The Combustion of the Deadly Squirrel Grill


Here’s the story of smoke, the olden days, and meat.

Most folk wouldn’t enter a room full of smoke with a calm accepting sigh, but then again, most folk aren’t me. Most would argue that’s a good thing because if you were me, something probably would’ve killed you by now. I wouldn’t use the word ‘lucky’ of myself, perhaps ‘fortunate’, or maybe it was that deal I made with that Irish leprechaun when I was a wee laddie. What? Oh, aye, I agree, that’s a ridiculous thing to say. You’re totally right, readers. Should’ve just said ‘leprechaun’ since they’re all Irish. Although I have heard rumours there was once a leprechaun that hailed from Belgium. He had a particular penchant for French waffles…

Nothing was on fire, although the whole scenario was rather like a Looney Tunes cartoon, so it wouldn’t have surprised me in the slightest if there was a fire. You’ve all seen those cartoons. The character leaves a room in perfectly fine working order, exits said room through a swinging door, and comes back, only a moment later, and the whole room is in chaos. In the kitchen. Leave the room. Re-enter one moment later. Smoke. Everywhere. “Oh, this again.” I thought. Could’ve sworn I saw Daffy Duck run passed me…

I had to make dinner. But we didn’t have much food. Well, we had some green stuff but it was rather unappetising. This left me with one terrifying option. The grill. We just got one of these newfangled grill thingamabobs. I hadn’t used it before and although father had given me some instructions, I wasn’t really paying attention. So it’s a top tip for kids reading. Always listen to your parents or your kitchen will get all smoky. Okay, it’s not a ‘fire-fighter’ level safety talk, but that’s because I’m not one. I’d be terrible at that. For a start, I’m not keen on running toward fire. But kudos to those who do.

I spent much of my time staring at the grill. It’s like some sort of mechanical metal machine thing. About one and a bit foot wide. I don’t know why I hoped the power of staring would guide me to an answer, but I was home alone and damn hungry. It took me a while to get over the staring and thinking stage. Longer than it should’ve done. I even became transfixed by an adorable squirrel outside. Then it hit me! I could kill the squirrel and chuck it in the oven! Ah, no. Awful idea. I don’t have a shotgun for a start. Now I think about it, I wonder if a flying slipper would’ve done the job. Hmm.

I’m not used to doing things for myself, so I had to do some detective work. There were three metal plates. Well, obviously, one goes underneath the contraption. The other, just above, to rest the meat on. The third? Nope, couldn’t figure it out. So I ignored it. And I set it all up, preheat and all that – I was rather proud. I’m doing it ma, I’m doing it!

I periodically lifted up the lid to check on the meat, but it really wasn’t cooking. There was also a persistent niggle that every time I opened the thing, it switched off! ‘Oh, damn!’ I thought. I didn’t put the oil on! Post-haste, apply the oil! I just chucked some over everything. Didn’t go too well. Massive ball of smoke. “JESUS CHRIST!” I mumbled.

It just wasn’t cooking, and I was getting hungrier and hungrier. And you wouldn’t like an Italian when he’s hungry. I decided to leave the machine to its devices and attempt to look for something else. Beans! Just about all we had. Quickly, I scrambled for the tin opener. Hmm, that didn’t go well. It broke. “NOOOO!” As if things couldn’t get any worse, the tasty squirrel had scarpered.

Then the machine started beeping! What the hell does that mean! “Oh Ally, I’m done!” Ah, smashing. Or, “DEAR GOD, HELP ME, I’M IN SO MUCH PAIN!” The smoke was billowing out. What was I doing wrong? I was really starting to panic. It’s not like I could’ve called the fire brigade. The house phone battery was dead. And all the neighbours were out. No, I had to deal with my meat hell myself. Like a real man. So I decided to read the instructions.

Well, firstly, that third piece of metal actually was supposed to go on the underside of the lid. The underside of the lid had two metal wires, which were pressing down on the meat, causing severe charcoaling in very specific areas of very specifically compressed meat. Because it was hot, I had to apply a very tricky to apply metal plate with oven gloves. Total nightmare was that…

Secondly, I had to wait until the light turned red, then it was done. I think it turned red, but it was hard to see through the smoke. Even when I took the meat out, it was grey on one side and brown on the other, with certain areas compressed by the metal pipes, that were a really rich black in colour. They tasted awful and exacted yet more revenge by burning the skin off the roof of my mouth. I WAS BLOODY HUNGRY! I almost ate a frickin’ squirrel!

It was a highly traumatic experience, readers! I’m terrified of going anywhere near that infernal lump of metal again. Seven minutes to cook anything. That’s what the blurb claims. IT TOOK ME 35 GODDAMN MINUTES! It would’ve been quicker to cook the meat in the oven! I left that room for two seconds, hardly any smoke, almost none, and re-entered to a scene of total horror. I almost burst into tears. And I’ll tell you why…

WHAT IS THE POINT OF ALL THIS! We managed perfectly fine in the glorious olden days without any of this modern technology. What did a kitchen of 1930 have? A cold room, a worktop, an oven, a stove, a kettle and that’s about it. Imagine if they had even half the technology we have. Imagine their reaction! “A coffee maker! Coffee! Do I look all fancy an’ continental, give me a cuppa tea any day of the week!” “A bread maker! What’s wrong with a lovely fresh loaf from the baker!” Hey, good idea! WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE BLOODY BAKER! “A grill? Bah!” Says our 1930s gentleman as he throws it out of the window. “Oh ‘eck,” he continues, “I just killed a squirrel – kids, dinner will be five minutes…”

I’m all for modern technology making our lives easier, but why aren’t they making it idiot proof? They should be testing all this tech with people like me. Normal Joes. And they’re not. If they tested the machine on me, they never would’ve put it into production. Instead, they would’ve put their collective genius into a more fruitful basket. I don’t know, finding a cure for leprechauns. Something like that.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt this week, it’s that resilience is a must in life. There is simply no way you can make it to the finish line if you’re not resilient. Well, okay, there’s no way you can naturally make it to the finish line. Because if that smoke explosion had happened in my later years, I probably would’ve had a heart attack.

And boy, that sure would be a pretty unconventional way for burgers to do that…

American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic and historian, Henry Thoreau (1817-1862), once said: “The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest.”

Peace Out :|:

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. You can leave a comment and/or like this post below, or by clicking the title on the top of this post if you are on the archives page. Likes and follows greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Please feel free check out the latest posts from my other two blogs:

To Contrive & Jive
New Posts Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Click Here to Read the Latest Post

Hark Around the Words
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