Thursday, February 11, 2010

I am the Cheese

Title: I am the Cheese
Author: Ranger

Damien's voice from the foot of the stairs sounded anything but promising. I sat where I was and pretended I hadn't heard him. Anastasia quietly got under the bed. Damien's voice rose more than fractionally.
Oh that wasn't a good sign.
Feet started up the stairs.
I opened the door a crack and emerged, trying to look nonchalant before he found me actively- hiding.
Damien stopped half way up the stairs and surveyed me, with one of his more sardonic looks. Then he held out a hand to me.
"Come here Nick please."
Trying to maintain the look of 'Whatever's wrong and how may I help you?' I let him take my hand. He towed me with unnecessary speed down the stairs and into the kitchen. The blackened stain on the wall behind the oven was a little more obvious than I'd hoped it would be. I peered at it, trying to look startled.
"Oh indeed." Damien said mildly. "Would you like to tell me what that is?"
"It was cheese on toast-" I admitted. "I was making lunch."
"Since when does cheese and toast involve fire?" Damien inquired. I winced.
"It didn't exactly-"
"I might be wrong, but I thought it involved the grill. That looks to me like a fireball."
"The grill got a little hot." I hazarded. "Maybe I turned it up too high."
"And it exploded?"  Damien said, folding his arms. I swallowed.
"Not exactly?"
"So what did it do?"
"I don't know?"
Damien unfolded his arms and steered me closer to the burn mark on the wall.
"Darling. Something did that to the plaster. It was obviously the oven. Only you and I use the oven, so if you don't know anything about this, I need to call an electrician."
Silence. I stared at the burn mark, wondering when it got so big.
"DO I need to call an electrician?" Damien asked. I gulped.
"Uh. It was the cheese-"
"What happened to the cheese?"
"It wouldn't grill, so I turned the gas up."
"What did it do, catch fire?" Damien demanded.
"No!" I said indignantly. "I'm always careful about that, you know I am!"
"So what happened?"
I flinched.
"Nicholas…." Damien said gently.  I took a deep breath.
"I sort of forgot to light the gas straight away."
Silence. Damien tipped his head back and surveyed the ceiling tiles. I surveyed him, apprehensively.
"You forgot?" he said eventually, mostly to the ceiling.
"I was cooking." I said defensively. "There was a lot to think about from work and I was hungry-"
"Didn't you SMELL it?" Damien demanded. "How long was it on!"
"I don't know- the cheese didn't brown!"
"So at least ten minutes? More?"
The politicians who removed our right to silence do not have domineering boyfriends.
"Not a LOT more-"
"HOW did the fire happen Nick?" Damien said grimly. I twisted my hands, trying to find the right words in the right order.
"I realised I hadn't lit it and I was - hungry-"
"Tell me you didn't press the ignition?"
I hesitated, willing to go along with that. Damien's breath escaped through his teeth in a hiss like an overboiled kettle.
"NICHOLAS! WHAT happens when you light collected gas?"
"It explodes." I mumbled, with an excellent memory of the fire ball, rolling up the back of the oven. "I opened the window to let the gas escape though-"
Damien grabbed my wrist, turned me around and swatted me hard, three or four times, punctuating himself with the rhythm.
"AFTER you ignited it! What else did you burn?"
"Nothing!" I said defensively, my eyes stinging as hotly as my backside. Damien swatted me again, still harder.
"My hand," I admitted, yelping. "And a pot. And the chopping board."
"Which are now where?"
"In the shed…"
"And you seriously thought I wouldn't notice this?" Damien pulled my hands to him, turning them over to check until he found the small, red burn. Then he steered me across to the tap, turned it on and put my hand under the cold spray.
"What did you do with the cheese on toast?"
I looked blankly at him. Damien opened the grill. Then extracted a blackened, rigid object, and dropped it at arms length into the bin. Then he manhandled the cooker out of it's space and checked the back.
"Is it damaged?" I ventured. Damien snorted.
"It ought to be beyond repair. Actually I don't think so. You're lucky you didn't burn the house down!"
"I didn't mean to…"
"Nick, don't even try to tell me you didn't know gas was flammable." Damien left the oven out of position and came back to check my hand.
"How sore is that?"
"Sore." I said, hoping for sympathy. There was no such luck. Damien just took the lavender oil down from the first aid shelf and splashed some on. Then he steered me across to the kitchen table and sat me firmly down. The notebook pad and a pen appeared out of the drawer, making me cringe.
"1000 times please." Damien said calmly. "'The proper procedure for dealing with gas leaks is to turn off the gas, open all doors and windows and evacuate the area for at least half an hour. NOT to offer it a naked flame.'"
"Can you write that down for me?" I asked, betting privately he wouldn't remember all that.
He remembered it. Word for word.
Sighing, I picked up my pen.
"I never DID get to eat…. AND my hand is sore-"
Damien LOOKED at me.
"I can take you upstairs and make something else sore, darling. It would be no trouble, and I'm already in the mood."
 My best strategy was clearly to keep my mouth closed and start writing.
Damien took the bleach out of the cupboard and began to carefully sponge the burn marks. It took him twenty minutes to get all the stain off the wall. Where upon he went into the lounge and watched Everton play Nottingham Forest on tv. He relented at half time and presented me with a cup of coffee and a tuna sandwich. He also remained deaf to my pleas, protests and whining.
At six pm I slid onto his lap and wound both arms around his neck. He hugged me but swatted my behind.
"Where are they?"
"On the table."
I snuggled into his neck. "They're done."
"So let me see."
I muttered. Damien put me on my feet and gave me a push toward the kitchen. I handed them over. He scanned them and handed them back.
"Another hundred and fifty."
"You didn't even COUNT." I accused.
"I can tell just by looking." Damien pointed at the table. "Another hundred and fifty."
"I'm STARVING." I pleaded.
"Maybe then you'll learn that you need to use gas safely before I'll let you cook."
"There's stuff in the Geneva convention about starving people." I muttered.
Damien went on watching football, oblivious to the Geneva convention. We ought to have the UN Forces in our house, in blue helmets. Keeping Damien firmly from outbreaks of aggression.
The football was into extra time when I dumped the finished lines in his lap.
"I'm DONE."
"Good." Damien checked the lines through then tore them neatly in half and handed them back.
"Bin them and you can make cheese on toast for two. Just for practise."
"Sod." I told him, resentfully.
He shook his head at me. "Do I make that cod liver oil for one?"
I stuck my tongue out at him and stamped back to the kitchen.
Cheese. On toast. AND the stupid grill
"LIGHT it darling." Damien said from the lounge. "Carefully."
Do NOT offer it a naked flame. Times 1000. Yes I know.
I lit the gas. Safely. With a mental raspberry blown to Damien.
The codliver oil bottle stood in it's usual place on top of the shelf, I caught sight of it and a sudden thought crossed my mind. I took it down, and took the mustard out of the cupboard. 
"There." I told Damien ten minutes later. "Grill OFF, all safe, all done."

"I knew you could do it." Damien said, accepting his plate from me.

"I knew I could too." I told him smugly. 

Copyright Ranger 2010

1 comment:

Key said...

Oh Nick what yer like lol

I wont mention the incident I had with the leaky gas fire and lighting candles, or the time I accidently cut through a wire in the old fridge I was trying to get rid of..I thought it was just a wire, How was I supposed to know it had gas in it?...scared the crap out of me when it started hissing, but hey at least I unplugged it first! :D

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