The Funny Page: Buzzed
By Steve Milcik*
Back in the June edition of this magazine, I regaled you with the trials and tribulations of my barbecue, filling your mind with images of me heroically burning assorted meat byproducts under the summer sun.
By Steve Milcik*
This is the saga that never ends
Back in the June edition of this magazine, I regaled you with the trials and tribulations of my barbecue, filling your mind with images of me heroically burning assorted meat byproducts under the summer sun. Like any good writer who has no imagination and faces a strict deadline handed down by an evil, overbearing Editor (I’m looking at YOU, Skalkos), in times of stress we turn to that faithful old standby, the sequel. Of course, all sequels need recurring characters such as the Hero (me, naturally), the Love-Interest (my mate, Sophie) and the Villain (Her Royal Highness, Queen Mandy).
After a much-needed two-week vacation, I returned to my abode looking forward to once again assuming my rightful place on the balcony, standing tall in front of the barbecue, a tall glass of frosty Sangria in one hand, and my cellphone in the other. I have the fire department on speed dial. As I sipped my chilled beverage, an unwanted guest arrived. After I shooed the Jehovah’s Witness away and returned to the balcony, I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye, a darting flash of yellow and black. A wasp! That most heinous of insects was invading my space, and like any brave and intelligent man, I quickly took affirmitive action: I ran into the house, screeching like a schoolgirl.
After my patient and somewhat amused wife Sophie calmed me down, she explained that it was my duty to return outside and seek the source of all evil. I suggested I drive to Ottawa to do that, but she reminded me we were talking about wasps. I pointed out that Parliament is filled with them, but she insisted I deal with the bugs first. I slowly made my way back to the balcony, and quickly spied a handful of the flying beasts, hovering excitedly around my barbecue. It was then that a chilling realization flooded me. The wasps, in my absence, had built a summer home underneath the grill.
Anger exploded through me, and with a mighty swing of my fist I smacked the lid and bellowed “OUT! OUT FOUL DEMONS!” I was rewarded when they did exactly that, a buzzing swarm of angry wasps taking to the air and zeroing in on the source of their displeasure. With a startled “EEEP!” I once again took refuge indoors and watched as the wasps gathered around the sliding door, staring at me balefully and waggling their stingers in frustration. I considered my options for a moment, then chose the wisest course of action.
I ordered in Chinese food.
The next day was a kaleidoscope of war, with running battles punctuated by me retreating often to the safety of my home. I tried smoking them out using an empty coffee can and an oil-soaked rag, to no avail. I sprayed the offending nest with an industrial-strength bug spray, but they laughed it off. When the standard weapons failed, I tried other strategies, such as trying to woo them into a state of complacency using music from their favourite artists, Sting and the Bee Gees. This only enraged them further, and once again they ran me off, “Staying Alive” warbling appropriately in the background.
Meanwhile, much to my growing chagrin, Sophie was preparing a feast of filet mignon brochettes, and kept looking at me in a way that told me that one way or the other, we were going to be grilling tonight. I had to find a way to defeat the wasps, because failure was not an option. Of course, divorce WAS an option, but since finding another woman to marry me would probably be harder and more painful than suffering multiple stings, I decided to try one more gambit. It was time to pull out the big guns.
First, I prepared my defences: layers upon layers of baggy clothing went on, and I used duct tape to seal the openings at my hands and feet. Covering my head was a hockey helmet, with my fishing net draped over it. Meanwhile, I had a vat of water slowly simmering to a boil on the stove and I had unravelled the garden hose, tossing it onto the balcony from a distance. Then I waited until nightfall to make my move. I crept outside, careful not to make any noise that would disturb them, and slowly lifted the hood of my barbecue. Hoisting the pot of boiling water, I poured the steaming contents onto the area where the bugs had built their fortress, then snatched up my hose and readied myself for a counter-attack.
Nothing happened. I stood there for a few minutes, listening intently and hearing only the sounds of dripping water and my own ragged breathing. It was over, and I had finally won the war. The casualties were fierce, and included my faithful barbecue. The water-bombing I had inflicted on it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and I was never able to get it started again. This meant I would have to, yet again, shop for a new one to replace old faithful. Which, of course, leaves me an opening for another sequel!
Oh, and you may be asking yourself where Mandy Maeren fits into all of this? Well…she’s the Queen Bee! Thank you, thank you very much…you’ve been a great audience. I’m here all week! Don’t forget to tip your waitress, and please try the veal.
*Steve Milcik writes from Montreal, Quebec, and when he isn’t turning a quarter-pounder into four ounces of coal, he sells rental software for Orion. You can send him your barbecue recipes at firstname.lastname@example.org.