Tell me: Have you ever opened a drawer and been hit by an evil odour that smacks you like a shovel in the face? A horrific stench that very nearly knocks you right over?
A wicked stink that immediately fills the room like a fetid fog of putrificaton? I know I have.
As I may have mentioned, I do enjoy a bit of chocolate now and then. And I must say the recent Christmas season yielded quite a bountiful stockpile of excellent chocolatey comestibles for yours truly, which I duly stashed in my secret chocolate drawer in my office.
So just the other day, I’m “working” on a “project” and realized suddenly that it had been a few days since I had treated myself to something from The Drawer and I absentmindedly slid it open and — BAM!
When I eventually regained consciousness, I did what I always do when a crises arises. I yelled for the Better Half.
After donning full scuba breathing apparatus, we soon discovered, at the bottom of the drawer under the After Eight mints and chocolate coins, a small package of three of those round gold-foil-wrapped Ferrero Rocher chocolates.
Except they were very, very ugly indeed. Rotted and mushy and oozing some sort of hideous mould, they smelled like a cross between sour gas and cat vomit.
“Oh, no,” I said as we (she) carried the steaming mess of decayed blobs out to the garbage, the Better Half holding it very carefully out in front of her like a live bomb.
“Did you give me those? Did we give our friends rancid chocolates?”
And then the penny dropped. “I know where these came from,” the Better Half exclaims as she drops the stink bomb into the garbage.
And it starts to dawn on me. For many years my good “friend” and I have exchanged devious gifts. You know, like a box with 1,000 toothpicks that has a false bottom that falls open when unwrapped.
Or a case full of 32 used Swiss Army knives purchased from the Calgary airport sell off of items confiscated by security (long story). Or a beautifully wrapped cassette tape (remember them?) of favourite tunes with the tape pulled out in a tangled mess.
This “friend,” who shall remain anonymous, except to say his name starts with K and rhymes with Jerk, has also been known to unscrew Christmas light bulbs in our yard, and once took apart the sound thingy from one of those greeting cards that plays horribly cheesy music and hid it in our heating vents in our house.
It would play when the furnace clicked on and the vents vibrated, and for a long while, we thought a ghost was singing Happy Birthday in the walls of the house.
“Didn’t K. give you those chocolates with a whole bunch of crazy stuff this Christmas?” the Better Half says, disinfecting her hands with sulfuric acid.
So we don our hazmat suits again and take a closer look at the decomposing Ferrero Rocher stink bombs. And they aren’t chocolates at all.
Evil K. had painstakingly wrapped three perfectly sized and shaped Brussels sprouts and re-sealed the little plastic package.
And three weeks in a chocolate drawer is a little too long for Brussels sprouts, I can tell you.
Furthermore, I hate Brussels sprouts, even when they are fresh and not disguised as yummy chocolates.
So he sort of got me this year. I mean, at least I didn’t gobble one and then retch, so there’s that. But I’m gonna have to step up my game next year. I’m thinking arsenic.
Harley Hay is a Red Deer writer and filmmaker.