I Stood Too Close to a Microwave once

I stood too close to a microwave once.

     2018. Summer. A heat wave captivated the city. Garbage men were on strike because their job had become too smelly. Like, more than normal. The use of birdbaths went up 150% according to some local town statistics. But it wasn’t just the birds, oh no. Squirrels, and sometimes even raccoons, were using the baths. Many in small, suburban areas, but also the one at the mall.
     My friend Tall Tony and I learned to cook bacon and eggs on the sidewalk in front of my house. You probably guessed that we called him “Tall” Tony because he was the shortest kid that you would ever see. It’s an ironic nickname. If we called him “Short” Tony, that would be a form of bullying, plus it isn’t even alliteration. That’s cruel on many fronts.
This summer was hot. Global warming has done wonders. But that’s a story for another day.
One day at the end of July, we were cooking a slab of bacon when a group of ants, no, a gaggle (a pride?) of ants, climbed up on the food to stay cool and get away from the fiery hot pavement (I guess that’s how they got the name Fire Ants). This freaked Tall Tony out and he went screaming all the way back to his own house, taking the bacon with him. Perhaps this was just a clever ruse to keep the dead pig pieces for himself because it’s something that I never would have expected him to do. It’s not like we called him Thievin’ Tony, if you know what I mean (what I mean is that the kid was not known to steal things, keeping on with the ironic nicknames).
     So anyways, Tall Tony got out of there pretty fast, leaving with my lunch and forcing me into a little bit of a dilemma.
     I went inside and found my mother bent over inside of the oven, tools scattered around her.
     “It’s broken,” she told me.
      I understood that from the visual element of the situation but I found out at an early age that my parents think I’m dumb. It’s actually been quite a fortuitous advantage, but again, a story for another day.
      I waved back at her and went to the cupboard, searching for an ant-free lunch.
     “You can’t use the oven, it’s broken. Go fry some stuff on the sidewalk.”
     “You have no idea,” I replied back, “how much that comment hurts my feelings right now.”
     “Microwave something up then. Dinner won’t be for a while.”
     The cupboards were pretty bare so I moseyed on over to the freezer. The only thing in there that I’d ever consider eating was a tube of cookie dough and one loose pizza pop.
     I stared back at my mother, still fixing the oven.
     I grabbed the pizza pop and brought it to the microwave. It’s not even in plastic. It’s just a freezer burnt pizza pop. Looking back, that was a rough decision to make, but I was hungry and there were little bits of bacon in it.
      I opened up the microwave, placed the pizza pop on the circular plate-dish thing in the middle and closed the door. Then I heard the most ominous words that perhaps I would ever hear:
     “Remember not to stand too close to the microwave.”
     I probably responded with something like “whatever dude” or “chill out Mom”, but I can’t remember at this point, because I stood too close to that microwave, watching the pizza pop doing slow circles in the rectangular heat box. Round and round it went, and as hungry as I was, I didn’t notice the dangerous amount of radiation flowing through my body.
     The seconds ticked off the microwave timer and I just stood there, transfixed.
     Tall Tony showed back up. He must have felt guilty about the whole bacon ordeal. Again, not a cool thing to do and I didn’t want to remind him, but his actions were fairly detrimental to my whole, you know, afternoon.
     He took one step into the kitchen and dropped the nicely washed bacon right back on the floor.
     “A…uh…Are you feeling alright?” He asked me, all nonchalantly. Looking back, maybe he was probably trying not to freak me out, and for that I should be grateful.
     I don’t remember anything that happened after that. It probably wasn’t very appetizing, which would be disappointing, because any time a pizza pop is in the same room as you, it should be a delicious experience. I can only imagine that my skin started melting, drooping off my bones like some sort of play-doh, eventually falling at my feet into a hot liquid.
Did I drip and droop until all my skin was lying on the cold floor? Oh right, it was summer time. The floor would have been warm. Just a skeleton standing there with a dumb look on my face. Naturally, if my experience with the sciences is any indication, the bones would have collapsed and soaked up into weird skin goop, melting into it and combining it into a slightly denser goop.
     The story doesn’t end there though.
     Also, this was the point I’d like to imagine my mother finally noticed the situation at hand.
In my imagination, the goop started to move. I don’t know why and I don’t know how, but there I went. First, I (is it really me at this point though) scurried on over to the fresh bacon on the ground and gobbled that up. Some ants too, most likely. Then, the goop turned around and headed to the microwave, where it travelled up the cupboards, opened up the microwave (yes, hit that button and opened the thing up), and engulfed the solo pizza pop.
     The story doesn’t end there though.
     Soon, Tall Tony was a victim of the goop, as was my mother and the oven, then eventually the entire house, street, village, town, city, country and the world.
     The goop ate everything up.
     Now the goop sat in an empty void. All by itself. Except it wasn’t goop anymore.
     It was this book.
     The story doesn’t end there though.
     But it will at the end of this book.
     See what I did there?
     You wanted a book about a hero taking some sort of journey, triumphantly defeating the evil towards the end, winning the girl, or perhaps a cute pet, and living happily ever after, and instead it starts off like this.
      Not looking good, is it?
      At least there can be a lesson learned here:
      Please don’t stand too close to a microwave, or you might just end up as a book, too.      Illiterately speaking.


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