It transpires that despite a flea collar, being doused in flea killer and being told specifically not to get fleas, Memphis J Baptiste our long suffering cat, has got fleas. Again. Nobhead.
So, Wifey and I have had to ‘bomb’ our house. Super. For those of you not familiar with ‘bombing’, essentially you depress a cannister of murder, dump it in your room, and RUN. A fog spews out for two minutes rendering your room uninhabitable for two hours, after which you have nuked the fleas, both living and larvae and hey presto, your room stinks of chemicals and your skin turns pink. The main thing to remember is – DO NOT GO IN THE ROOM FOR TWO HOURS or we can not be held responsible.
Because I am a stickler for detail, I had taken the time to read the instructions on the bomb. I had paid particular heed to the part that instructs you to turn off your smoke alarms because the fog omitted can trigger them all up in your face and watnot. Check. Wired smoke alarm system turned off at the fuse box. Checkity check. Up there for thinking, down there for dancing. Ain’t no flies on me yo!
After ushering my pregnant wife out of the living room, I held my breath and set off TWO fog bombs. NO retreat, NO surrender. I quickly vacated the room and shut the door. I breathed in and tasted imminent victory. I stood behind the door listening to the cannisters as they furiously did their thing. It sounded ominous. I didn’t feel very Buddhist. And then all was quiet. I waited for a second, with my ear pressed to the door, half expecting to hear the sounds of hundreds of fleas coughing and spluttering and saying their goodbyes. But nothing. Nothing that is until Karma turned up and bit me in the heiny.
Her: I THOUGHT YOU’D TURNED THEM OFF!
Me: I HAVE?
Her: IT DOESN’T SOUND LIKE IT
Us: OH JESUS!
Me: I THOUGHT YOU’D LOCKED HIM OUTSIDE!
Her: I DID?
Me: IT DOESN’T ******** LOOK LIKE IT!
All of the smoke alarms, in all of the house, were going off. ALL OF THEM. It was 11.30pm and I was drunk on love (whiskey). Stood in the hall way were me, my wife; foaming at the mouth with a toothbrush in her mouth and wearing no trousers; my two terrified children covering their ears AND THE ******* CAT WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO BE LOCKED OUTSIDE BECAUSE HE’S GOT ********FLEAS. Oh for a gun.
With two screaming children, and some whispered swearing, we came up with this plan.
I would hold my breath, enter the room, run over to the cupboard in the far corner, get down on my hands and knees, push aside the board games and gift bags that my wife collects (by ramming them into the cupboard in front of the fuse box) switch off the smoke alarms (which I was pretty sure I’d already switched off) turn around, run back out, shut the door and BREATHE.
To be honest I did not want to do it. I was scared. But after explaining exactly what to do three times to both my 2 year old and my 4 year old, they both claimed to not understand what I was shouting at them, and both felt that their under-developed lungs would not be able to hold enough breath to complete the mission. THAT old chestnut. Pregnant Wifey just flat refused. Down to me then.
Don’t breathe – again
I felt like I was running in slow motion. I felt like I was in a movie. RUN NOBHEAD RUN. The sound of five smoke alarms was deafening. As I reached the cupboard at the far end of the room, I bent down, and farted. I don’t remember Bruce Willis ever doing that in Die Hard? I think holding my breath was playing havoc with my system; air needed to get out one way or another. The laws of physics and bum holes. Either that or the fog was shutting down my nervous system already?
I KNEW it
As I ran back out and shut the living room door, I gasped and gasped for air. I hadn’t taken a breath for nearly 20 seconds (maybe 15); that had to be some sort of record? I was glad to still be alive. I was slightly concerned that I had just given myself the bends, but regardless, I mustered the oxygen to berate my wife and inform her that I HAD switched off the smoke alarms ACTUALLY and that I had risked my life for NOTHING.
And then it dawned on me. Nobhead.
The smoke alarms have got battery back-ups! A vision of the Duracel Bunny came to me, banging his tiny, little cymbals whilst the other bunnies gave up the ghost and died. I wanted to punch him in his furry pink throat. In other news, by now my children seemed to have conquered their fear, and had taken to imitating the sound of the smoke alarms by making high pitched screeching noises and jumping up and down. I felt like I was at the weirdest rave ever. I tried to recall if I had licked any toads recently? Anyhow, this was all just super. Really, really super.
And then this plan was hatched.
My wife and children would go upstairs and hide in the bedrooms before I murdered them, and I would I run to the bottom of garden, unlock the shed, take down the step-ladders, run back up the garden carrying the step ladders, hold my breath, go into the lounge, unfold the ladders, climb up to the top and SMASH THE LIVING **** OUT OF THE SMOKE ALARM, climb down the ladder, exit the room, throw the ladders into the garden and then kill myself once and for all. Everyone seemed on board.
As I ran back up the garden carrying a pair of step ladders at close to midnight, my flip-flop flipped off, sending me sprawling onto the lawn. (I wish I was making this up). I said a collection of some of the very best swear words. You know the really good ones that you save for when no-one is listening. I strung them together and spat them out like a dirty, dirty poet on the privacy of my own lawn. It felt good. I turned the night air blue. As I caught my breath, the cat casually walked passed me and off down the garden. I took a moment to admire his audacity.
And then a voice called out from on high and asked me if everything was okay? I froze, confused and shocked. For a moment I wondered if it was God talking to me, concerned for my sanity? Maybe I was dying from a stress heart attack? It turned out to be my next door neighbour leaning out of his bathroom window. Sorry it’s just a false alarm I said, Sorry to..but before I could finish he’d shut the window. I think I could see his penis through the frosted glass as he climbed down off the toilet. Nice guy.
I have never replaced the batteries on our smoke alarms before. The whole system is new and was installed when we had our loft conversion done last year. In an ideal world, I wouldn’t be learning how to do it for the first time, at nearly midnight, whilst slightly pissed on whisky and holding my breath. But you know, you roll with the punches….
Could I get the cover off? Could I arse. Could I read the tiny, tiny writing telling me how to get the cover off on the side of the smoke alarm? Could I ARSE. Am I a genius. Yes I am. God bless my i-Phone. Say cheese bitch.
Are you breathing – DON’T BREATHE!
Once again I shut the door, leaned against it and gasped for air. As I did, I finger pinched my phone screen and winced at some very small writing. I read the words, studied the directional arrows and grabbing a knife from the kitchen, I prepared to do breathless battle once more.
I became aware of my wife and children standing at the top of the stairs. We all looked at each other. This was it. No words were spoken, because no words were needed (or could be heard). I was not coming out of that room until the cacophony that was starting to make me feel sick, was silenced.
I held my breath, I opened and shut the door, I scaled the ladder, I inserted the kitchen knife, I pushed in the right direction, the top slid off. I pulled out a square Duracell battery, the smoke alarm stopped! A second later the other smoke alarms around the house stopped, and silence rang out. I was victorious.
WANKERS I shouted out at the top of my voice in pure relief and frustration. WAHEY my neighbour shouted through the wall, SORRY MATE I shouted back, and all was good in the world once more. The silence was deafening. I gulped it in. And then I remembered that I was supposed to be holding my breath. BOLLOCKS I shrieked as I climbed down the ladder and ran out of the room and towards what I was sure, was my imminent and painful demise in a see through plastic tent, surrounded by my loved ones wearing radiation suits.
So I was overjoyed to wake up this morning and not be dead. I immediately ran to the en-suite mirror to check that I hadn’t grown any open sores or lost my teeth and hair. But, touch wood, all appears to be good. Between you and me, I did enter that room one more time last night and that was to retrieve a bottle of single malt whisky. If I was going to die, I was going to die toasted.
From a hot bath I raised a glass to my own stupidity, and as my family finally slept, I savoured what were possibly my last breaths on the planet. I started writing my eulogy in my head, just in case my brain had descended into atrophy by the morning. I should like to have the last words you see. Always.
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