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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Very Special Lunch…

I was out yesterday with Dryver on his first field trip to a pumpkin patch/farm. It was a great time as I got some time away from the office and was able to have fun with Dryver with no other distractions, except maybe the 50 other Kindergarteners that wanted to talk about movies and games. It was great to ride the bus with him and also go on the rides at this farm. We got back around 1:30 or so and headed home from school early (I checked him out of class an hour early as a treat.)

I ran in and got on a few conference calls right away, as my day was going to get crazy. I had a ton of work that was backed-up because of the delay in starting my day, I needed to be efficient and get some work done. It is fun to not work, but then it is painful to get back to work as no one else stops what they are doing so you can go off and have fun with your son. I was on a bunch of calls and got a lot done.

Then around 5pm I headed downstairs to check on the kids. As I walked into our family room I was overtaken with the strongest odor that I had ever experienced, and I have one of the worst colds of my life and probably couldn’t smell a case of rotten eggs if they were cooked in front of me. Since I live in DC, I immediately thought that Al Qaeda had attacked with some strange killer gas and we were all doomed. But I was still alive.

I started to crawl around the room and look under the couch to find the source of this odor from hell. I started to gag and was beginning to get really nervous that I was going to find a dead body somewhere in the house. The kids were sitting on the floor watching cartoons and seemed to be okay, though you could tell they were not too pleased. I thought for a minute that one of them had crapped their pants or had decided it would be funny to take the garbage out and hide it in our couch. I was gagging and really started to feel violently ill. I was really worried there was a gas leak or something worse.

The kids both had their shirts tied around their noses and mouth to cover up the smell that was now thick throughout the house. I couldn’t find the source and started to open all the windows and doors in hope of some relief. It was getting worse and I could only dread that one day I would find the source of this scent. I headed downstairs into my office, where Jon and Artem were working. These are two guys that work with me, and Artem is a Ukrainian immigrant and Jon is a guy from the Midwest that is doing customer service for us. They were working in my basement while I was out with Dryver and also doing conference calls in the office upstairs.

I opened the door to the basement and the smell almost knocked me out. It was like Mike Tyson had punched me in the face as I fell backwards. I held my breath and started down the stairs into what could become my death march. I was sure that both Jon and Art had already expired, and this smell was coming from their rotting corpses. I worked my way down the stairs and walked around the corner into the office. The first thing I saw was Jon sitting at his computer face looking at the screen. He had his t-shirt wrapped around his mouth and nose and looked up at me like a scared puppy.

I looked at Jon with the eyes of a cop coming into a hostage situation searching for any sign of what was going on and what I was going to be going against. I got up against the wall and gave Jon the question mark hand signal trying to get some info without announcing my presence. I needed to know what I was going to find around the corner. Was there an alien, was it that the whole basement had flooded with sewage from the Potomac River, or was there a cannibal cutting up Art and frying him in cabbage and rotten eggs. Jon just gave me a look of total loss and desperation with a little tear coming down his cheek. He had clearly given up; it reminded me of the look of those guys that get kidnapped in a foreign country, it was really sad.

I walked around the corner and to my surprise Art was just sitting at my desk smiling and working as happy as ever. He was humming a song and looking at his computer screen. I could hear him talking to himself and just seemed to be happy as ever, even oblivious to the smell that had at this point become so thick, you could see the vapors in the air. I kept my mouth and nose covered and headed towards Art. I knocked him on his shoulder.

‘What is going on Artem?’ He turned around and said, ‘Hey there buddy, I am just doing some work.’ He was totally oblivious to the situation. It was clear that he was like that kid in middle school that had crapped his pants but did not know he had pants filled with poop. By this time Jon had escaped by running up the stairs in a panic. I realized I was alone in the basement. I heard the upstairs front door close (I had left it open for air), and could hear Jon and my kids running out of the house for safety.

I said to Art ‘What the hell is that smell? What is going on here, this is a biohazard!’ He said, ‘What do you mean?’ ‘I don’t smell anything.’ I looked at him, realizing he was gone. He had no clue what was going on. It is like a guy that has been run over by a train, but does not realize that he is going to die in seconds.

‘Art, what is that smell? What could that be?’ I said, barely bringing up some chunks of the apple I had eaten for lunch at the pumpkin patch. “Oh, you probably smell my lunch’ Art responded with a little smile. ‘I thought it would be okay if I ate it, at least Jon said it would be okay.’

I looked at Art with tears in my eyes. I was shaking and thought I might be looking at the end. I finally got enough courage to ask. ‘What is ‘it’ that you ate for lunch?’

‘Oh, I saw that you had a sleeve of raw garlic cloves in your kitchen. I ate a bunch of those garlic buds, probably around 20-30 cloves.’ ‘They were really good, you should try them sometime.’ He said without even recognizing that I was at this point about to pass-out. I had nothing to say. I just nodded and walked upstairs to join the rest of my family out on the neighbors front lawn. Though the smell was still carrying throughout the neighborhood from Art, it was at least tolerable in the autumn air.

Well, later I found out, from Jon, that Art saw the sleeve of fresh garlic on our table. He decided to start eating the whole cloves as if they were potato chips. Jon thinks he ate at least 20-30 cloves totally raw. Jon said at the first bite, you could smell the rotten sharp smell that is not intended for human consumption.

The smell is still in our house, our block, and our car. It is not going away anytime soon. We actually didn’t have any trick or treaters this year because they couldn’t get past our front step to come knock on the door.

I guess this was one Crazy Ukrainian’s way to play a good trick without the treat!

Disqus for Cold Kiwi