“The biscuit is singing!”
I had just come into the kitchen. My wife was upstairs getting on her pajamas. I thought she should come down and hear this.
“Just a minute – I’ll be right down.”
I was afraid she would miss it and accuse me of making stuff up. Again. I leaned over the glass dome covering a solitary leftover biscuit. A low but very distinct wailing noise started, continued for about three seconds, then stopped. Thirty seconds later the sound repeated. It sounded like a very small elephant was in serious trouble. Or a biscuit singing its lonely heart out.
Now, I realized that in all likelihood the biscuit was not really singing. It’s hard enough to get a biscuit to talk, let alone sing. They are a lot like me that way. But there it was again, more like a screech or a moan than anything musical. I liked the idea, however, of a singing biscuit, and I thought it would give my wife something to think about, by which I mean something to distract her from my various shortcomings.
Kim came into the kitchen with that familiar, indulgent “Now, what” smile on her face. Silence. She started to shake her head, when thank God the song started again. We both moved closer. It stopped.
“Let’s try an experiment,” I said. I’m a take-charge guy, but only in certain kinds of crisis situations. I quickly removed the glass dome and placed it on the butcher block.
“Be careful,” Kim said, which was the best thing I’d heard all day.
The biscuit sang again, just as loudly with the cover removed. Acting with great courage and decisiveness, I moved the plate with the biscuit on it over to the butcher block. Kim moved back a step, and we waited.
We were not disappointed. The keening song began again, loud as ever, but it was not from the butcher block but from the kitchen counter where the biscuit no longer resided. I leaned over the counter, but it stopped.
“Maybe it’s an insect,” Kim suggested. I started to move aggressively toward some insects I spotted on the wall behind the counter, but they turned out to be screws that held up the paneling.
I grabbed the handle and slowly opened the drawer beneath the spot where the now silent biscuit used to rest. The shrill insect-like drone startled us both, and we both stepped back. Something had invaded our junk drawer. What did it want?
I slowly reached toward the contents of the drawer. I knew that I was, through some genetic disorder, unable to fix the plumbing or vacuum in the corners of rooms, but I was gifted in whatever it takes to challenge a not-a-singing-biscuit creature nestled in with the prongs for holding corn on the cob, the non-electric egg beater, the spare matches and toothpicks, and the novelty drinking straws we were saving for the grandkids. This was obviously a job for a man – even if I had to nudge my wife out of the way to do it.
I plunged my hand into the back of the drawer and removed an obviously disturbed plastic elephant drinking straw. Either through battery malfunction or out of sheer boredom, the elephant head through which milk had never passed was voicing its protest or invitation. With cool expertise I snapped the head off the straw and dropped it into the trash. Then I turned to Kim and smiled, but my triumph was a brief one, for the now clearly an elephant call was coming from beside a used coffee filter and who knows what other horrors. Confronting yet another fear, I reached into the abyss.
An image of my hammer in the basement flashed before me, but remembering the fiasco when I tried to silence the smoke alarms while changing the batteries, I rejected the idea. No, this called for exile. What was that legend about elephant burial grounds? I hustled it out to the garage and into the garbage can. I put the lid on securely.
Back in the kitchen, I washed my hand in my most professional manner, copied from hospital shows on television. I turned to Kim with what I was sure was the kind of confidence that women find attractive.
“Well, that’s taken care of. Want to go to bed?”