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The RV, the barbecue and the cook—part 3

The RV, the barbecue and the cook—part 3


by Chaucer                Part 1Part 2

Some coals became Mervin’s requisite white but some remained black and many had crumbled to useless ash. Things were not going well. “Quick! Send out for more charcoal, and get me another beer,” yelled Mervin but nobody moved. Puddles of ooze leaching from the meat had now whipped the fly population to a feeding frenzy.

“Yah—damn,” and worse shocked the ladies as Mervin seared his digits while adding more briquettes to the fire, “and for God’s sake, someone bring me another beer.” The coals remained stubbornly black.

Our neighbour was revealing a Jekyll and Hyde character as he screamed for yet another beer, and more lighter fluid. Fear and curiosity make strange partners.

It might have been culinary ineptitude, embarrassment or shameful inebriation that drove the chef to his sudden act of pyromania. Sloshing more fuel over the coals and more beer over himself he leapt back awaiting ignition. Nothing happened, except a spewing petroleum vapour that drifted through the hungry gathering. And then it did happened! A muffled “HARWHOOMPF” unleashing a fireball that chased after Mervin causing his hair to crackle.

It all seemed surreal, part of a special effect for an uproarious home movie. But it wasn’t!

Mervin was fast coming undone imploring, “no big deal” as he swore loudly while jumping up and down like a frenzied marionette on his smouldering apron, bellowed for yet more beer. The flies had now gorged themselves to death and were floating in the warm marinade—the perfect incubator for botulism.

“Can’t trust these bloody briquettes,” he extolled while heaving meat, flies and all into the oily conflagration.

This was no dress rehearsal—and nobody was filming. Some began folding their chairs ready to bolt.

The grog had spiked Mervin’s brain who then launched into a medley of bawdy sea shanties at hysterical pitch. The disaster gained momentum and although greatly concerned, few wanted to miss such a bizarre concert—it had become theatre. The excess lighter fluid had channelled into the nearby rose garden and flickered up the wooden stakes across a withered grape vine and crept along the fence.

The briquettes were now titanium white; cremating the food as the heat buckled the glowing drum and melted the chicken wire.

“I’ll fix that in two seconds, just like the pro’s do—water’s the secret,” a confident Mervin wailed as he snatched a tumbler from the table, dashing its contents, ice cubes and all into the blaze.

The Vodka ignited like napalm, blasting a fireball into the tree above invoking at last, a communal, “GASP!”

Beneath an extinguisher blast of white powder the fire was no more, as was the food. A quick thinker grabbed the garden hose and doused the fence.

As if nothing happened Mervin then vowed to make pizza for all. “The secret to good pizza,” he informed the remaining few, “is to get the oven really hot—it’s got to be red hot!” I bid goodnight and hurried home and watch that event on the late night news.

Mervin’s motorhome remained on the front lawn cemented in the dried mud for months until one day a large crane arrived, picked it up and took it away—never to be seen again.

There’s a huge sports-fishing cruiser with twin engines in the front yard now—Mervin is scouting the neighbourhood for crew.

“Not me mate, I get violently seasick,” I told him!

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Botswana O'Hooligan 11/01/2018, 8:53 am

    Now you good folk might heed my advice about flies and meat, soak the meat in dieseline for a day or two first and that solves a lot of problems including the appetites of those vegetarians who are steadfast about their diet until they attend a BBQ where there are decent steaks. I have always been a bit wary about gas powered devices since I was a kid because they tend to blow up, and clearly remember visiting the grandparents in the smoke who had converted their chip heater to one that consumed gas. The old Dad who only had one hobby, and that was swearing at the chooks each morning as we milked the house cows, decided to have the luxury of a hot shower, entered the bathroom, turned the gas on, couldn’t find a match, went into the kitchen, started an argument with Grandad about paspalum grass, went back into the bathroom and struck a match. Grandmother said that she always wanted that bathroom remodelled anyhow and no real harm was done for even the lady down the street brought the towels and bathroom shower curtain back. The Dad wasn’t impressed.

    • Lorraine 11/01/2018, 9:18 am

      I am still laughing as I type my reply

      • Botswana O'Hooligan 11/01/2018, 9:47 am

        When you are a naïve kid from the bush life can have strange ways of expressing itself. I was introduced to electricity (we had none in the bush) by an uncle on a visit to Ravenshoe. It must have been the Christmas holidays, I don’t recall exactly but my eighth birthday present was a single shot Slazenger .22, and I had that rifle with me and my birthday is in January. The deal was that I got the rifle as long as I “got ” a marsupial each week for the fish trap and dog tucker, didn’t shoot anyone including my sister, and anything I shot, vermin excepted, had to be eaten. I was showing my cousins the rifle down by the Millstream that ran at the back of the property, and a scrub turkey, at least I thought it was a scrub turkey and therefore dinner, poked it’s head up out of the shrubbery and promptly lost it. The bloody “turkey” was one of uncle Jims prize exotic roosters and I had blown its head clean off. That’s how I got introduced to electricity because uncle Jim flogged the three of us up hill and down dale with a jug cord until it was nearly worn out. I remember thinking, “I hope that bloody cord electrocutes you next time you plug the jug in.” What an insensitive man, he should have congratulated me on the fine snap shot, my two cousins did. So much for electricity.

    • Graham 11/01/2018, 11:43 am

      Great story

    • steve blackett 11/01/2018, 12:07 pm

      Thanks for the lough Bots.

  • Lorraine 11/01/2018, 12:55 pm

    love it and I can relate, I got a whipping from my Father with a cord, hurt (cannot remember what I did wrong)

    • Botswana O'Hooligan 11/01/2018, 5:03 pm

      That’s the one, given a fair trial, found guilty as charged, and flogged. I had a very different approach in that a cupboard made of steel and situated in the garage contained a selection of whips, some had tiny fly hooks on them and a swipe with that one would make yr skin crawl and bleed somewhat, another had fish hooks on it and that would lacerate you something terrible and you would probably need a blood transfusion, and one studded with meat hooks so one swipe would turn you into a skeleton. The steel safe was hidden in a secret compartment behind a retaining brick wall and only I knew how to get at it. The kids never saw it but they knew it was there and must have told their mates because one day a little kid turned up and asked me to take the one with fish hooks on it and deal with his brother!!

    • Crankykoala 11/01/2018, 5:19 pm

      These electric cords must have been the weapon of choice for us oldies parents. True story. When I was about 12, early one school morning, I did something to upset my Mother who took to me with the extension cord for the iron and chased me down the hall and out into the street. I was still in my pyjamas and Mum retreated inside only to return about 30 seconds later to throw out my schoolcase and books with the words “now off you go to school”. Well, I didn’t and after she had settled down, around midday, I was invited in for lunch – just as though nothing had happened!

  • Jack Richards 11/01/2018, 6:17 pm

    I once went to a bar-ber-que where the host promised a lamb spit roasted. Everyone was to turn up at 11, have a few aperitifs and appetisers and the main meal would be ready by 12:30. We turned up on time and the host was just mounting what looked like a full grown sheep carcase onto a metal rod. The rod was connected to a pulley and the pulley to an old washing machine motor with another pulley about a 10th the size of the first one – thus giving a reduction of about 10:1. The problem was that the whole thing was mounted over an old 44 gallon BP diesel drum cut in half lengthwise and about half a metre above the fire. The host had made it himself and this was his first use of it. It was autumn and there was a cool wind blowing . The sheep rotated and rotated and the fire was hot and giving off a distinct diesel smell but nothing seemed to happen. So we waited and we waited and we waited and we consumed more and more beer, wine and spirits and by about 4:30 the host began slicing off pieces of very rare mutton – so rare it was still bleeding on the plate. This continued for another 2 or 3 hours as the 20 or so guests waited for a slice to change colour slightly -meanwhile we just kept drinking. When I finally got a chunk of near-raw mutton I noticed that it had a distinct taste of diesel. It was around 6:30 and the sun had set before I got lunch – and I couldn’t eat it despite at least 8 cans of Reschs Pilsener. We finally made our escape at about 8:30pm, went home and had a feed of cheese on toast.

    I’ve been to some pretty lousy dinner parties – there was a New Year’s Eve party I went to with about half-a-dozen of the world’s most boring people – but nothing ever matched the utter tedium and starvation of the big “lamb-on-a-spit” party.

    • Bh 11/01/2018, 9:03 pm

      But did it end up being one of the best parties you’ve been to, in terms of the laughs you got out of telling the story?

    • Botswana O'Hooligan 11/01/2018, 10:20 pm

      You see it is the bloody dieseline every time, tho mind you I betcha you weren’t pestered by flies. We “dressed” for dinner in FNQ although it was about forty in the waterbag, we kids in shorts and long socks and long sleeved shirts, the adults wearing ties and decent dresses, and we ate under a bloody mozzie net on account of the flies, fat black bastards. A small kid with non reflective skin pulled a “punkah” and so life went on. Years later I remember overnighting in places like Normanton, a place akin to Nome Alaska if one allows ones memory a gallop, and we also dressed decently and ate soup, main course, and a hot dessert (all in including bed and breakfast for a quid) when it was about fifty in the bloody waterbag. Ditto Thursday island, and to add insult to injury in Port Moresby after 1800 “planters rig” was the “go” long black slacks, a cummerbund, a bow tie, and a long sleeved white shirt. One night we “got in” in some terrible weather and the pub dining room was flooded with about a foot of water so we took our shoes off, rolled our pants legs up, and were refused service on account of inappropriate dress. The moral of the story if there is one, that I know how to manage a wheelbarrow full of fighting implements arranged on each side of ones plate. Mind you, that doesn’t do one any good in a restaurant when some doubtful looking waiter person wants to take yr half eaten plate away and they get all miffed when one selects the right implement out of the array and threatens to assassinate the peasant bastards.

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