Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What Happened to Our Butcher Knife?

Before you read this little story about what happened last Sunday in the Essig household, I would advise you to hop on over to Armand Rosamilia's blog and read my guest post from about a year and a half ago. Go ahead, and come back here when you're finished.

Okay, I hope you made it back. Here's the story:

Last Sunday my wife, son and I went to the park to kick around the soccer ball and swing on the swings and do all those things you're expected to do after paying three bucks just to park your car in the lot. The place was crawling with people. It was like an aggravated ant pile. There was a baby shower, some kind of company barbecue, birthday parties, a dog owner who shamelessly allowed their pet to take a shit right in front of the swings and didn't even bother to pick it up. And, of course, their were folks like us who just wanted to spend a few hours in the park. It was fun, but too many people for my taste.

We headed for the 99 Cent Store after that, got some groceries, had to wait in line so long I thought the the frozen goods were going to melt, and then we were back home for the rest of the afternoon into night. On walking into the house our son made a B-line for the back yard. He opened the sliding glass door and was off to play with sticks and immerse himself into worlds only LSD could possibly illuminate for us adults. After unpacking our fifty bucks worth of groceries, I decided it would be a good time to prep the chicken wings we planned on eating for dinner. I wanted to get them into a bag of seasoned flour for maybe an hour before frying them up and soaking them in butter and spicy Buffalo sauce.

I grabbed the bowl of wings from the fridge and began to pull them out when I realized that they were whole, which meant I would have to chop off the tips and then half the rest of the wing into little drumsticks and wingettes. I pivoted and reached out my hand to a butcher block that was missing the most important knife. The big knife. The Micheal Myers knife.

The butcher knife.

I looked in the dish drainer. No knife. I looked in the sink. Nothing there. I looked under the dish drainer and all around it. I looked in the silverware drawer and large utensil drawer, on the counter on the floor (this is starting to read like a Dr. Seuss book!).

I asked my wife if she knew where the butcher knife was. She looked in all the places I had already covered. I even looked in ridiculous places, thinking maybe the knife had somehow been placed in the wrong spot after being washed. No dice.

That's when something occurred to the both of us pretty much at the same time. I could see it in her eyes that she was thinking exactly what I was thinking. One of us said, "What if there's someone hiding in the house with the knife?"

One half of my mind said, "Oh hell no. That's the kind of stuff that happens in movies," and the other part of my brain said, "Oh yeah? That's also the stuff that happens on Investigation Discovery. That's the kind of thing that can happen to anyone."

Passing by the sliding glass door I glimpsed my son outside playing in the dirt, laughing, talking to himself, happy. I went into the garage, knowing no one was in there because I had already gone into the garage to put some frozen good in our freezer. I went in there for an old poorly crafted metal shop sword that I have, but I decided on an impromptu garden tool. One side has two long prongs like that of a small pitch fork and the other side a flat edge similar to a miniature hoe, but sharper. I didn't want to think of what this weapon could do to someone, but what could I do? The butcher knife was gone and there was no explanation.

My wife remained in the kitchen and my son in the backyard. I went though the house systematically, opening every door to every closet and every room. It all seemed so crazy, you know (as if there really would be someone hiding with my butcher knife???), but I had to be prepared, because what if?

The house was clear. But the butcher knife was still missing. My wife took the filled garbage bag out of the trashcan and was headed outside to see if maybe we had accidentally thrown it out. That sounded plausible to me. I mean, there had to be a logical explanation, right? I sudden;y remembered that several weeks ago my wife had switched out butcher blocks and the old one was sitting in the garage. Let me explain: We had a butcher block with steak knives, a paring knife, butcher knife, etc. that we used for years before the tips of some of the blades had begin to break off and the butcher knife became dull and chipped. We bought a new block of knives and put the old one in the garage where we stack all kinds of things to either sell at a garage sale or give to Goodwill. recently the butcher knife in the newer set broke. Me, I use the butcher knife for everything in the kitchen (can't cook without it), so my wife brought back the old set of knives that were all chipped and put the newer set, sans butcher knife, back in the garage. Hopefully that wasn't too confusing.

Just as she opens the front door and walks out with the bag of garbage I have a crazy thought. The chances were fewer than slim, but I just had to check, so I went into the garage and looked at the butcher block sitting on the floor next to a pile of old clothes, books, dishes and miscellaneous bric-a-brac and there it was, sitting in what had been an empty slot: the butcher knife.

I reached down and pulled it out. I examined the chipped edge, the handle, even the weight of it as if analyzing a possible impostor knife, but no, it was the exact same butcher knife we had been using in our kitchen for a good three weeks. The one that should have been in the kitchen. The one that had no reason to be in the garage.

I rushed into the house and caught my wife before she began the unpleasant job of rifling through the bowels of a couple days worth of garbage. I told her where I found the knife. We looked at one another in disbelief. We tried to think of some kind of rationale for how it could have ended up in there. Even now when the subject comes up we shake our heads. We're convinced that there is perfectly rational explanation, and yet we're not completely convinced that there wasn't something else at play...something that perhaps we cannot understand.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

"...You're a Sick Bastard..."

"...And I hope you get what's coming to you. Preferably near the black, undulating pool."

Why would someone say something like that about me? Are you kidding? Jeez!

All jesting aside, those are words from Rish Outfield, the dude who did a masterful job reading the audio version of my novel THROUGH THE IN BETWEEN, HELL AWAITS. I was blown away when I heard it. I listen to a lot of audio books (two to three a month at least), and I know how important the reader is. My favorite is Phil Gigante who, to me, is best known for his brilliant reading of Joe R. Lansdale's Hap and Leonard books. Rish is that good. If you dig audio books, you'll dig this one. I'm not just saying this because it's my own book. Well, maybe a little bit, but really, Rish did a damn good job and I couldn't be more proud of the production. If you decide to give it a shot, I hope you dig it and I know you will.

Don't be afraid. I may be a sick bastard, but that just means you'll enjoy the fruits of my twisted mind. Check out the audio book HERE.

If you listen to it I'd love to hear what you think.