Saturday, 19 July 2008

Geyser Stew (c)2008 Wayne Smith

Wayne Smith said... A great idea Margo!
Here's a short story just to start your blog going.
It's about how I went from being a tenant to homeowner.
When I was 24 about 30 odd years ago. Its called Geyser stew

by: Wayne Smith Aug 10/06

The first explosion occurred while my back was turned; by the time I reached the window all I could see was pink mist. A violent hissing filled the air and my heart sank, realizing what I had done. The pressure cooker left on high, had somehow been forgotten, the consequences never will be.

As a tenant in the basement suite of George and Elli Varaljay I had become more sensitive to my landlords' needs. Elli had suggested I try cooking the more smelly things outside, as she does. Odors from my cooking in the basement rose upstairs, lingering in the air, causing considerable discomfort and tension, in our relationship. I began hearing the sound of stomping feet, going around to all the heat registers, slamming them shut in an attempt to thwart the foul odors, and then a volley of something incomprehensible would follow, in Hungarian.

It was under this concern that I had fashioned a small cooking table outside my bedroom window, well away from the windows upstairs. A hot plate was set up on the table, with an extension cord running through the window, into the suite. I had begun experimenting with one-pot meals, in my new pressure cooker. The dinner meals included lots of tomatoes, ox tails, beets and other juicy salubrious fluids, all combining to make an interesting reddish colored meal of sorts.

My meal had been started around five o’clock. I am not sure what had called my attention away from cooking but when I returned to open the bedroom door, memory swiftly returned. A pink mist was beginning to congeal on the outside of the bedroom window. Just beyond the geraniums in the window box, great blasts of red goo erupted high into the air followed by intense hissing from the now valve-less pressure cooker.

I flew outside as fast as I could, out the back door, around the house to where my makeshift kitchen cooker was set up. The site was spectacular a massive V-shaped swath of vulgar colored ooze covered George’s siding, all the way to the sofit, two floors up. Thick messy drops strung down everywhere. My once-full pressure cooker sat spluttering the last of my supper over the burner and was beginning to smoke and smell terribly.

I felt sick. How could I tell George, and surely the Hungarian would flow from Elli. Courage found, I told George there’s been a bit of an accident. Yes it seems my stew pot somehow exploded and the contents got onto your siding. What! He exclaimed, yes, well we’d better take a look. I’m not sure how it happened, I explained as we stood looking up at the now red wall. I expected the worst, but all he said was never mind it will wash off, yes, I agreed and I will get at it as soon as I get home tomorrow.

The next day, before I had time to wash the siding, George had been up and cleaned it all off. All Ellie said was, Vain don’t you vant to buy the house next door, it's for sale. Yes I said, I would; that was over 30 years ago. Today George and Ellie still say I was the best tenant they every had. And I say they have been great neighbors, as good as anyone could ever hope for.

George and I have covered many topics in the back lane over the years from raccoons to plum trees; the topic stew or red siding has never been mentioned.


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