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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Wings That Go Bang in the Night

Sometimes, I forget.

It’s not really worth putting a qualifier on that sentence, or listing out specific things I forget, because I’d never get to them all. The list is too long, too complicated and nobody has that kind of time.

Also, I’d forget some. It’s what I do.

Often, I’ll forget one thing while I’m trying hard to remember another. Like last night, when I diligently remembered my manners — for once — and promptly forgot whose house I was in. It happened like this:

Yesterday morning, I jaunted down to Cape Cod to take my friend up on an invitation for “Hot Food Weekend” at his place down there. It’s become an annual early-December tradition, where an assortment of guys and gals descend on his cape house and spend a weekend trying to blow each others’ colons out.

(The ‘long way’, that is. With screaming hot spicy food.

Not the somewhat-more-direct but infinitely-more-disgusting way. Just so we’re clear.)

There were a half-dozen of us in total this year, including the host and Mrs. Host, and by mid-afternoon we were in full swing doing what you do on hot food weekend: we drank beer and doctored up chicken and ribs to atomic levels, then we drank beer and grilled chicken and ribs, and drank beer and ate chicken and ribs — which led, naturally, to drinking more beer, so we could eat more chicken and ribs, and drink beer.

“If Miss Manners gorged herself for eight hours on pale ales and thermonuclear hot wings, I think she’d understand.”

In the evening, we drank beer and built a fire on the deck, and drank beer and sat around the fire. The more Christmas-minded among us went inside to drink beer and watch holiday specials, while the rest of us drank beer and continued to sit around the fire, humbugging.

You get the idea.

The last of us turned into bed sometime after midnight. I, remembering my manners as mentioned above, decided against climbing upstairs to poke and prod the various beds to see whether one was unoccupied (or at least underoccupied), and sacked out on the living room couch, downstairs. I drifted off to sleep with visions of habanero-glazed drumsticks in my head.

Around two-thirty, those visions had relocated from my head to somewhere in the vicinity of my large intestine. Much as I hate to “make a deposit” in someone else’s home, this couldn’t be helped. The Hot Food Weekend rules are a little lax in certain areas, for obvious reasons. If Miss Manners gorged herself for eight hours on pale ales and thermonuclear hot wings, I think she’d understand.

(Or explode. One of the two.)

A couple of things were working in my favor. I was the only one downstairs, so I wouldn’t wake anyone by getting up. Also, it was the middle of the night, so any… uh, ‘lingering‘ from the process should be cleared by morning. I could quietly do my business, disturb no one, and still be as courteous as a house guest can be who’s dumping processed napalm into someone else’s toilet bowl.

I tiptoed into the bathroom, quiet as a cape mouse. As noiselessly as possible — suppressing every ‘holygodwhydowedothistoourselveswhywhyWHY?‘ in my head — I did what I’d come to do, flushed the toilet, and prepared to tiptoe back to bed.

It was then that I forgot whose house I was in. At home, we’re in the habit of dropping the toilet lid after use. I’m not sure when or how that became the norm, but it’s what we do. This is made easier by the fact that our toilet has an “easy-drop” lid and seat installed. When you flip it downward, it slows midway, gently easing itself into place, with no whisper of a sound.

Obviously, you can see what’s about to happen.

I took one tiptoe, and from force of habit, reached back and slapped the top of the toilet lid. A lid which does not have any sort of “easy-drop” device keeping it from crashing loudly onto the bowl. Which it did. Loudly.

Did I say ‘loudly’? Because it was loudly. It sounded like someone shot a firecracker through the business end of a bullhorn.

(Which, oddly enough, was about that same way I felt, after what I’d just done. But that’s another story.)

I froze, hoping no one had heard. But seconds later, stumbling sock-footed steps came bounding down the stairs. It was the host, groggy and bedheaded in a T-shirt and pair of captain’s-wheel sweatpants. He flipped on a light and squinted at me, still mid-tiptoe halfway out the bathroom door.


“I, uh… needed the toilet.”


“No. I mean, not in a manner of speaking…”




“Um… not that I know of.”


He turned and scampered back upstairs. I salvaged what tiny shred of dignity I could by tiptoeing back to the couch, lest I wake anyone who wasn’t roused by the commotion. Memory 0, Good Manners -4,251.

The host didn’t mention the ruckus the next morning. I thought that was very gracious of him. Or that maybe he didn’t remember. Beer and hot peppers will do strange things to your memory — even if it’s not as bad as mine to begin with. But I can only hope I’m invited back for the next Hot Food Weekend.

Next time, I’m bringing my own toilet lid. How’s that for good manners, eh?

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