Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Worst Monday Ever...

It was a brisk Saturday morning and I was attempting to wield my ridiculously large shopping cart while simultaneously producing my membership card for the middle-aged woman guarding the door. As I passed into the exclusive oasis that is SAMS Club, I felt a brief moment of pity for the ignorant fools who purchased retail quantities of manufactured goods. They would never know the reassuring heft of a 350 pound bag of dog food or the satisfaction of owning exactly one metric ton of Hidden Valley Ranch; but some of us are destined for something greater, something that must be displayed on a wooden palette, something that requires industrial shelving to store…

I digress, for my mission that day was to acquire a few items for the house and spend the money our office has pooled together in order to secure mass quantities of soda, water, and assorted candy bars. As I checked off my list and returned to the car, I placed my spoils in the trunk of my passively-stylish Honda Civic and returned home. Since the majority of items I procured where to be taken to the office the following Monday, I did not bother to open the trunk, instead, I left the car in the driveway while I polished off some yard work.

The car remained unused the remained of the weekend and as I was showering Monday morning, I felt a chill run down my expertly-lathered spine. It occurred to me that one of the items I had purchased for the house, a heifer-sized tray of ground beef, was still resting in the trunk of my beloved automobile. Toweling off as quickly as I dared, I dressed and entered the garage with keys in hand. Disengaging the trunk latch, I was confronted with stench so vile that I momentarily blacked out and began reciting Chili’s lunch menu in Hebrew. My trunk smelled like a three week old moose cadaver wrapped in the broken dreams of a communist orphanage and I had to be at work in a half hour.

After several minutes I was able to arrest my dry-heaves and plan my next move; I immediately began to empty the trunk of bottled water and the 24-pack of Dr. Pepper cans in order to assess the damage. The once-crimson meat platter had turned green and somewhat liquefied in the summer heat, leaving a sizable pool of “stank juice” on my trunk-liner. Unfortunately it had permeated the cardboard cover for the spare tire and jack as well so I removed all of it and went into the house to equip myself for chemical warfare. I managed to locate an industrial fabric cleaner that felt that the phrase “Works on Feces!” was worthy of the front label so I figured that it must be pretty good.

I emptied the contents of the fabric cleaner on my felt liner; left it crumpled in the front yard, and inspected the other purchases for collateral damage. Unfortunately, some of the putrefied meat juice had gotten on the Dr. Pepper cans. Not wanting to witness the effects of salmonella on my coworkers, I hand washed each can and placed them into a clean bag and positioning them precariously on top of the spare tire.

Running out of time, I closed the trunk and began my fragrant journey to the office. Upon arrival, I recount the morning’s events to my co-workers and then return to the parking garage to retrieve the cases of water and the cans of Dr. Pepper. While removing the items, a can of Dr. Pepper came out of my hand and landed on the jagged metal of the newly-exposed jack. The impact caused a carbonation-fueled explosion that enveloped the trunk, my upper body, and the remaining hand-washed cans of soda.

Now, instead of the solitary stench of rancid beef, my trunk had transformed into a vomit-inducing potpourri of soft drinks and bovine carcass. I knew the situation was growing dire and I needed to take immediate action if I wanted to salvage the drivability (and resale value) of my beloved import. Aided by a co-worker (and his unscented vehicle), I again returned to the retail metropolis from which all my trouble had arisen: SAMS.

We quickly procured an industrial size package of baking soda and returned to the office only to find that the stench seemed to be growing more powerful by the hour. I sliced open the bag of Arm & Hammer and began dispensing it with the reckless abandon of a priest at a group exorcism, but it quickly became apparent that victory would not be such a smooth road. Another colleague suggested an odor absorbing gel that might produce more favorable results and I set to Lowes out to find this magical elixir.

Although they had a “car size”, I opted to purchase the industrial supply that was rated to remove odors from a 1200 sq. ft. house for a period of three months. At this potency level you are given only two choices of fragrance: Crisp Linens or Vanilla Bean. Deciding that “Crisp Linen” was the least effeminate of the two, I located the shortest checkout line. I can only imagine what the cashier was thinking when I approached her line with an armful of odor-removing gel and a look of sheer terror.

Trying to engage her in light conversation, I inquired as to whether she had any experience with the products that I was purchasing. After explaining the situation to her, she leans in conspiratorially and informs me that if this doesn’t work I will be left with only on other option. Before she is able to continue, I jokingly interject that if this is unsuccessful I plan to fire-bomb the car and commit blatant insurance fraud. Apparently the humor was not as conspicuous as I thought, because this sentence was met with a look of bewilderment and a barely audible “Good Lord” We then briefly discussed the merits of Febreze, but as I left the store I was still fearful that a call to Crime Stoppers was forthcoming.

I installed the scent pods in my car and returned to work eager to bring my day to a successful close. Later that afternoon I was recounting the day’s events to a police officer who quickly pointed out the inherent dangers of commuting home in a car that smelled like a dead body and was littered with large quantities of white powder; sensing the wisdom of his statement, I resolved to vacuum out the baking powder that very evening.

That night, armed with only a shop vac and a newly-strengthened gag reflex, I began the tedious chore of removing the powder from the trunk and back seat. Because the filter was constantly clogging, I would have to remove it from the vacuum and shake it to restore the suction; this left residue all over the back of the car and garage floor. I then laid out my trunk liner in my driveway in order to properly scrub out the juice that I had been unable to address that morning. I worked well into the night applying laundry detergent to the liner and rinsing it with a high pressure water nozzle.

Whether it was the result of paranoia I could not say, but I began to perceive strange glances from my neighbors as they came by my house and observed me hard at work. It was only after several of these that I began to realize how my nocturnal project might be misconstrued. Here I was standing in my driveway covered in white powder and furiously trying to remove moderate quantities of blood from the trunk liner of my car. To make matters worse, my wife was suffering from a sinus infection and had rarely ventured out of our home the past several days.

So there I stood a coked-up jealous husband whose wife’s disappearance seemed to coincide with his sudden urgent need to remove blood from the trunk of his car. I wondered home much time I had before Nancy Grace became involved…..

Happily, the day ended without incarceration and Ashley made a full recovery thus quelling my neighbor’s fears. As of this writing, the car still has a distinct “meat-funk” but no longer requires me to drive with my head out of the window.

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