”
“Does it glow in the dark?”
“Don’t be silly.  Make it your new friend.  Get a little closer.”
“It looks like something skimmed off the top of a sewage pond.”
“I will give you a swat with this wooden spoon.  Show a little courage.  Take a spoonful or two of my homemade Cream of Broccoli soup.  I boiled chicken carcasses to make my own rich broth, and added pureed broccoli, a cup of Half and Half creamer, a pat of butter and two cups of grated goats-milk Kashkaval cheese.  It’s good, and good for you.”
“Give it to Mikey!  He’ll eat anything.”
Try or die!”
“Mmmm!….   Hey, he likes it.  He really likes it!  Why haven’t we had this before??”
mumble, grumble $%&<* men! &#@)% husbands!!?”  (Translation available upon request)

 

Flash Fiction #95

Rats

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

RATS! CURSES!

“The moon is made of green cheese. Pass it on.”

What??!”

“Don’t mind me. That’s just something I say, to pass time while I’m stuck in a line.  Sometimes people ‘get it’, and pass it on.  I hate being in long lines.  We’re just like those birds, only without a guiding wire, or a string of elephants, each holding the tail of the one in front.”

“Don’t you touch my tail buddy!”

“Well, the wait is worth it. I look forward to my morning Starbucks latté.”

“Starbucks??! That’s that line mister.  This line is for Justin Bieber concert tickets.”

Aargh!!!

***

Got to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

 

What’s Finally In Your Fridge?

Open fridge

When last we left our husky hero, he was grazing his way through Kansas the basement storeroom. Now is time for him to finally reveal What Evil Lurks In The Heart Of AMANA. Boowahaha….hack, hack!? Stand back! I don’t want anyone crushed when I open this door.

Poor refrigerator, it seems to go in cycles, always busy, but there are days when you can open the door and get an echo. A week later, if I threw a cup of water at it, all but a few drops would splash back on the floor, it’s so jammed with leftovers put-asides. ‘Leftovers’ has a poor connotation; these are intentional, and good.

As downstairs, almost everything in the upstairs fridge comes in multiple versions. There are two 2-liter jugs of iced tea. The three of us drink more than one per day, so there’s always another one chilling. There’s my morning orange juice, but because the wife’s allergic, she has serially gone through cranberry juice, apple juice, the iced tea, and now is drinking mango juice.

Among the condiments we have regular ketchup and my Hot and Spicy ketchup, yellow mustard, and Dijon. (We can’t afford Grey Poupon.) There’s sweet relish, and dill, the wife’s mayonnaise and my Miracle Whip, white vinegar and malt, soya sauce and Tamari, which is spicy like soya, but with less caramel for lighter colored foods and less burning when cooked. .

The shelves are jammed with lemon juice, lime juice for Tex-Mex, coconut oil, Indian ghee, which is a clarified cooking butter, HP sauce, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce, hot chili-garlic sauce, Tabasco sauce and Chipotle Tabasco, sandwich spread, Sriracha, chili sauce, salad dressings, chopped garlic, shredded garlic and shredded ginger, maple syrup, stuffed olives, sliced pizza olives, and two different Diana sauces.

We stock store-bought sweet pickles and gherkins, and homemade dill pickles in snacking quarters, and slices for burgers and sandwiches. The wife likes artichoke hearts, the liquid from which she sometimes uses as a salad dressing, adding a dash of lemon juice and salt, and we keep both margarine and butter for cooking and spreading.

There’s 4 kinds of fruit in the fruit drawer, and 6 different vegetables in the vegetable drawer, including zucchini, which the wife fries with olive oil & garlic salt and tops with shredded cheese. Milk includes 3% homo, my chocolate milk, the wife’s non-dairy Coffee-Rich cooking substitute, and buttermilk to make pancakes and waffles. The son and I eat regular sour cream, while the wife uses the more expensive, lactose-free.

CHEESE! Oh Dear Lord, cheese! We always had cheese, but now that we’re getting older, the wife ensures that there’s lots of cheese to assist my chocolate milk to fight off osteoporosis.

Fasten your seat belt! – The son’s cheddar cheese-string sticks, the wife’s mozzarella sticks, Kraft Singles sandwich slices, Havarti slices, a bag of shredded TexMex, a bag of grated Parmesan for pasta and homemade Caesar dressing. In blocks, we have smoked Parmesan for special dishes, Emmenthaler, the son’s Gruyere, cheddar, the wife’s goat-milk Kashkaval, which she puts on the fried zucchini, Monterey Jack, occasionally mozzarella, which I take from the freezer, to thaw for lasagna, pizza or French onion soup, and Edam, for family-gathering hors d’oeuvres. Oh, and don’t forget the flavored cream cheese spread, the jar of Cheeze-Whiz, and the jar of salsa con queso, which I dollop on my nachos.

Behind the leftovers on the top shelf, hide two or three flavors of homemade jam – red currant from our own bush, strawberry, raspberry, sour cherry, or spiced peach. Tired of putting it on toast? Mix a little boiling water, and they make excellent pancake/waffle toppings. Up there are also horseradish, beet relish, which is 50/50 horseradish and grated, cooked beets, and goes great on ham, pickled ginger, and a soup can full of salvaged bacon fat that we use to fry French toast, or make a roux for gravy.

The son works midnights, and doesn’t take the evening meal with us. He eats at 4:00 AM. The wife and I prepare a recipe that was set up when we had two healthy teenagers. Now she and I take what we want, and fill a Ziploc container for the son. Sometimes he has two or three ahead in the fridge.

Tupperware

Occasionally we pack some up for the daughter, especially tomato-based dishes, because her son is allergic to them, for days when her mobility disability keeps her from cooking. Thank the heavens for microwaves. Tupperware was handy but expensive. Now Ziploc and Glad containers are here. If you melt one a bit, it’s quick and cheap to replace.

After we’ve supplied the son and daughter, anything left goes in smaller amounts for future lunches. No longer just sandwiches – unless you want one. We freeze fresh bread, and never put out more than half a loaf. That top shelf is crowded with little containers of chili, won-ton soup, curried chicken and hamburger stroganoff.

I had to install a light fixture above the sink with three hi-intensity halogen bulbs. The one in the fridge was always so obscured by all the food that you couldn’t see in. Thanx for reading our obesity diary. You must’ve wanted to; you showed up.   😆

***

On an unrelated note; I recently ran into a woman who’s even more of a Grammar Nazi than me. She warns her online friends that, if they send her a message like the last line above, but spelled ‘You must of wanted to’, she’ll unfriend them on Facebook.   😳

#489